Bright and early on Friday morning, Scout.com's Evan Daniels reported that Satchel Pierce has been released from his national letter of intent.
The 6'10" 250lb Pennsylvania native attends The Kiski School in Ohio, and was the least regarded of Buzz Williams' four fall signings. He's ranked #195 in the country according to 247Sports.com and that same site's composite ranking has Pierce all the way down at #237. Needless to say, Pierce was going to be a project at best this coming season.
The bigger issue is that this leaves Marquette with three open scholarships for this coming fall. With all nine underclassmen returning and Sandy Cohen recommitting to Steve Wojciechowski and the Golden Eagles, MU has just 10 players for the 2014-2015 season right now.
This is where I would make jokes about "not so Good Friday" if I was inclined to care about recruiting.
But I don't, so I'm not. The most important issue when it comes to recruiting is getting 1) players who want to play hard for the coach and 2) players that the coaching staff sees something that they can develop. While keeping all four recruits signed would have made life easy for Wojo as he adjusts to his new job, it will make his life even easier in the long term to have guys who are excited to play for him as opposed to guys who aren't completely sold on him.
While Coach Wojciechowski and his two assistant coaches have their work cut out for them over the next four weeks to fill at least two of the open three slots on the team, it's important to remember that Cohen is sticking with Marquette. The argument can be made that keeping Cohen on board was more important than keeping Pierce, Ahmed Hill, or Marial Shayok. After all, Cohen is a Wisconsin player, so merely beating out Bo Ryan for his services is a sweet deal. More importantly, Cohen is a top 100 recruit regardless of what kind of ranking you want to look at, and it's crucial that Marquette do whatever can be done to prevent top 100 talent from leaving the state.
I realize that the "keep top 100 kids in state" viewpoint runs counter to the "yeah, whatever" stance I usually take on recruiting, but the fact of the matter is this: Wisconsin is not the hotbed of talent that, say, Texas is. Whoever the coach is at Marquette is going to have to get players from all over to succeed, but when there's talent inside the state that can help you win basketball games, you have to keep them there. It's important from a basketball standpoint and from a marketing standpoint. It's one thing to sell tickets to a top 25 team, it's another to sell tickets to a top 25 team that has local stars playing.
Three open slots means that Wojciechowski needs players that can play now. He can take on maybe one traditional transfer that has to sit out the 2014-2015 season, but Wojo's going to need to add two players that can play right away if he goes that route. Keep your eyes and ears open, we're a ways from the roster train finally coming in to the station.