The first salvo was Myles Johnson.
After writing the above heartfelt tweet, Rutgers fans started to realize this offseason was going to be different. Had we been paying attention—with transfer rules changing, students getting an extra year of eligibility and more and more right given to the players—we should have seen this coming.
Today, Jacob Young also put his name into the transfer portal. Young was expected to leave, and quickly sent a goodbye tweet after the Round of 32 game against Houston last week. Most expected he was going to go pro and he tweeted that is his plan, but he’s leaving all his options open.
Good for him. Good for Myles.
Although, if you look at comments section and message boards, the sentiment amongst some fans is not that of goodwill. There is some hurt, there is panic and there is anger.
There is a portion of fans that are overreacting and not reading the room.
After this team made history, changed the trajectory of Rutgers basketball, these players should earn our gratitude. They did something we didn’t expect was possible, and gave us one of the most exciting two year runs in Rutgers history. More players may transfer, or the remaining core of the Scarlet Knights may stay together. There are over 900 players in the transfer portal. We do not know what’s going to happen next. College basketball and college transfers are not the same thing it was even as early as last season. College sports and player movement is becoming more and more wide open.
But what I do know is this—these players are trying to do what’s right for them. They want more opportunities to play. More chances to get educated. They want to be closer to home. They just played a season through essentially a bubble situation where they weren’t allowed to see anyone but their teammates and coaches for nine straight months. Maybe they just want to be somewhere else.
One thing they are not doing is transferring to insult the fans. It is not the fans right to react with anger. These are, for the most part, 18-22 year olds with feelings, emotions and dreams. They are not trying to hurt you. They are not trying to hurt Rutgers. They played their hearts out for the school and for the fans the past two years.
Here’s what we know—the head coach who got us to the NCAA Tournament and lodged a win for the first time in nearly 40 years is still here and he has a plan. If he didn’t have a plan, he wouldn’t have reached out to John Harrar and Tyson Walker. There will be more players too. He will fill the roster, and the team will continue to play hard and win battles. He knows what players are available, fit this team, and have interest. And he will mold that team as well.
Rutgers fans, take a deep breath. It’s going to be hard not stress about player movement over the next few months, but do not be insulted. Do not take it out on these kids who made our basketball dreams come true. Myles Johnson needs to be remembered fondly.
We need to trust the coaching staff. Remember, this is happening to every team in every conference. No one is doing it to hurt you. It is not a personal insult.
It’s life in college sports. This is not the same sport we followed as close as ten years ago. And that is okay. Coaches are going to have to adjust to how they build their teams and fans are going to have to adjust how they react. So here’s some advice:
Thank the players.
Trust the coaches.
Have a great weekend.