Monday, December 14, 2009

The Departed

In what has become an alarming trend, another player has decided to leave the MU program. Jeronne Maymon, one of the highly touted newcomers, is the latest victim to abruptly quit the team. Buzz Williams was quoted as saying that this is effective immediately and we thank Jeronne for his contributions to the team. I was the unfortunate news breaker to many of you just minutes ago after stumbling upon the mayhem on the MU message boards. Three letters....W T F. The official reason for his departure has yet to be disclosed, so we can only speculate at this point. Some think it's academics due to the timing of it all (end of exams, semester). Some don't think he knew what he was getting himself into with Big East D1 basketball. Others, this being myself, point directly to (drum roll please).......PLAYING TIME. Again, this is merely speculation but it makes absolute sense to me. The day of Jeronne's initial committment to MU, he was quoted as saying that playing time was a huge factor in his decision. Buzz essentially told him he was going to start and be a major factor from day 1. This was a HUGE selling point to Jeronne and more so his old man. The reason Baylor was so much in the picture was because they were guaranteeing a starting gig as well. Considering is accolades coming out of Madison Memorial, a starting spot on a major D1 team wasn't out of the question.

Fast forward to this season. Our beloved MU squad again is short handed and undersized. That being said, I along with many thought that our top 15 recruiting class was going to come in and have a major impact just as the class of '05 James, Matthews, McNeal did. Boy was I wrong! I don't completely understand the whole situations in practice, but for whatever reason Buzz was not using the likes of Jeronne Maymon and Erik Williams too often throughout the early portion of the nonconference season. Through Saturday's game, JMay only was averaging 16 min's per game (EWill far less, but we're talking Maymon here) along with 4 pts and 4 rbds. Really, not too shabby of production for short stints off the bench.

It was obvious that Jeronne wasn't too happy with what was going on. He likely was expecting to start, yet was being overlooked for Joe Fulce, a junior-college transfer and essentially a fill-in player. I think this was affecting his attitude in all facets of his game. While he was holding his own on the court, he never seemed to have an intensity or fire to his game like many were describing during his days at Madison Memorial. In a word, I would say he looked lackadaisical.

When asked about the playing time of Erik Williams (among others), he would constantly reference practice. These players had to perform/bring intensity to practice or they weren't going to see the floor on game day. They had to earn their keep. Unfortunately I don't think Maymon was bringing it. He was hyped all through high school, won awards and a state title, was probably told how good he was, and was even guaranteed a starting spot on Marquette's squad. So what did he have to work for?

I hope I'm wrong here. I hope it's a personal problem. I hope it's homesickness. I hope it's academics, so maybe he can get is shit straight and rejoin the team. Anything but playing time because that is absolutely the worst answer he can give. If he's not willing to work hard for his PT, regardless of how good he is, he will never be as good as he is touted and I frankly don't want that kind of player on our team representing our school anyways. These types of scenarios rarely if ever work out. See Dameon Mason. See Odarty Blankson. See Bell. These kids think the problem is with the coach, players, instituion, etc.........but not themselves. Unfortunately they likely will be the same person but in a different colored uniform.

Looking ahead:

1. Immediately, this only cripples our depth even further. Cue Erik Williams. 3 weeks ago I was discussing the possibility of EWill transferring due to lack of playing time/relationship with Buzz. Not once did I think Maymon was going to be on the outs. Now, Erik immediately needs to step in and contribute (it's too bad he hasn't played any meaningful minutes to this point). Any further injuries/departures and we might need go to the Rec center and pick up some playas.

2. We now have 2 available scholarships for next season. I have no freakin' clue what can happen. I'm sure another JuCo will sign. It's too bad Monterale Clark had to be involved in the gang rape of some sorority girl. Playing time still available, but please Buzz, don't guarantee a starting gig.

3. I officially am starting to wonder about Buzz. Too many comings and goings means instability. Never a good thing (I don't care what business you are in......I guess it could work in the porn industry). I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt for now.

4. Honestly, Jeronne wasn't bringin' it. Not once did I see the intensity that the likes of Dom, Wes, and Jerel brought from day 1. This really has been the one defining characteristic of Marquette basketball on a national level in recent years and I'd like it to continue. That being said, in spite of Jeronne's talents (of which I really have yet to see in a game), if he's going to walk through this we don't want him.

I'm sure we'll find out what the scoop is in the near future. Until then, lets still try and enjoy the remaining talent left on the roster. I'm still optimistic about EWill. He's got freaky length and mad hops!


You are a Baffoon said...

You just hope this doesn't piggyback into a coup de etat of Vander Blue especially since he is Jeronne's boy. Either way couldn't have come at a shittier time as you head down the stretch of non-conference into the Big East wringer. This just smells of classic 2009 early career ego meltdown. These guys are so caught up with themselves coming out of high school that they don't even know how to earn their own keep. I see it all the time with the players I have seen and worked with at the U of A. Sometimes being great in high school never translates, because they can't win the mental part of college sports, which many players just choose the easy way out and simply quit. I hope for some sort of positive here, but this story just has that poo flavored stench no one wanted to have occur.

JM said...

I'll take "Things that don't happen at Wisconsin" for $2000, Alex." Serves Marquette right.

Academics may have played a part of it, but plenty of morons get through division I athletic programs, including at plenty of strong academic schools (Marquette, Georgetown, Stanford, etc...). Promises were made that couldn't be kept and that shit will come back to haunt you if you start promising shit to recruits that you can't follow through on. Top recruits talk, and if it becomes a trend, word will get out and Buzz will be in trouble.

EMoney said...

I don't believe the academic part either. As you stated, plenty of morons get through. I don't care if it's ivy league or horizon league, there are major's that don't require you to be albert einstein.

And I agree with you baffoon, I think this is an ego problem, which may stem from Jeronne's dad. He seems a little coocoo for coco puffs if you know what I mean.

Oh, and I'll take "things that DO happen at Wisconsin" for $2000, JM. Answer: I thought that an open door to a dorm room was an open invitation to take whatever I please, in spite of the fact that these kids were paying my way through school.

I love it how UW fans act as if their (and it probably isn't even "their" program) program is the poster child for "student-athletics". What a F*CKING JOKE!

Rubie Q said...

Does it get cold in the winter in your glass house, JM?

JM said...

Hey, I said nothing about UW athletes being angels or geniuses... far from it. Stealing from dorms, The ShoeBox, raping the band (oh, wait. That was the band itself.) John Clay could barely get in, and that is saying something when you look at all the idiots from my high school that found their way. But what you haven't seen is players quitting the program in Madison... Let alone before making to conference play and while already seeing 15 minutes a game as a frosh.

FPMKE said...

Boo Wade.

EMoney said...

JM -

Over the last year or two, top recruits have transferred out of the likes of UNC, Duke, Memphis, Georgetown, Florida....I could go on and on. It's actually quite common. This likely has nothing to do with the institution, but a personal feeling from the player (and his family) regarding his role on the team.

Just because it hasn't happened to UW lately doesn't mean that it won't. This whole situation is just amplified because UW fans will take every snippet of an opportunity to rag on the Marquette program. If their program is so spectacular and above Marquette's, why do they invest so much of their precious time reading the Marquette blogs and getting "involved" in the comments section? (I put that in quotes because 90% of them don't actually offer logical/meaningful thoughts to the conversations, rather they gloat and rub dirt in our faces.....and I would expect nothing less)

EMoney said...

I'd also like to add that sources have have contacted the Blue family, who confirm that this situation by in no means affects Blue's committment to MU.

Devil's Threesome said...

I've heard that this also involves his position. JM sees himself, apparently, as a 3/4 instead of a 5. I've seen JM's jump shot - he's not a 3 or a 4.

What bothers me the most about this is that Buzz swung and missed twice on recruits and we are just 10 games into his first real recruiting class. He jumped all over Roseboro and he couldn't even hack it in pre-season drills. Then, despite all the smoke surrounding the Maymon clan, he signed Jeronne. Pretty Crean-esque in his epic recruiting failures. It's one thing to bring in a Dwight Burke-type that never really develops, but at least gives you a warm, serviceable body, but these guys haven't given us anything.

I've never felt comfortable with Buzz. Maybe it's the Bible Belt thing, maybe it's the stupid, over the top honesty and humility, but I am officially concerned about our current regime.

Charlie Weis's Gunt said...

Totally agree with D3. This is very concerning. My guess is that during the recruiting process Buzz promised the world but hasn't delivered.

I'm trying to look at the positive of this and the only thing I can think of is that Mbao and E-Will should see more time on the court. Let's face it - we're not a tournament if there was ever a time to invest in two players and let them learn on the court, now would be the time.

This season is what it is - a transition year, so Buzz - play your bench, make your kids the most experienced sophs/juniors on the court next year.

PS: I'll buy a beer for the best new name...since my guy is now collecting unemployment checks.

EMoney said...

D3 - position doesn't make much sense to me. He played the 5 in high school, and that's where he made his banging inside. He wasn't strictly playing the 5 here, rather was playing the 4/5 along with Jimmy and Zar anyways. If he expects to strictly play the 3 anywhere, that is a bit of a pipe dream for the kind of player he is.

CWG - Regarding investing in the newcomers and getting them on the court......too little too late. Many were preaching this since the conclusion of the first game of the season. I understand Buzz wanting to win as many games as possible, therefore he needed to play the "best" and most ready players, but let's be realistic here. This team isn't that much better with who we've been playing thus far.

JM said...

My JM and Maymon's initials are a very unfortunate overlap in this situation and are by no means intentional. D3's concerns are exactly the point I was trying to raise about the core of this issue. Though my preference is UW and it isn't even close, I did not attend UW, was simply raised by diehard graduate parents.

I enjoy seeing Marquette succeed and will certainly root for them in the Big East, attend a few games and wish them well in the tournament. If for nothing else, to make the Badger win or loss to them look better for the year.

The concerning thing is Buzz's start. I was not a big fan of the hire from the outset and early results have only justified my trepidation.

I understand people transfer... but the programs you point out have great track records that are generally "reload no rebuild" types of places. Losing a recruit or two doesn't hurt Duke like it hurts Marquette. Buzz doesn't have the track record to take this lightly.

And Boo Wade is an awful example. He had legal troubles, was a junior, not a new recruit and ended up playing his next ball at the DII level. I doubt that is what happens to Maymon.

Devil's Threesome said...

It keeps getting weirder:

Marquette head coach Buzz Williams confirmed that Maymon has decided to leave the program. The player's father, Tim Maymon, said that news of his son's decision was a surprise to him and that he was heading to Milwaukee to try and find out more about the situation. Tim Maymon said Jeronne is doing well in school and is "loving every minute of being there."

EMoney said...

JM - you're missing my point. You were alluding to the idea that a player quitting the Marquette basketball is an ABSOLUTE black mark on MU's if it's an indicator as to how things are going there. I then referenced those schools because it happens there as well, yet has no ill-effects on the overall situation of their basketball programs ie. those schools are still faring well. Sometimes situations just don't turn out as a player imagined it would be.

I understand that comparing the recruiting effort of MU to UNC is unreasonable, but based on the recruiting efforts of Buzz thus far, he can "reload" and has consecutive ranked classes in his first 2 attempts. This just comes at a bad time when he is in the middle of cleaning up the mess that Tom Crean left us.

Can we at least give Buzz a few years with HIS players before we crucify him?

Master Reid said...

I have no idea what to make of all this. I thought Maymon was coming along. It was obvious that he wasn't too explosive off the floor, but he was crafty enough to score when he got his looks. I thought it would just take a little time for him to completely get the feel of things at this level. If May thinks he should be playing the wing more, that's all well and good, but what with the depth issues in the front court this year, that's where he needed to play for now.

One thing is for sure, if Williams and Mbao are going to be playing any kind of significant minutes (and there's really not much of a choice) we are going to have to either change what we do defensively, or those guys are going to have to improve by leaps and bounds real fast.

Watching them in the games you can see why Buzz wasn't overly eager to throw them in there. Mbao can't really guard anyone, and they try to utilize him as the top of some kind of 1-2-2 zone. And Williams was obviously a shot blocker in high school because he consistently leaves his guy to help on drives and try to swat shots. Meanwhile his guy is all alone under the hoop or at the 3 point line. I'm not saying they can't improve, but I can understand not being too excited to throw them in when things count. (And no, I can't explain Mbao's appearances during the Badger game).

As for Buzz, well I agree with pretty much everything said thus far and this has gotten long-winded enough already.

Chris B. said...

I hauled all my Badgers gear out to the curb and burned that picture of me with Bo the day after Neil Plank left.

EMoney said...

This really chaps my ass! I just bought a Jeronne Maymon Fathead and hung it over my bed. Now what!