Men's basketball is a unique sport in the NCAA, where there are two separate time frames where players are allowed to sign national letters of intent. You're all very familiar with the fall period, of course, where Marquette signed four recruits. However, with the departure of Buzz Williams and the arrival of Steve Wojciechowski, things have changed.
With a coaching change, it's not unusual for players to ask for their release from their letters of intent for a variety of reason. Usually, there's no reason why a school wouldn't issue that release if the player requests it. Thus far, news has only come out that one player, Marial Shayok, a 6'6" wing from Blair Academy in New Jersey, has been released. Meanwhile, Sandy Cohen has reaffirmed his commitment to Marquette and Wojciechowski.
Two players, Ahmed Hill and Satchel Pierce, have yet to publicly ask for their release. Granted, since it's been 5 days since Shayok has been released according to his father and Marquette hasn't said a word about it, it's hard to tell for certain what their status is. With that said, Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spoke to Coach Wojo last night at the Marquette basketball awards banquet:
Meanwhile, the new coach said he's still working with the four incoming freshmen who have signed scholarships. Sandy Cohen of Seymour has announced he's going to play at Marquette, but the Golden Eagles are still waiting to hear from top recruit Ahmed Hill of Augusta, Ga.
"We’re still working through that," Wojciechowski said. "When you haven’t stepped on the Marquette campus and put the uniform on it’s harder to appreciate what a special place it is."
Well, the phrasing on that first sentence is awfully nebulous. While Hunt never mentions Shayok or Pierce by name, he also 1) refers to all four as players who have signed and 2) doesn't discuss Shayok's release at all. In fact, there's nothing in the JS Golden Eagles blog archive about Shayok's release. All Shayok and his father have to gain by saying he's released is a giant pile of NCAA violations by a bunch of different schools, so there's no reason to believe they're lying about it. It would make things a lot simpler if we could just get a tweet or two from any of the official university athletic department Twitter accounts on the issue, but we haven't, so we're stuck guessing.
Going with the understanding that Shayok has been released and with the knowledge that all nine underclassmen from the 2013-14 team are returning, Wojciechowski has one available scholarship that he can use during the spring signing period if he so chooses. Depending on what happens with Hill and Pierce, he may have as many as three. While the spring signing period lasts for over a month, I would have to imagine that for his own piece of mind, Wojciechowski would prefer to hear a decision from Hill and Pierce sooner rather than later. Shayok has included Marquette on the list of schools that he's considering following his release, but he's the only recruit or transfer for fall of 2014 that I've seen mentioned in conjunction with the Golden Eagles in the 15 days since Wojciechowski was hired.
This could be an incredibly exciting spring signing period or it could be an incredibly dull spring signing period. Only time will tell.