Prior to Monday’s game, Marquette will honor its lone graduating senior, forward Chloe Marotta as part of its Senior Night celebration.
Along with Marotta, Marquette will also honor team managers Jaela Preister and Henry Hace.
And that’s it. The entirety of Senior Night festivities were honoring Chloe Marotta at the end of her super senior season fifth year of eligibility along with the two team managers who were finishing up their degrees this spring as well. All of this made sense. With Jordan King playing out her fourth season of eligibility in 2022-23 after earning her degree in May 2022, we could already presume that she was returning for her COVID bonus season of eligibility, and we would eventually get that confirmed by TV announcers in the postseason. There were two more seniors — Nia Clark and Kennedi Myles — who had those bonus seasons available to them as well, so no surprise that Marquette wasn’t honoring them on Senior Night. It was a little fuzzy what Nirel Lougbo’s scholarship situation was with the team after her medical retirement, but after redshirting for a year due to injury, it made sense that perhaps she was going to be around for a fifth year as well.
Instead, we stand here, in early May, and not only are Clark, Myles, and Lougbo no longer with the program, but neither is Julianna Okosun.
Clark has just disappeared from the roster as MU updated it from 2022-23 to 2023-24, Myles is making a grad transfer move to Eastern Michigan for her bonus season of eligibility, Lougbo is graduating from Marquette and starting dental school so her time with the team is over, and Okosun is graduating in three years and ending her collegiate basketball career.
So I ask you: What the hell happened in late February when none of these four women were honored on Senior Night?
We can discuss whether or not Myles had made a decision about returning to Marquette for a final year of eligibility at that point. Maybe she had, maybe she hadn’t, who knows. I’m willing to cut a lot of people a lot of slack for this one if things were still up in the air.
But I feel fairly comfortable saying that Lougbo did not suddenly decide to graduate and attend dental school in a span of about six weeks from when Senior Night happened up til when the article in the Marquette Journal published. I also feel fairly comfortable saying that after Okosun was taking time away from the team due to anxiety issues (she didn’t play at all after New Year’s Day) it was very clear to the coaching staff that her time at Marquette was drawing to a close, especially when Okosun herself announced it on March 19th.
Clark? No idea as to what’s up with her, and if we’re being honest? That’s not surprising, as Marquette never officially announced her transfer into the program other than just telling us she’d be wearing #1 in a tweet in late June.
How did we go from “we know these three players are earning their degrees and we know two of them for sure are not returning” to “we’re not going to acknowledge them at all on Senior Night” like this? Who made this decision? Who decided to just shove them aside, particularly Lougbo who gutted out a redshirt season due to injury and another season of rehabbing after that to try and play before finally being shut down by Marquette’s training staff..... but still stuck around to finish her degree anyway? Or flip it to Okosun, who left her home in Denmark to attend college and play basketball in the States, wrapped up her degree in just three years — an accomplishment well worth announcing to the world — but has to walk away from basketball because she’s making a choice about what’s best for her?
These are the kinds of things that make fans say “hey, whatever happened to....” when the next season starts. These are the kinds of things that make opposing coaches say “well, you know that....” when they’re out on the recruiting trails. It has to be noted that all of this comes towards the end of a season where Aizhanique Mayo just disappeared from the team days before the season started and the McGuire Center appeared wildly unprepared to even answer the question as to Mayo’s status with the team.
Hey, maybe I’m the once going full Fox Mulder here and seeing conspiracies where there are none. Maybe there’s a simple and easy explanation for each and every part of this and each of these women, Megan Duffy included, is entitled to a certain amount of decision making in private.
Maybe that’s the case, and there’s nothing to worry about. But I can see what it looks like, and I don’t think that’s the best look for Marquette.