It has happened again, folks, and just a few short moments after we plastered our excitement for next season all over the internet. Yes, Iowa players are once again defecting. This marks the 4th consecutive year at least one player has transferred out of the Iowa Hawkeye basketbal program. As of our little post of joy on Friday, Cody Larson had already asked for a release from his letter of intent and now others have begun to follow suit. It's not the recruits decommitting that gets to me. What concerns me is the ripple effect we are now seeing, as well as our leading rebounder, one of the best in the Big Ten, jumping ship. Friday afternoon, Aaron Fuller announced that he would be transferring to a school closer to his home in Phoenix, Arizona. I can't blame the kid for wanting to be in the warmer weather and closer to home (although I can say that there's a reason they call it the dessert). What I can blame him for is for not playing this one out a little more. I mean, you really wanted to play for Coach Lickliter, but not for White Magic? You really wanted to sit in the half court and let the shot clock run down to 3-2-1 and watch your guards throw up three-balls instead of grabbing the defensive board, hitting the outlet man and then being on the receiving end of an alley-oop?
I can understand you being frustrated by the losing and being homesick, but I would expect those thoughts to be expressed when prompted by reporters. Thus far, you have said nothing. You haven't said anything about why you are leaving and you haven't said anything about the new coach. So you don't want to cause any rifs, huh? Maybe you should have considered that before you played one of the biggest roles in getting Todd Lickliter run out of town. You heard me, Aaron Fuller. One of the prime reasons Lick lost his job (and some - not this guy - would say prematurely) was of rumblings that players would be transferring again.
Specifically, there were rumors that you would be leaving IF he stayed. That was said to of set off a chain reaction, causing Brommer and Gatens to jump ship too (if thescenario was allowed to play out). So, Mr. Barta obliged and Lick got the boot (obviously, the poor attendance and horrible record also played a role). Now, you mean to tell me that you are leaving anyway? With all the rumors floating around regarding the Lick, it seems as if at least your teammates should have been clued in to the fact that you were leaving regardless. Especially when considering there are now rumors guys like Brommer and Archie are considering following your actions and leaving anyway. In any event, you are gone. You are dead to me. I hope you enjoy your time back in sunny Arizona while you either sit out the next year or dominate some Division II conference. To be honest, I am moving more and more to the camp of folks decalring, "If they don't want to be here, we don't want them here!" I didn't think i'd say it, but at this point, we are starting from scratch with an exciting new coach and aspirations of getting back to where we were in the '80s. If you don't want to be along for the ride, don't let the door hit you on your way out.
That goes for you too Ben Brust. We have been counting on this for a while now, and you made it official yesterday. I have to be honest again here, you seem pretty slimy to me. Sure, Fran has said that both you and Larson are open to being "re-recruited," but I don't think he should be wasting his time. It is pretty clear that both of you have been tampered with by other, more established programs. So go ahead, take youre 18 scholarship offers (yeah, you weren't tampered with, yet grabbed 18 offers within hours of being released from you LOI??) and enjoy Madison or Indianapolis, or wherever the hell you end up. We are going to enjoy beating you in the years to come with MUCH better athletes.
I know, I know, this year is going to be rough again and I am prepared for that. Hawk fans may even start grumbling about the cycle starting over, but there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel. We will be watching basketball "the way it's supposed to be played" and seeing some things we haven't seen in a while. Come next year, I would venture to say we will see a LOT of things we haven't seen in a while (like, say, some true athletes who can play basketball, not just shoot the 3-ball) and I am looking forward to it. If all the hype on the message boards from Siena fans is true, we are in for a great ride and I am excited (more to come in a later post).
I am excited to see Fran hit the recruiting trail for the next year and bring some guys in for 2011-2012 that will get us going right. I am thankful that guys like Cody Larson and Ben Brust are out so we can start the rebuilding right away. I will admit, I hate to see us lose a guy with some experience (Fuller) as those guys are few and far between, but at least we have another scholarship to fill either this year or next. I think we are in for a nice surprise with this team over the next few seasons and perhaps we should all just sit back and enjoy the ride.