On March 19th, Marquette decided to make a change in their men’s basketball team leadership. Upheaval beyond changing the guy calling the shots on the east side of 770 North 12th Street was always a likely outcome of that change, and we saw that in full effect on Monday evening as Jonas Aidoo, a top 75 prospect out of North Carolina, announced that he was withdrawing his commitment to the Golden Eagles and re-opening his recruiting.
After a long talk with my family and coaches, I have decided to decommit from Marquette University and reopen my recruitment . I’d like to thank Coach Wojo and Coach Gainey for the opportunity.— Jonas Aidoo (@J0nasAid00) March 30, 2021
Aidoo was first offered a scholarship to Marquette back in August of 2020, back before he was rated or ranked by 247 Sports. Between then and when Aidoo announced his commitment to the Golden Eagles in December 2020, Aidoo had climbed all the way up to #108 in 247 Sports’ Composite system. Right now, as I type up this article in the wake of Aidoo changing his mind, the 6’11”, 215 pound center is ranked #60 in the country.
He was one of a long line of guys that Steve Wojciechowski and his staff had identified as a Big East caliber player long before the recruiting services figured them out. Given Aidoo’s current status, it seems like he’s not going to have any shortage of programs interested in offering him a spot for this coming fall. His top 10 back in December also included Georgia, Houston, Kansas, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Miami, Providence, and South Carolina, so it seems possible that those spots could end up being open to bringing Aidoo in now.
That list might include Marquette, by the way. Aidoo was never signed to play for the Golden Eagles, as he committed in December, about a month after the Class of 2021 could sign letters of intent. The fall signing period ended, so Aidoo had to wait until the spring, mid-April in fact, to sign on the dotted line and make a binding commitment. If he was asking for his release from a letter of intent, I’d say that’s pretty definitive in saying that he’s done with the Golden Eagles. All he’s doing here is letting everyone know he’s officially listening to anyone who wants to call him up. That can include new MU head coach Shaka Smart if the new top man in Milwaukee is interested.
It’s probably unlikely, though. Aidoo has a few weeks before he can sign, and if he were particularly interested in coming to Marquette, then he could have left things as they are and started building a relationship with Smart and whoever joins the new staff in short order. He didn’t, which probably indicates that Aidoo won’t end up in blue and gold.
As such, that means we update the scholarship chart.
Kam Jones and Stevie Mitchell are signed to play for Marquette in the fall, and until there’s an official announcement that they are released from their letters of intent, we’re leaving them in the chart for this coming fall. With Aidoo out of the picture, Marquette potentially has as many as four open scholarships for the 2021-22 school year. If Tommy Gardiner returns from his season ending knee injury and Smart continues to grant the former walk-on a scholarship, then MU has just three spots available.
That’s by NCAA rule. The door is still open for Jamal Cain, Theo John, and Koby McEwen to return to the Golden Eagles for a COVID-caused bonus season, although Cain and McEwen have entered the transfer portal. That doesn’t prevent them from returning, but it does make it more unlikely. In any case, if they return, they would not count towards MU’s scholarship limit, giving Smart the chance to add three (or four) freshmen or transfer and have any of MU’s 2020-21 seniors also on the roster. That’s how the rules work, but that’s not necessarily how Marquette’s scholarship budget works. If athletics can’t pop for more than 13 scholarships, then they can’t, and that’s that.
The roster for next season is most assuredly far from set in stone at this point. Aidoo removing himself from the equation is merely the first item to shift. There’s still the possibility that any of last year’s players could join Symir Torrence in the transfer portal, or any of Shaka Smart’s Texas commits could make their way to Milwaukee instead, or heck, Torrence could even find his way back to the McGuire Center now that there’s a different guy making the playing time decisions.
It’s not going to be dull, that’s for sure.