Oraby transfers to USC

Omar Oraby, 7-foot-2 junior center,  has decided to make a verbal commitment to transfer from Rice to USC. Oraby intends to enroll in classes on Friday and start classes on Monda. He also plans to seek out a hardship waiver so he can play this season.

A hardship waiver helps grant a person an exception to a rule due to special circumstances. If the waiver is not granted, Oraby will sit out this season and have two years of eligibility starting in 2013.

Oraby, a native of Egypt, set a school record with 54 blocks last year as a sophomore. He averaged 6.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 11.6 minutes per game. He announced last week that he was planning to transfer, and visited USC earlier in the week before committing on Wednesday. He also considered UCLA, URI and Ohio State, according to Jeff Goodman at CBS Sports.

“I want to thank Omar for his contributions to Rice basketball over the past two years,” Rice head coach Ben Braun told the Houston Chronicle. “I want to wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”

Oraby will likely take the scholarship vacated by guard Maurice Jones, USC’s leading scorer last season with 13.0 points per game, who was dismissed from the Trojans on Sept. 1 due to academic ineligibility. Even though USC announced that Jones could return to the team in 2013, Jones announced on his Twitter account that wishes to transfer.