In the world that is big-time college athletics, it is rare for a coach to make a move that could ultimately cost him his job. So when Bruce Weber announced the dismissal of Marcus Foster and Tre Harris from the Wildcat program, you must know that it was not an easy decision.
Let’s take a moment and applaud Weber for taking a stand against the programs top athlete, while admitted wincing just a little. How many times have we all seen players in programs around the country do the wrong thing and get multiple “second chances”? We know that this was not a decision that was made lightly or without discussions between Weber and Athletics Director John Currie.
Naturally, across Kansas there are many Wildcats fans who are angry and confused by the move. As I checked my phone late Tuesday evening I thought to myself, is this for real? The program had spent the season chasing its own tail trying to find its way, and actually doing so several times. Every time they did though, they kept spinning.
The reason people should not be angry at Weber is simple: we don’t know the whole story. While the whole truth may never come out, if you want to speculate, go right ahead. There are plenty of people out there who will tell you they know why this tumultuous pairing of Weber and Foster ended this way.
History may very well look back at this point and say it was the beginning of the end for Weber in Manhattan. Instead, let’s hope it says this was a time when a coach did the right thing for the right reasons, and his team rewarded him with hard work and several future victories.
Foster is a very talented athlete, but he appears to be unable to allow himself to succeed. A player of his talent should not have a motivation problem. Players like him are supposed to motivate and be an example for his teammates. At the very least Wildcat fans should be disappointed in Foster for failing to take advantage of the amazing opportunity that was laid at his feet. I hope that he learns this hard lesson and takes advantage of his next opportunity, wherever that may be. But, if he doesn’t, he wouldn’t be the first or last athlete to fall short of their potential.
While I have previously and will still give Coach Weber the benefit of the doubt (remember, he is only two years removed from a Big 12 title), things must get better ASAP. If next year is another 15 win season, or worse, there will be no where safe in Manhattan for him to hide from the boo birds.
But, as fans, at the end of the day we cheer for laundry. We cheer for the name on the front of the Jersey, not the one on the back. Players come and go from programs, but year after year that same uniform runs out on the court. So let’s look forward to next season and hope for the best, while remembering we have seen much worse. EMAW.
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