Villanova point guard Tony Chennault came to the Main Line from Wake Forest a year ago with the expectation that he would have a chance to start. The Wildcats had just sophomore Ty Johnson and a freshman coming off of back surgery in the program -- it was a good opportunity and close to home, near his ailing mother.
He didn't start, however, and spent the bulk of the season coming off of the 'Cats bench, to spell Ryan Arcidiacono -- who surprised the Main Line by winning the point guard job outright -- or to play alongside him. The rising senior has just one year remaining to play in the NCAA and he appears ready to seek out greener pastures yet again.
Chennault averaged 3.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 18 minutes per game during his one season in blue and white.
Villanova guard Tony Chennault, who transferred from Wake last year, is transferring again - per sources. Likely to a lower level.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) April 18, 2013
Though Chennault was given a waiver to play immediately at Villanova, he likely can't count on the same treatment from the NCAA if he transfers again. This time, if he chooses a Division I school, he would have to redshirt.
A move to a lower division, Division II or Division III, within the NCAA, or a move to a school affiliated with the NAIA, could allow him to play immediately in his true-senior year. If Chennault values finishing his eligibility and his academic career next season, a move to a lower-division institution could be likely.
However, according to Bylaw Blog's John Infante, that move would only leave Chennault automatically eligible at a Division III school (where he could not receive a scholarship). Division II schools would still require him to receive an NCAA waiver to play immediately, because it would be his second time transferring schools. Division II has a one-time transfer exception that would allow an athlete to play immediately if it were their first transfer, but additional transfers are not treated the same way. Division III, meanwhile, just requires that a transferring player be eligible at his former school.
It also might not affect his chances at a professional career, since a few top Division II and III players get a look from NBA teams, and more get a chance to play overseas.
If Chennault wants to finish his college career on a scholarship, he will either have to sit out a year to play at the Division I or II level (unless he can find a compelling case to receive a second transfer waiver), or move to the NAIA ranks, where he would presumably be able to play immediately.
Former Villanova head coach Rollie Massimino currently coaches an NAIA school in Northwood University (FL), and Taylor King played briefly at NAIA Concord University (CA) after leaving Villanova for a second transfer. He would have to move further from home to do so, however, with just two NAIA institutions in Pennsylvania (both near Pittsburgh) and none in New Jersey or Delaware.
With Ryan Arcidiacono returning as the incumbent at point guard and Dylan Ennis set move into the active line-up next season, Chennault may feel that his role on the Main Line would be further marginalized. Guard is one area where Villanova had tremendous depth next season, with at least six players set to fill roles in the backcourt next season.
The move will open up yet another scholarship for next season. Villanova currently has a recruiting class of two, Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart, with four scholarships remaining open. The Wildcats are currently trying to fill one or more of those open scholarships with big men who can provide another option at the 4 or 5.
Updated 11:50a 4/18:
Official Release from Campus
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Guard Tony Chennault has informed the Villanova coaching staff of his plans to transfer to another university after one season as a Wildcat. Chennault, a native of Philadelphia, played his first two seasons at Wake Forest University before transferring to Villanova prior to the 2012-13 academic year.
"We are going to miss Tony," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "He was a major part of our run to the NCAA Tournament last season. We respect Tony’s decision and he will always be a part of the Nova Nation."
Chennault appeared in all 34 games Villanova played in 2012-13 as a reserve after receiving a hardship waiver from the NCAA. He averaged 3.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 18.5 minutes per game. The product of Neumann-Goretti High School scored a season-high 11 points at Monmouth on Dec. 22 and added 10 points and four rebounds in a February victory at DePaul.
Chennault plans to complete the spring academic semester at Villanova.