Xavian Rimmer will not enroll at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga or play basketball for the Mocs this fall.
The NCAA clearinghouse declared Rimmer a non-qualifier in June. UTC responded by releasing Rimmer from his national letter of intent, which reopened his recruitment. Once Rimmer increased test scores and passed a class, all schools were open to recruit him, including UTC.
He signed with Alcorn State in Mississippi, which is a lot closer to Piney Woods (Miss.) High School, where he played prep basketball.
"We were going to try and re-sign him once he became a qualifier," UTC coach John Shulman said. "But he was free to go on and do other things. He took a look around, and his family thought it was better for him to be close to home."
Earlier this year, another UTC signee, 6-foot-9 center Manny Ochenje, was declared ineligible by the NCAA and released by UTC, and then the NCAA reversed its ruling and he signed with Pepperdine in California. The Mocs signed Zacchaeus Mason for that open scholarship.
Rimmer, a 6-2 point guard, averaged 14.2 points, 5.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds while leading the Tornadoes to Mississippi's Class AA state championship last year.
"Once you release a kid, you don't ever feel comfortable to get him back," Shulman said. "We released him from his NLI, then continued working for him to make sure he was doing what he needed to in order to be a qualifier."
The opening leaves UTC with one scholarship to offer for 2011-12.
"We're not in a panic," Shulman said. "We may do something with it and we may not. This doesn't dampen my excitement for this season."
Rimmer did not return a call to his cell phone Saturday afternoon.
He told the Jackson Clarion Ledger, "Alcorn is really coming along with a great new coach in Coach [Luther] Riley. It's a great program that I would like to be a part of. I think we're going to make things happen there."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...