Clayton, Patterson departure part of larger trend

Head coach Ray Harper scratches his head at the offical during WKU’s 63-64 loss against Belmont Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky. Mike Clark/HERALD

Ray Harper was named head basketball at the end of the 2011-2012 season, and since the conclusion of that inaugural season (spring of 2012) the Hilltopper basketball program has seen the early departure of 16 student-athletes by means of transfer or early graduation.

The trend of departure has even crept into the coaching staff, with assistant coach Lawrence Brenneman’s exit being confirmed by Ray Harper on Tuesday, saying he expects the position to be filled within the coming weeks.

For several weeks rumors have been surfacing about rising sophomore DJ Clayton departing from the program.  It has now been confirmed that Clayton has transferred to Palm Beach State College, a junior college where he intends to play one season before returning to Division I.

Just hours later rising sophomore Avery Patterson tweeted “I had fun while it lasted at Western Kentucky but on to the next chapter in my life.”

The program would later confirm Patterson’s departure.

Clayton and Patterson’s exits accompany those of fellow freshman Rob Marberry (who has since joined Lipscomb) and sophomore Brandon Price. This leaves Justin Johnson as the only remaining Hilltopper on the roster from last season’s freshman class.

Along with the graduation of George Fant, TJ Price and Trency Jackson, the Hilltoppers have been doing some heavy lifting with recruiting this offseason, having only seniors Nigel Snipes and Aleksej Rostov, juniors Chris Harrison-Docks and Ben Lawson, and sophomore Justin Johnson left from last season’s roster.

Here is a list of recruits WKU has pulled in this offseason—a list that Harper assures is not yet completed:

  • Nathan Smith- 7-1 high school center from Barking Abbey Secondary School, United Kingdom
  • Chris McNeal- 5-1- South Side High School guard from Jackson, Tennessee
  • Marlon Hunter- 6-2 Melrose High School guard from Memphis, Tennessee
  • Fred Edmond- 6-3 College of Southern Idaho junior college guard from Lansing, Michigan
  • Anton Waters- 6-6 Gulf Coast State College junior college forward from Baltimore, Maryland
  • Phabian Glasco- 6-7 Connors State College junior college forward from Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Aaron Cosby- 6-3 Illinois graduate transfer guard from Louisville, Kentucky
  • Kristaps Gluditis- 6-4 Latvian prep guard from Latvia