However, because of the four-year eligibility rule in the NCAA versus the five-year window in the CIS, the team will now graduate more than half its roster after this season.The players in question are Robyn Buna, Kate Hole, Matteke Hutzler, and Laurelle Weigl: four of the best players in the country who, if they want to keep playing together, must all transfer to another CIS school.
And what hurts the program most is that this season's fourth-year group -- considered one of the most talented recruiting classes in Canadian history -- is facing its Clan swan song a full season ahead of schedule.
Buna is quoted as saying that it's not that simple, for the (entirely true) reason that they are four distinct people and they don't necessarily all have the same idea: "I guess that [transferring] would be a possibility if we all went to one school. But everyone has a different take on whether they want to keep playing basketball, if they want to transfer, or if they want to stay here and study."
But it's fun to speculate harmlessly, especially (as coach Bruce Langford says) that these four players, or any subset of them, would immediately make most teams that much better. Assuming that none of them would have to sit out--that should be the case, but who knows--there are a few transfer destinations for the four. Tsumura brings up a fascinating case for those of us here in the land of OpenText:
[There] are several schools that make sense, the most curious being the Waterloo Warriors, where a very similar system is being run by head coach Tyler Slipp, a former Clan assistant.(Similar system if not similar results. About the only thing statistically similar about SFU and UW is how fast they run their offence: both teams were in the top 10 last year in possessions per game, with Waterloo at #4.)
We covered off Slipp last summer; in his first year UW went 7-15 and had some big question marks: getting to the line, forcing turnovers...just to name a few. Whether or not Slipp has the influence to get any of these B.C.- or Alberta-based ballers to move east and improve Waterloo is up in the air (although Hutzler is from Ontario, if that matters). If my math's right, three or four Warriors will exhaust their eligibility after this year, so he'll be looking for new players anyway.
(By the way, think about how bizarre this situation will be for Bruce Langford, who's in the unique position of losing this quartet but without any fear that they'll be playing against him. It's one of the few situations where encouraging your players to transfer elsewhere won't hurt your own program.)
It bears watching, at the very least, because even with all the Bronze Baby-related achievements these four have, athletes are driven to play and to compete, wherever they can. And because it's not every day that the starting lineup for the national champions are about to wander the earth like Jules in Pulp Fiction, looking for a flock they can shepherd to victory.
UPDATE (Oct. 4): Kate Hole's first blog post (from Oct. 1) of the 2009-10 season indicates she isn't going anywhere (and that she has several months of built-up alliteration she needs to get out all at once). Just to cherry-pick two quotes: "It is, I admit, a hard concept to grasp – having to identify oneself as something other than ‘varsity’ or ‘a basketball player’ a whole year earlier than previously expected" and "for myself, as well as three other fourth-years, senior status has set its sights on us a season sooner than we supposed".