CALGARY, Alta. — The off-season leading up to the 2017-18 season has been an exciting one, so far.
There’s only one thing. The 2016-17 season isn’t over yet, and big dominos are already falling. From coaching changes and player transfers, to star players declaring early for the draft, the off-season is shaping up to be one for the ages.
On Monday alone, Tyler Lydon declared for the 2017 NBA Draft after two seasons with the Syracuse Orange. The LSU Tigers found their new head coach, in Will Wade.
Then, on opposite sides of the country, two big time players announced their respective intentions to graduate and transfer elsewhere for next season.
Guards Duane Wilson and Elijah Brown both announced their intentions on Monday, adding more excitement to the ensuing off-season that will take us to the 2017-18 season.
Over his three seasons with the Marquette Golden Eagles, Wilson has seen his role diminish with each passing year.
As a freshman, Wilson averaged 11.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest in the 2014-15 season. It was the first season that Steve Wojciechowski coached the Golden Eagles, taking over for Buzz Williams.
It was Williams who originally recruited Wilson to play for his hometown team in 2013-14. However, after sustaining an injury, Wilson redshirted that year, never suiting up for Williams in the process.
Wilson, who is on track to graduate in May, will utilize the graduate transfer rule and play elsewhere next season. He averaged a mere 4.8 points this past year in a reserve role.
Also on the move next season is guard Elijah Brown, now formerly of the New Mexico Lobos. After two seasons in the Mountain West, and a few hiccups along the way, Brown will be pouring in points for someone else in 2017-18.
Brown played one season with the Butler Bulldogs, where he averaged 6.8 points in 2013-14. He didn’t quite play the role he was expecting, and transferred to New Mexico.
After sitting out the 2014-15 season due to transfer regulations, the native of Orange County, CA finished second in the Mountain West conference in each of the past two seasons. Brown was a key cog in the offensive attack for the Lobos, but that didn’t come without some off-court issues.
Brown dealt with some sportsmanship issues, and the conference issued him a one-game suspension for next season. That’s when the rumours started to swirl about Brown’s transfer. On Monday, they came full circle as he sent out an announcement on his Twitter account.
The transfer of both players will undoubtedly hurt both programs in 2017-18. Along with Brown, the Lobos will be without Obij Aget and Tim Williams next season, all of whom were a big part of New Mexico.
While the loss of Wilson will hurt the Golden Eagles, they still return several key pieces next year. Andrew Rowsey and Haanif Cheatham are both back to lead the way.
One can bet that both Wilson and Brown will be coveted talents on the transfer market this off-season.
– T. Bennett