2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 8/8/2016 9:12 PM

Basketball: Ex-Mundelein star will transfer from Northern Iowa to UMKC

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  • Former Mundelein guard Robert Knar played in 12 games last season for Northern Iowa, which reached the second round of the NCAA tournament.

    Former Mundelein guard Robert Knar played in 12 games last season for Northern Iowa, which reached the second round of the NCAA tournament.
    Photo courtesy of the University of Northern Iowa

 
 

A shooter just had to take a shot. Who could blame him?

And, then, he was done.

"I lost 40 bucks right away," former Mundelein basketball star Robert Knar, in Las Vegas for the first time as an adult, said with a sheepish laugh. "I know people there lose their car, but I called it a limit at $40."

A shooter isn't done. Not with the game he loves most of all.

So Knar, who this past weekend returned from Vegas -- where the mother of his girlfriend lives -- will next try his luck in Kansas City, Mo., which is his next long-distance trip. After three years at the University of Northern Iowa, Knar is headed to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Since the 6-foot-1 guard is transferring from one NCAA Division I school to another, he needs to sit out the upcoming 2016-17 college basketball season. He plans to play one season (2017-18) for UMKC's Kangaroos.

Under third-year head coach Kareem Richardson, the Kangaroos went 12-19, including 4-10 in the Western Athletic Conference, last season.

"I'm so happy that they're giving me a second chance at this whole Division I thing because it's a hard business," Knar said. "They have a great program over there, great school, great coaches, great people, great teammates. I'm looking forward to joining that and seeing what we can do."

Knar will see familiar faces at UMKC. When he was coaching at Toledo, Kangaroos assistant Angres Thorpe recruited Knar, who graduated as Mundelein's career leader in points scored (2,003) and made 3-pointers. Fellow UMKC assistant Chris Hollender saw Knar play in high school when Hollender was helping successfully recruit Knar's teammate Ryan Sawvell to Evansville.

"I probably would not have ended up at UMKC if it wasn't for contacting those guys and them seeing me play before," Knar said.

It's been three years since Knar graduated from Mundelein, where he played four varsity seasons for his dad, Dick. It's been, at times, a frustrating three years for Knar too. After tearing his left ACL in the summer prior to his senior year, causing him to miss the first 20 games of the basketball season, he tore the same knee ligament the following summer.

He redshirted his freshman year at Northern Iowa, then barely played the next two seasons.

"I always want a chance to compete for a spot, and I just don't think that was going to be given to me (at UNI)," Knar said. "The people there are great. They were honest with me, and I respected that."

"We appreciate all of Rob's hard work and dedication to Panther basketball," Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said in a release after Knar announced in April that he was moving on. "He is transferring to put himself in position to expand his playing role. Rob leaves our program in great standing and we wish him the very best."

Playing-time aside, Knar had a positive experience in Cedar Falls, where the electrical engineering major excelled in UNI's classrooms. He appeared in 12 games last season, as the Panthers won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. He cherishes the friendships, including those of teammates, he made along the way.

"In the end, I love being a part of a team and contributing," Knar said. "And I want to contribute on the court."

With his left knee healthy, all the mental and physical roadblocks out of the way and fresh off a Vegas vacation, Knar is ready to roll the dice.

"I'll tell you what," Knar said. "I'm definitely more athletic and (the knee is) stronger than ever. As my doctor described it, they put like an elephant ACL in there. They folded it over. I have a huge (patellar tendon) graft (from a cadaver). It's fantastic."

He's confident fantastic days are ahead at UMKC.

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