When it was time to announce his college decision, Karam Mashour did so quietly and without the hype of a live national TV appearance. But he was weighing some high-profile options.
Two years later, he’s ready to be recruited all over again.
The 6-foot-6-inch sophomore guard said Tuesday he will transfer from UNLV in search of a better opportunity to play. Mashour met with coach Dave Rice and was granted a release from his scholarship.
"I enjoyed my time at UNLV," Mashour said. "I look forward to finding an opportunity where there is more playing time available."
Mashour seldom saw the floor for the Rebels, appearing in 13 games this past season while averaging 1.5 points and 3.2 minutes. His potential to play a larger role next season was not apparent, so his departure was anticipated.
"I let Karam make that choice," said Rice, who has a second scholarship available for this year’s recruiting class. "Everyone always has a chance to earn more playing time. But I told him it would probably be a similar situation to last year.
"I do believe with two years left, and with his athleticism and the fact he’s a good shooter, he’ll have some options."
Mashour moved from Nazareth, Israel, in the summer of 2010 to live with his uncle, Jason Awad, and play AAU basketball for Las Vegas Prospects coach Anthony Brown. Awad and Brown also attended Tuesday’s meeting.
"I think it will be a win-win situation for everybody," Awad said. "Karam loves UNLV. He feels bad he’s leaving his friends. But he needs to play."
While playing for Brown, Mashour blossomed and drew interest from Florida, UCLA and several other top programs. At the time, Brown called Mashour a "steal" for UNLV and considered him one of the top five small forwards in the country.
"His stock was very high then," Brown said. "Karam needs a chance so his talent can flourish."
Brown said he is compiling a list of options for Mashour this week that is likely to include teams from conferences such as the Big Sky, Big West and West Coast.
As a freshman, Mashour declined former coach Lon Kruger’s suggestion to redshirt. He averaged 2.3 points and 7.4 minutes in 12 games in the 2010-11 season.
He played even less for Rice. Mashour scored a career-high eight points in the Rebels’ 124-75 victory over Central Arkansas on Dec. 28 but did not appear in a loss to Colorado in the NCAA Tournament in March.
"I appreciate what he’s done. He helped us win 26 games," said Rice, who credited Mashour for being a good student and hard worker. "He’s popular with his teammates. As far as I’m concerned, he’s always a part of the UNLV basketball family."
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907.