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Marquette Basketball Looks To Take Advantage Of Louisville’s Misfortune

Recruits are running away from the Cardinals with NCAA penalties looming, and the Golden Eagles are waiting with open arms.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Michigan v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In case you just woke up from a coma, it’s been a big week for the University of Louisville, but not in a good way. Last week Tuesday, the FBI announced arrests in a case involving massive levels of corruption in college basketball. While no one directly connected to the Cardinals currently finds themselves under arrest, they are almost nearly explicitly named in the court documents as “University-6.”

The long and short of it is that money changed hands to get Brian Bowen, a top 20 small forward in the class of 2017, to attend Louisville this fall. This has ultimately resulted in the removal of both UL athletic director Tom Jurich and UL head men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino. The accusations in the court documents also carry with them the spectre of heavy NCAA penalties down the road, and thus, previously committed UL prospects have begun reopening their recruitment.

Two such guys are Anfernee Simons and Courtney Ramey. Simons is a 6’3”, 165 pound shooting guard who is ranked #12 in the country in the class of 2018 according to 247 Sports, while Ramey is a top 40 prospect in the same class. Ramey is roughly the same size as Simons, but is listed as a point guard.

Both young men have heard from Marquette since opening up their process once again. Simons has merely heard from Steve Wojciechowski and his staff according to Jacob Polacheck from ZagsBlog, while Rivals’ Corey Evans is reporting that MU has informed Ramey that their previous scholarship offer to him is still valid.

This is all very fascinating from a number of angles.

First — This is just smart business from Wojo and his staff. Two top 40 recruits are suddenly available a month before the fall signing period. One of the freshly available guys is a player that you already have a relationship with enough to the point where you offered him a spot in the past. Go explore your options.

Second — What does the exploration of those options with Simons and Ramey mean relative to Marquette’s interest in Quentin Grimes, the top 20 point guard who will be visiting Milwaukee later this month? Are the former Louisville commits insurance policies for Grimes in case the Houston native elects to attend Kansas, Kentucky, or Texas? Does this tell us anything about MU’s internal opinion about their chances to land Grimes, or is it a case of merely keeping all your bases covered?

Third — What does suddenly chasing after two top 40 players in 2018 mean relative to the fact that MU currently does not project to have a scholarship available for fall 2018? Is it just smart business to cover your bases if a player of the caliber of Grimes, Simons, or Ramey is interested, or is it another item on the pile of evidence that Steve Wojciechowski expects to lose a player off his roster other than Andrew Rowsey, the lone senior?

Fourth — Are we 100% certain that it’s safe to recruit kids who were planning on attending Louisville 9 days ago? UL is in trouble because money changed hands to get Bowen on campus. Is it a safe and/or smart move to attempt to get guys who were going to go to the Commonwealth without a guarantee from the NCAA that they’re 100% clean? I’m not accusing Simons, Ramey, or anyone in their families, or anyone generally associated with them of any wrongdoing here. However, it’s going to be a long, long, long time before the full effect of these federal charges are felt and understood. It would be very very verrrrrrry awkward to bring Simons or Ramey in, have them dress and play in blue and gold, and then be told suddenly that they were actually ineligible the whole time relative to something untoward happening in their past, possibly even without their knowledge. It would be especially awkward for a head coach who said “A clear conscience is a great pillow” at Monday’s media day press conference at the McGuire Center.

As you can see from the embedded tweets above, there’s a long list of schools checking in on both Simons and Ramey since they re-opened their recruitment. Maybe they don’t have any interest in Marquette. Maybe we have to wait until the spring to get a final resolution on this, as we’re only a month away from the fall signing period and no one would blame either kid for electing to pass on making a quick decision. We’ll have to see where this goes.

To wrap up, here’s Marquette’s current scholarship projection:

Marquette basketball scholarship table