The possibilities for punny headlines are almost limitless:
WE BARELY KNEW YOUS.
I WILL REMEMBER YOUS.
WHAT'S THE YOUS? MBAO GONE.
YOUS SAYS GOOD-BYE, GARDNER SAYS HELLO.
YOUS-LESS: MBAO MOVES ON.
Just when I learned to spell his first name, Youssoupha Mbao has announced that he's transferring from Marquette. His career stats:
Games played: 10
Total minutes: 60
Total points: 1
Total rebounds: 7
Total fouls: 13
Minutes at the point of that ridiculous 1-3-1 trap zone that Coach Buzz felt compelled to try: Too many
Number of exasperated, "What the hell is Yous doing?!?!" texts sent during the ten games in which he played: 25. And those are just mine.
But the most important number, in my mind, is five: Yous Mbao is the
fifth sixth player to transfer/quit/be forced off the team on Coach Buzz's watch, following Trevor Mbakwe, Pat Hazel, Brett Roseboro, and Mo Acker (who was cut last summer, then asked to rejoin the team after Roseboro quit). [EDIT: somehow, I completely forgot about Jeronne Maymon. On the bright side, that means that I've successfully obliterated any trace of TIMMAY! from my memory. So I've got that going for me.]
Listen, I know that college sports is a business, and, more and more, it's becoming an ugly business. And, granted, not all five of the Mbakwe-Hazel-Roseboro-Acker-Yous group can be counted as cuts or forced transfers. Mbakwe, from all appearances, is just a knucklehead who's given to listening to very, very bad advice, and Roseboro couldn't hack it after a week of scrimmaging. Those things happen.
The Hazel, Acker, and Mbao cases, on the other hand, don't sit well with me. Hazel, of course, was never going to be a high major player, but I've never heard that he was a malcontent or didn't practice hard or anything like that. He simply wasn't good enough, so he was shown the door. Acker's situation has always rubbed me the wrong way; the "he needs to focus on his academics" line that Coach Buzz used as the reason for Mo being kicked off the team was patent horsecrap. If Mo wasn't considered a high-major player, or if there were other reasons why he was asked to leave, then Coach Buzz should've released a terse "Mo's not with our team anymore. We wish him the best in the future" and left it at that. He didn't have to tell us the reason Acker was being kicked off the team, but he didn't have to lie to us, either.
And now there's Mbao, a kid who Coach Buzz moved heaven and earth to land and to get cleared for play. For a team bereft of height, Mbao looked like a godsend. But as soon as he stepped on the court, it became woefully obvious that Yous wouldn't be able to contribute this year, and that it was going to take a ton of work to transform him into a ten- to fifteen-minute-per-game player next year. He was too raw, too awkward, too thin, too unsure of what to do on a basketball court.
Maybe those things could have been overcome, and maybe Yous would have developed into an Ousmane Barro-type in a couple of years. But we'll never know, and I sure hope the reason isn't that somebody better -- in this case, Davante Gardner -- came along.