One week after Iowa State cut Richard Amardi, interest from top schools has softened the blow

When Iowa State released Richard Amardi from his letter of intent last week to free up a scholarship for Marshall transfer DeAndre Kane, the Indian Hills Community College forward took it surprisingly well.

"When one door closes another opens," he tweeted. "Well in my case too many doors open."

Fifty Division I schools have called to express interest in Amardi since Iowa State cut him loose, according to Indian Hills coach Barret Peery. Beginning Friday, Amardi will make successive visits to Gonzaga, Oregon, Kansas State and Arizona State in hopes of making a decision from that quartet of schools in the next two weeks.

"It's too early to say which way he's leaning, but I think he's definitely excited about those four," Peery said. "He's got to make his visits and figure it out."

Amardi wouldn't have expected to be in this position as recently as a couple weeks ago because the 6-foot-9 forward signed with Iowa State back in November. He expected to enroll in summer classes in Ames this month and prepare to compete for a spot in the rotation next season in what will be his final year of college basketball.

Everything changed for Amardi, however, when Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg made a late run at Kane even though the Cyclones were already at their scholarship limit. The news that he was being jettisoned to make room for Kane initially blindsided Amardi, but he has handled the situation with dignity and class beyond his years.

"At first he was disappointed and a little emotional about it, but I reminded him quickly that it is a big business and this happens," Peery said. "There's no hard feelings. He and Coach Hoiberg are fine. Now he's trying to find a new home."

What has surely helped soften the blow is the flood of interest from schools in dire need of a late frontcourt addition.

Gonzaga has struck out trying to land Mike Moser and Tarik Black in its quest to find a third big man to go with Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski. Oregon landed Moser but whiffed on Black and could use more frontcourt depth. Thomas Gipson is the lone experienced big man Kansas State returns next season, so playing time is definitely available in Manhattan. Same with Arizona State, which could play Amardi alongside 7-footer Jordan Bachynski.

The strength of Amardi's game is his athleticism, from his ability to run the floor, crash the glass and finish at the rim. He'd be unlikely to provide much back-to-the-basket offense in his lone season at whichever school he chooses, but he's capable of making an impact with his activity and explosiveness around the rim.

"There was no part of me that thought he was going to get left out to dry after the Iowa State situation because he's too good a player," Peery said. "He's a high-level guy that was going to get immediate attention. He wasn't going to be in a situation where he didn't have anything. That was never a worry for me."

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