On Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman took to the Twitter with an announcement regarding University at Buffalo guard Lamonte Bearden.
Buffalo coach Nate Oats told ESPN guard Lamonte Bearden has been given his release to transfer. Asked for it earlier this month. Crazy.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 13, 2016
Bearden played two years at the University at Buffalo, and will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2016-17 season.
I know you, as a reader of this website, are most likely a Marquette fan and thus a Big East fan. Thus, you must be wondering why this matters to you. Well, there’s this:
Buffalo transfer Lamonte Bearden gave following list to Bulls, per source: Nevada, Arizona, TCU, Texas A&M, Wisc., Marquette, Iowa St, Miami— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 13, 2016
And there you have it. Goodman stating that Bearden gave this list to Buffalo seems a little odd. It’s probably a little too complicated to try to parse out what that means, so let’s focus on the important issue: Bearden is interested in Marquette. It’s unclear at this point whether the interest is reciprocated.
Bearden attended Germantown High School, the same high school as current Marquette center Luke Fischer. In fact, the two were both starters in 2012-13 when Germantown went undefeated for the second straight season and won the Division 1 state championship. The 247 Sports Composite system had the 6’2”, 160 lb. point guard ranked as the #224 recruit in the class of 2014 and gave him a three star ranking. Buffalo’s website lists Bearden as just one inch taller now, but still at the same weight.
In his sophomore season for the Bulls, Bearden averaged 13.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists as Buffalo went 20-15 overall, and won their second straight MAC tournament. As far as fancy math goes, Bearden ranked in the top 175 players in the country in assist rate, steal rate, fouls drawn per 40 minutes, and free throw rate.
While that might be pretty good point guard stuff, there is the issue of Bearden’s shooting. He’s bad. Like, “hit him with Klingon pain sticks if he thinks about shooting a three pointer” bad. In two seasons with the Bulls, Bearden has taken 107 long range attempts. He’s made just 26 of them for a shooting percentage of 24.3%. That’s nine percentage points below the efficiency cut off of 33.3%. He actually doesn’t shoot all that many threes (just 20% of his overall attempts this past season), but when you’re trying about two per game and only making one every other game, it’s time to stop.
For those of you that might be concerned about these kinds of things, Bearden was suspended for three games during this past season. Officially, it was for conduct detrimental to the team, but The Spectrum, the UB school newspaper, passed along a report that Bearden tested positive for marijuana. If you have several grains of salt handy, the comments section at Bull Run, our sister site focused on the University at Buffalo, seems to be theorizing the possibility that Bearden’s departure may be connected to that report.
Marquette does have one scholarship currently available if head coach Steve Wojciechowski is interested in Bearden. However, Bearden’s interest might be diminished by the presence of Traci Carter, Haanif Cheatham, and Markus Howard on the roster, as well as Duane Wilson playing his senior season during the same campaign where Bearden would first become eligible to play.