April 11th, 2016
We now know who is leaving and who is staying. The staying is easy. Only Mike Thomas. But frankly, his commitment to the program demonstrates his character and why of all the folks saying good-bye, he is the best student-athlete of the bunch in my opinion. Mike has made great strides on the court and will be the heart of next season's team. Thanks for staying
Now onto the guys who have decided to leave. First Jankovic. I have no problem with his decision. He will graduate and he has a real solid chance of making good money in Europe ( no he is not ready for the NBA). European basketball love the big man who can shoot, and he fits that bill.
In my mind, his leaving has little to nothing to do with next season's sanctions. I think he would have been gone in any event. As the Big West player of the year, he has nothing left to prove.
Aaron's decision to leave is a little more problematic. He says he is going " pro", but where? In my mind he is not top-level European material, although he could play pro ball in a lower classification league in Europe or in Asia. He can and will make a decent living, but look what he could have accomplished had he stayed. He would have had a solid chance to be an all-league player and show some consistency in his play. Yes, he had some great games this season, but he also struggled against some of the better three men in the league. If he does graduate this spring or summer I understand the decision, but without a degree, I don't.
Then there is Jovanovic. Are you kidding me? A mediocre player who has limited skills other than his height decides to leave because the Bows may be ineligible for post-season and where does he go, to a sub-500 Loyola of Marymount team that has about as much chance to go to post-season as I do. Yes he has impr0ved each year, but he is still a role player who struggles to score and rebound. At least at UH next season, he might have had a chance to fight for a starting position.
And then there is Filipovich who apparently has decided to give up basketball and seek his degree closer to home. Must be something more there, but good luck Niko. Hope you get that degree.
So the team has three returning players. the afore-mentioned Thomas, Drammeh, and red-shirt Auburn transfer Jack Purchase. Drammeh showed he can be a productive player and with more playing time, hopefully will develop some offense to go with his defense. Purchase is a 6'9 Australian who will get a real chance to start. Two guards have committed to the program, but lets face it, the coaches have an enormous recruiting challenge ahead of them. But if I was a an incoming Freshman who wanted playing time at program headed by a great coach, with fans who adore their team, a 10,000 seat arena, and a chance to win my Conference every year, even with one year " off", UH would be my first choice. Your thoughts?