With Finals Week wrapping up at Marquette on Friday, former Golden Eagles guard Haanif Cheatham announced that he would be transferring to Florida Gulf Coast for the conclusion of his collegiate career.
Marquette announced that Cheatham was leaving the men’s basketball team after returning from their trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. Part of the announcement was that he was leaving for personal reasons, and transferring to FGCU, which is less than a 2 hour drive from his home in Pembroke Pines, Florida, certainly matches up with his need to be closer to home at this time.
Cheatham appeared in all 70 Marquette games during his time with the team, and started 63 of them, including all five games this season. He finishes his Marquette career with averages of 10.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.
He’ll be joining a FCGU team that has won at least 20 games in each of head coach Joe Dooley’s four seasons. The Eagles have represented the Atlantic Sun in each of the past two NCAA tournaments, even winning a First Four game in 2016, and they’re the favorite to do so again this season. FGCU was the unanimous pick by the A-Sun coaches to win the league before the season, and KenPom currently projects a tie for first place between Florida Gulf Coast and Lipscomb.
The question, though, is whether Cheatham will play in the 2018-19 season. If he does, he’ll have to wait until the end of FGCU’s fall semester, and having played in three seasons worth of games at Marquette, he’ll only be allowed to play in the spring action next year. However, if Cheatham sits out the entire 2018-19 season, he’ll be able to play in the entirety of the 2019-20 season. There is the possibility that the NCAA grants him a waiver to play an extra season much like they did with Sandy Cohen, but the difference there is that Cohen averaged six minutes in three games for Marquette as a junior before leaving, while Cheatham started all five games and played more than 20 minutes in each one. It seems unlikely given the game action involved, but perhaps the NCAA gives him some leeway depending on the nature of his personal reason for leaving.