It's been just over 12 hours since news broke that Buzz Williams was leaving Marquette to fill the vacancy at Virginia Tech. We're probably going to get a lot of questions answered in rapid fire fashion by the close of business on Monday, and definitely by a week from now. But until we have solid answers, let's at least look at the issue of Marquette and recruiting so everyone knows where everything stands for now.
First things first. Sandy Cohen, Ahmed Hill, Satchel Pierce, and Marial Shayok are signed recruits. This means that they're tied to Marquette unless 1) they ask for their release and then 2) Marquette grants their release. If item #1 does happen for any of them, I would expect that item #2 would follow in quick succession. Although, it's worth noting that this was not the case when Tom Crean departed for Indiana. Nick Williams asked for and received his release in rapid fashion, but for some reason, Tyshawn Taylor and his high school coach Bob Hurley engaged in a protracted verbal bout with Marquette over Taylor's release, which he was eventually granted.
Next up is Luke Fischer. The Wisconsin native is already enrolled, but he transferred to Marquette after just one semester at Indiana. Presumably, he transferred with the intention of playing for Williams, so the coach's departure could theoretically lead to the player's departure without further restriction from the NCAA other than the one more semester that Fischer has to sit out. With that said, Fischer said that moving closer to home for college was part of the impetus for his switch, so it seems unlikely that the Germantown resident would want to go anywhere else, not to mention the lack of experienced guys with size (Fischer is 6'11", 230 lb.) on Marquette's roster.
That brings us to Malek Harris. The Sandburg (IL) student was the first class of 2014 recruit to verbally commit to Williams back in June of 2013. Harris was suspended from the basketball team for the entirety of his senior season in October, and as a result, he did not sign a national letter of intent in November. Both the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Michael Hunt and Paint Touches have stated that the expectation was that Harris would sign during the spring signing period, but with Williams' departure, that now remains to be seen. With the already enrolled players returning, the arrival of Fischer, and the four signed incoming freshmen, Marquette is at the NCAA scholarship limit of 13 for next fall. Whether there ends up being space for Harris or if the new coaching staff still wants Harris remains to be seen.
That takes care of 2014. Marquette has two verbal commitments for future classes. Nick Noskowiak, a 6'2" guard from Sun Prairie, WI, committed to Marquette's 2015 recruiting class before anyone in the class of 2014 piped up. Noskowiak still can't sign a letter of intent for another eight months, but Paint Touches did get in touch with him yesterday, and he reaffirmed that verbal commitment. As it's just a verbal commitment, there's nothing stopping Noskowiak from looking around in the interim, nor is there anything stopping the new coaching staff from gently explaining to him that he doesn't fit their idea of Marquette basketball.
The other verbal commitment is Phillip Flory. The Wisconsin Rapids native just finished his freshman year of high school and committed to MU before even attending one high school practice. No, I am not making any of that up. He averaged 13.5 points per game for Rapids as they went 15-7 this season. He's not eligible to sign a letter of intent for another 32 months, and coaches aren't even allowed to make contact with him away from Marquette's campus until June of 2015. Seriously, that's the situation we're looking at here: the Marquette athletic office has to wait for Flory to call on his own or visit campus before they can have a conversation with him about his verbal commitment. That's how crazy Flory's commitment in August was.
As always, all of this can change at a moment's notice, because as Buzz Williams likes to say, these things have a way of working themselves out.