A revolving door for the Eagles

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: May 18, 2010

MILWAUKEE (BASN) — It’s not even summer yet, and players in the Marquette men’s program are passing through the revolving doors.

This year, three are coming in and one is going out. For the person who’s leaving, don’t let the door hit you in the butt.

There was promise for a 7-foot-2 project like Youssoupha Mbao. First of all, he would’ve been a sophomore if he would’ve remained in the program.

Next, Mbao probably would’ve been forced-fed with proteins and an unlimited amount of high-calorie foods to put some weight on his 215-pound frame. Without the extra bulk, Mbao would continue to be knocked around like a ping-pong ball.

I can understand why Mbao wanted to leave the Marquette basketball program. Chris Otule is coming back next season, and he’s around 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds.

They just signed another big man, who will be a freshman.

Davante Gardner is 6-feet-8, 295 pounds from Suffolk, VA. The staff, no doubt, wants Gardner to lose weight. He got away with playing at that weight in high school, but in the Big East, you have to drop some pounds to run and bang with the big bodies in the league.

“All involved in the process early know exactly the work that’s ahead of him in order for his dreams to be fulfilled,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said after announcing Gardner’s signing on May 3.

Whatever they do with Gardner, limit his intake at the buffet table and work him hard.

Jae Crowder was the junior college Player of the Year at Howard College last season. The Golden Eagles are looking for the 6-foot-6, 215-pound Crowder to be Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeal and Lazar Hayward wrapped up in one.

The JC All-American can put points on the board. “He fits a huge need on our team,” Williams said after Crowder’s signing Apr. 14. “We anticipate that he will handle that perfectly.”

Devonte “D.J.” Newbill was the Pennsylvania Class AA Player of the Year for Strawberry Mansion H.S. in Philadelphia. At 6-feet-4 and 195 pounds, Newbill is projected as a shooting guard.

The Public League Player of the Year who won a state title should be up to the challenge. His signing was announced on Apr. 14.

My feeling is that Mbao was a player that the coaching staff didn’t want to spend the time to develop, but there’s no telling if Williams was faking his comments about Mbao because he had to say something publically.

“We want to thank ‘Yous’ for his contributions to the program last season and wish him the best in the future,” he said. “We are disappointed that he has decided to continue his playing career elsewhere but will support him through the transition process.”

Mbao suffered knee and ankle injuries, and his season was shut down in mid-January. I guess being the cheerleader on the bench, the errand boy and the laundry runner would make you depressed too.

One thing that’s not steady in Williams’ program is continuity.

Patrick Hazel left by “mutual agreement” after the 2008-09 season. Maurice Acker quietly left last summer (by mutual decision, they said) and returned last fall after another promising recruit exited after the summer. Jeronne Maymon exited after a semester.

We’re just waiting to see who will be the next one to leave the program.