The past week has been a sigh of relief from bad news for fans of Hilltopper basketball with the hiring of Rick Stansbury as head coach.
Well, so much for that.
In a statement from WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart on Tuesday afternoon it was announced that junior guard Fredrick Edmond and freshman guards Chris McNeal and Marlon Hunter are no longer enrolled at the university.
These three players were all previously suspended from the team after the results of a University Disciplinary Committee hearing which took place on March 16.
It has been understood for the past couple of weeks that these players might not return to the program at all. However, it is now official and Stansbury’s Toppers will face a major uphill climb without a single scholarship guard left on the roster.
While the questions of how the program will rebuild the guard position are important to answer, questions pertaining to the lives of the people involved with this unfortunate circumstance are just as important.
These questions cannot be answered right now by WKU, as federal law prevents the university from public discussion of any details related to student disciplinary cases.
At the end of the day, something serious obviously happened. Three former students had their lives changed and a good man had to resign from his job at WKU as a result.
With the current situation, WKU fans are left wondering: where do the Toppers go from here?
For starters, Stansbury is going to have to recruit like he has never recruited before, and not just in the area of high school athletes.
Tapping into the junior college talent pool is a great choice to get experienced college players into the program that can play right away.
Thankfully, there is some help already on the way at the guard position. Incoming freshman T.J. Howard from Lithonia, Georgia, is a three-star prospect according to scout.com.
The much-anticipated arrival of University of Tennessee transfer Jabari McGhee to the hardwood will also come in the fall.
The guard was previously praised by former Head Coach Ray Harper and will fill a need at the two-guard position, standing at 6-foot 7-inches and weighing 215 pounds.
However, that’s just two guards. In order to make a deep run in the postseason, a team has to have reliable depth at the guard position.
To add even more pressure to the situation, the program needs to fill out its guard position very quickly before players still on the current roster decide to transfer away from the team to more promising situations.
It’s not going to be an easy task for the program to climb out of this major hole, but starting from the bottom is not a totally horrible way to rebuild a basketball team.
Stansbury is going to be able to start with his kind of guards who will be very experienced by the time they are upperclassmen.
It needs to be understood that the losses of these players are significant and fans need to be even more patient with the rebuilding process.
It may take three to four seasons before fans see the program back to its true former glory.
But with the current circumstances, a complete fresh start may just be exactly what the doctor ordered.