I'm sure that most of you know Bryce Webster has been granted a release from the basketball team. This has been rumored for several weeks and most saw this coming. PJS has also commented on this situation, but I feel compelled to throw in my 2 cents.
While Bryce was ineffective (very) last season, this will impact the program. We lose several important players with the 2007-08 senior class, biggest (pun intended) of all are frontcourt players Spencer Tollackson and Dan Coleman. We have razor thin depth at all positions but there is at least there is marginal hope or potential with a few G/F's. Incoming freshman Hoffarber, incoming recruit Nate Garth, Junior-Brandon Smith have some potential, and I hold out marginal hope for Kevin Payton and Damien Johnson to at least contribute at the Big Ten level.
None of those five can play the 4 or 5 so there is a MAJOR problem that will hit this program very soon. I know Tubby is working hard to land a big man or two, BUT he hasn't landed anybody yet and we should all be concerned.
NCAA rules allow each D1 program to have 13 scholarships. Next year's club should have the following players on scholarship...
- Graduating 2008-09
- Smith - G/F
- Abu-Shamala - SG
- Williams - C
- Graduating 2009-10
- D. Johnson - SF
- Payton - PG
- Westbrook - G
- Graduating 2010-11
- Hoffarber - SG
- Nolan - PG
- Graduating 2011-12
- Garth - G
That leaves 4 scholarships available (maybe 5 if Jamal's isn't renewed). And 7 over the next 2 years. Tubby and staff are working hard on bringing in some big men and rumor has it that they are working the JUCO circuit pretty hard.
I'm enjoying the recruiting process for Brewster and the football team. But I would say that the basketball recruiting stories are MUCH more critical to immediate success.
This isn't a recruit post, but the Webster release is going to loom bigger than the collective yawn it has received from Gopher Nation. As I already stated, we have razor thin depth in the frontcourt and at this point we will be heading into the following season with Jonathan Williams as our only player to man the paint and the only player on the team over 6'7". That should scare you very much!