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Analyzing a transfer

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When it was officially announced today that Jordan Latham and Jay Canty were transferring I had mixed emotions. Don't get me wrong, neither of these guys had done a whole lot to endear themselves to fans but the loss of a scholarship athlete always means something went wrong.

Hey, it's Dante!
So what went wrong with Latham and Canty? Rumors had abounded that Latham was homesick, or maybe just disengaged, all year, and Coach Mack's answers never really cleared much up. Canty got injured early in the year and was never able to play himself back into basketball shape. Some people even blame the coach for not getting the players the time they needed. It's the Latham situation that takes a bit more looking into to really decipher. 
From the out, it was clear Jordan Latham had something the Musketeers needed, bulk. What it wasn't clear he had was the drive to make it useful. Latham was billed as an athletic four who could create chances and "remind Xavier fans of Derrick Brown at times." Instead, Jordan seemed ponderous on the post, and even slower on the break. 

What was more disturbing was the way that Latham responded to his lack of playing time. Freshmen in college are subject to a great deal of pressure they have never experienced before. Freshman athletes are subject to a great deal more than that. Those of us who have spent time around teams in college have seen a great deal of talent go to waste when the athletes cannot make the adjustment. As the Xavier season neared an end, that seemed to be the case with Latham. Inactive for long periods, he was often listless when pressed into action. 

This brings us, then, to the crux of the issue. Jordan Latham is 18 years old. 18 year olds don't always make great decisions. Sometimes they even decide they'd rather play more at a lower level than try to become the next Jason Love. These things happen, and it doesn't mean anyone involved was wrong, just that the situation was. Again, for emphasis, these things happen without anyone having done the wrong thing. Just like that girl you knew you would marry back when you were 16, it doesn't work out.

None of this really matters though. Here is what matters; kids transfer all the time. Sometimes they work out, and sometimes they don't. Jay Canty and Jordan Latham leaving doesn't mean much about Coach Mack any more than Jamel McLean leaving reflected poorly on his coach at Tulsa. Things change, relationships change, players change, 18 year olds change. So, if you are there, come down off the ledge. This is a team loaded with talent for next year that just freed up two scholarships that combined for 201 minutes and 33 points last year. The future is still bright, it just no longer contains two young men we thought it would.