As everyone discovered yesterday, Princeton Onwas was asked to leave the Utah Basketball program. Not for anything he said or did, but because Larry and staff wanted to bring in a better player. Many including myself, were assuming that the this was the departure to make way for Jakob Poeltl. But according to the fine folks over at Torn By Sports (and I’ll throw a quick plug in, they’re a good read for all Utah sports, and if you need to read only one Utes blog, read Hoyo’s Revenge, but if you’re reading two, check out those guys, also some great podcasts) the Onwas departure isn’t about welcoming Jakob Poeltl.
Torn By Sports is reporting that Utah is trying to get Missouri commit, Namon Wright to flip and come to Utah. There is a Utah connection as Wright was a high school team mate of Brandon Taylor.
The news that probably throws a wrench into that plan was UCLA’s Jordan Adams reversing his decision and heading to the NBA. UCLA originally offered Wright and if he is looking to bolt Missouri after the departure of Frank Haith, UCLA would seem to be the 800 lb gorilla in all of this.
The other issue I want to touch on with Onwas, is just the nature of player scholarships. I don’t think a coach should simply be able to pull a scholarship for no reason. I’ll preface this with saying, I understand why Larry did it. It’s how the game is played and even if Larry does seem to play it quite aggressively without loyalty, the saying is don’t hate the player, hate the game.
And I hate the game.
This instance is exactly why I think players need organization and protections. There is no reason on earth a coach should be able to send someone like Onwas packing. He was a good guy who was a contributor and was doing what he is supposed to do in school and not in trouble.
It’s time for guaranteed four year scholarships. As long as you’re making academic progress and you’re not in trouble, you should be able to know that you’ll have a scholarship.
What happened to Onwas just feels wrong and I’d like to see the system change.