Departures, arrivals and a legacy

After a lackadaisical year for the SLU Men’s basketball team – a year in which they went 11-21 (3-15 in the Atlantic 10 Conference) – there are a number of people leaving, some expectedly, and others not quite so much.

The players who were expected to leave are forward Grandy Glaze and center John Manning.  Glaze is expected to attend graduate school and use his last year of NCAA eligibility, while Manning is graduating in the spring.

Tanner Lancona, a sophomore forward, and Austin McBroom, a junior guard with one year of eligibility left, are surprising omissions from the team sheet next year.  Both Lancona and McBroom decided to transfer from the school. We’re certain why Lancona wants to leave – he was not given the kind of minutes he probably felt he deserved – but McBroom has been a spark plug for the team, especially in the first weeks of this season, scoring 24 against Southern Illinois and 26 against Bradley. While McBroom’s production dipped soon thereafter, it could be assumed that McBroom could have been a scoring threat off the bench next season.

Thankfully, two players with solid seasons are staying: Milik Yarbrough and Ash Yacoubou. Yarbrough averaged 10 points and five rebounds a game over the course of the season, seeing improvement as the season wore on.  Yacoubou had nine points and five rebounds a game.

For next season, Yacoubou, the lone senior, may be expected to lead the team. However, it has been noted by some editors that Yacoubou prefers to fire up the team with his play, not speeches . While not a concern for some, other editors argued that such a presence would be needed in the locker room of such a young and inexperienced team.

One benefit of McBroom and Lancona leaving is that their departure will open up two more scholarships for Coach Jim Crews to use to continue to build a team in his own image.

Two scholarships have already been awarded to incoming freshmen, but perhaps those two extra openings can entice a player to transfer to SLU, or award a walk-on for their work over the past couple of years. Several of the freshman players showed promise in the limited time they saw the floor this season, but more will be expected of them next year, especially if the older players don’t play to their potential.

At the beginning of the season, we agreed that this was to be a rebuilding year for Crews and his players. While many of us did not expect such a drubbing in the standings, we did agree that Crews deserved the grace period.

However, with many of his own recruits getting a year older and more time to cement his own legacy after the late Coach Rick Majerus, the spotlight will soon be on Crews to bring the team to the heights many SLU students have enjoyed the past few years.

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