SLU’s roster of available scholarship players is now down to nine for the 2016-17 season.
It came to light on Wednesday afternoon that Saint Louis University guard Marcus Bartley has withdrawn from the university and intends to transfer. Bartley, who was set to begin his junior year with the Billikens, obviously was seeking a fresh start.As Gavin Sullivan, the CEO of the Illinois Irish, Bartley’s club basketball program, said in a statement:
"“Marcus wanted to stay loyal to the school he committed to out of (high school). He gave Coach Ford and his staff an opportunity, but just didn’t feel the same connection (with) them as (the) previous staff that recruited him…He felt that if he was going to start over with new coaches it would be better for him to start fresh (with a) new school and staff of his choice, not the school’s choice.”"
Bartley never made much of an impact as a Billiken over his two years in the program. During his freshman season, he averaged 4.9 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists over 19.2 minutes per contest. Last year, Bartley’s production further decreased, as he had just 3.8 points, 0.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists over 14.6 minutes per game.
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With Bartley’s departure, the Billikens only have nine eligible scholarship players remaining for the 2016-17 season, as transfers Javon Bess, D.J. Foreman, and Adonys Henriquez will have to sit the year out. Considering that freshmen Jalen Johnson and Zeke Moore will still be adjusting to the NCAA game, it’s extremely possible that Travis Ford will be forced to play with a very short rotation this year.
Three of those nine players–Matt Neufeld, Elliott Welmer, and Austin Gillman–are centers standing 6-foot-9 or taller, and it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to play extended minutes. Thus, the pressure is going to be on players like Mike Crawford, Jermaine Bishop, and Davell Roby to soak up minutes for the Billikens this year.
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As Bartley departs, Gillman and Roby are now the only players remaining from Jim Crews’s massive 2014 recruiting class. Bartley, guard Miles Reynolds, and forwards Milik Yarbrough and Brett Jolly departed during the transition from Crews to Ford this summer. As we begin closing the book on Crews’s record as a recruiter at SLU, it’s safe to say that it wasn’t a very good one. Forward Tanner Lancona, who transferred following the 2014-15 season, was another Crews recruit that didn’t complete his career at SLU. Seniors Reggie Agbeko and Mike Crawford, sophomores Neufeld and Bishop, and the redshirt freshman Welmer are the Crews recruits who remain, while the freshman Moore was originally recruited to SLU by Crews but will never play for him.
It’s possible that Aaron Hines, who was a walk-on in 2014-15, then was given a one-year scholarship last season before returning to walk-on status again this summer, could be offered another scholarship. One would assume that with Bartley’s departure, he’ll be getting regular minutes out of necessity, so it’d make sense to reward him for his contributions again.