Penn basketball assistant coach Scott Pera leaves for Rice

The Penn men's basketball team has lost the lead recruiter on its coaching staff, as assistant Scott Pera has departed for Rice.

Although it's not official yet, the news was first reported Wednesday night by the Houston Chronicle and Houston's Fox TV affiliate. I was told it separately, but those outlets deserve the credit.

Pera joined Jerome Allen on the Palestra bench in 2012 after Dan Leibovitz was hired by the Charlotte Bobcats. The Hershey native was renowned as a recruiter and talent developer at Arizona State, where he worked from 2007 until his move to Philadelphia. Among Harden's products was James Harden, now a star with the NBA's Houston Rockets.

It was regarded as quite a coup when Pera joined the Quakers' staff. But it was move he was happy to make, as he's married to a Penn alum.

Pera is close with new Houston coach Mike Rhoades, a former assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth who just took the Rice job.

So add replacing a top deputy to the list of tasks facing Jerome Allen as he prepares for next season.