Marquette lost its first player in the post-Buzz Williams era when Scout’s Evan Daniels reported that 6-foot-6 forward Marial Shayok had been granted his release from the Golden Eagles. Shayok committed to Marquette in October, signed his national letter of intent a month later and was expected to contribute in his first year in Milwaukee.
According to Blair Academy head coach Joe Mantegna, Shayok holds offers from Indiana, Marquette, Rutgers, Virginia and Michigan. It’s unknown whether he’ll still consider Marquette, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go elsewhere after Williams and the coaching staff departed last month.
It’s also not all that surprising that Shayok asked for and was granted his release. He was recruited by Buzz Williams and, more significantly, assistant Jamie McNeilly, who coached Shayok on Canada’s national team.
When Shayok committed in October, he told Hoops Hype Canada that McNeilly coached “me when I was 15 years old, so we built a relationship over the years. I knew if I went there he’d be…there to look ever me and have my back. He was a big part, too.”
There’s been no word on where McNeilly will go after leaving Marquette, but considering he’s been with Williams since his playing days at New Orleans it wouldn’t be surprising to see him accept a role on the Virginia Tech coaching staff.
Williams said in a November press release that he expected Shayok to “have an impact from the start,” though given how little Williams played his nationally-ranked freshman class a year ago it’s unknown whether his statement would have rang true.
What we do know is that Marquette loses (for now) one of its bigger players on the projected 2014-15 roster. Though just 6-foot-6, Shayok touted a wide, 205-pound frame that would have benefitted a Marquette team that lost its two centers (Davante Gardner and Chris Otule) and best rebounding forward (Jamil Wilson) to graduation.
That leaves the Golden Eagles’ current roster with forwards Juan Anderson, Steve Taylor, Deonte Burton and Luke Fischer, the last of whom won’t be eligible until late December.
Here’s what we wrote last month about what Shayok would mean to next year’s team:
“This was an impressive pull for Williams, picking up his first Canadian prospect since Junior Cadougan. Shayok is exactly what Williams is looking for in a switchable, as he’s got power forward tendencies and weight (205 pounds) with an improving small forward skill set on offense.
We learned this year how important defense in freshmen is to Williams, and that’s exactly what Shayok brings to the table. Like Pierce, Marquette’s personnel at the position may mean Shayok sees an increase in minutes from the get-go, and Williams did note on signing day that he expects the 6-foot-6 wing to have “an impact from the start.” That could just be coach-speak, but his skill set fits what Marquette is looking for.”
It also leaves the Marquette recruiting class one man short. Sandy Cohen tweeted last week that he’ll remain with Marquette, while shooting guard Ahmed Hill’s, center Satchel Pierce’s and committed forward Malek Harris’ intentions are not yet clear. As of this writing Hill and Pierce have not asked for their respective releases, while Harris has said he’ll open up his recruitment but will still consider Marquette.
The Golden Eagles’ roster currently has 10 players signed on for next season (assuming no players from last season transfer out), leaving three open spots. If all three commits don’t attend, head coach Steve Wojciechowski will have his work cut out for him on the recruiting trail.
We’ll get more of an update on Tuesday when Wojciechowski will address the media before Tuesday’s men’s basketball banquet.