Between the commitment of Duane Wilson to the class of 2013 and former Arizona State standout Trent Lockett taking a visit to Marquette this week, it had become rapidly apparent that we would be getting some kind of roster news by the time the spring semester ended. Last night, the Marquette athletics Twitter account confirmed what some suspected would be a likely possibility:
#mubb signee Aaron Durley granted release from National Letter of Intent at MU. He will not join Marquette for 2012-13 season.— Marquette Athletics (@muathletics) April 20, 2012
The release gives Marquette an open scholarship in the fall for Lockett and, presuming that Lockett will have NCAA approval to play immediately, gives Marquette space to add Chris Otule's sixth season in the fall of 2013., Duane Wilson, and
Hit the jump and I'll explain why this isn't very surprising.
Let's start out by saying it's never a great thing when you release a 6'10", 280 lb. recruit, regardless of how raw he is. With that out of the way, this wasn't the most surprising roster move that Marquette could make. First of all, Durley wasn't even the best center on his own high school team. He spent the season playing behind high school All-American Cameron Ridley, who will be attending Texas in the fall.
Second, Durley was a project big man at best. He has the same high school basketball coach as current Marquette big man Chris Otule. Back in October, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Enlund wrote this about Durley and Fort Bend Bush HS coach Ronnie Courtney:
Courtney also coached Marquette center Chris Otule, and Courtney said Durley was ahead of where Otule was as a high school senior.
Fast forward to this week, when Enlund caught up with Courtney again:
Courtney also coached Marquette center Chris Otule at Fort Bend Bush and when asked to compare Otule and Durley at this stage of their careers, Courtney said that Otule was further along as a player across the board.
So to review: Chris Otule developed as a player much more than Aaron Durley did in their senior seasons while playing for the same coach, and Buzz commented, perhaps jokingly, at media day back before the season that Otule was the worst player in Texas over 6'2" when he was a senior.
Finally, this might be the best path for Durley. With Otule on a track to play a sixth season, that pushes him into the same academic class as Davante Gardner. Both players will be juniors and seniors together over the next two seasons, meaning it will be almost impossible for Durley to get in game action behind the two of them. Even if he redshirts his first year, that's still a year of eligibility wasted by not playing in games. This release will allow Durley to go somewhere where he'll actually get on the floor for significant minutes and get a chance to develop as a player.