Whitt’s departure leaves basketball thin at forward

Harry Whitt abruptly left the Saluki basketball team this week, although his teammates said they noticed his interest in the sport waning in his final practices with the team.

“It wasn’t too shocking, but at the same time, it’s one of those things I didn’t think was going to happen,” sophomore guard Josh Swan said. “He kind of hinted at it, on and off… the love for the game was just fading for him.”

The team now has two open spots on the roster because of Whitt and fellow freshman player Treg Setty’s departures. Coach Barry Hinson said he isn’t sure what he’ll do with the available spots.

“Right now, we are really looking at (taking a) walk-on,” Hinson said. “Never said that before. I’ve been in coaching for 31 years, I don’t think I’ve ever actively said, ‘We are really looking at walk-ons.’”

Whitt and Setty were both forwards as well, which means the Salukis only have three forwards left: junior Davante Drinkard and sophomores Dantiel Daniels and Tony Bryer. Hinson signed two recruits for next season, but both are guards.

Daniels asked for a release from his scholarship in the spring, but rescinded his request April 28. He averaged 24.1 minutes per game in 28 games last season, while Drinkard averaged 13.7 minutes per game despite sitting out the first half of the season to focus on academics.

Bryer only averaged 5.7 minutes in 12 games this season, but he’ll see a lot more playing time next season because of the lack of forwards on the team. He said Hinson hasn’t put any extra pressure on the forwards to produce, but he thinks he’ll be successful in Hinson’s system.

“I’m a stretch-forward; I’m not really your typical post player,” Bryer said. “I get up and down the court real well, so I think I’ll be good.

Swan said Hinson’s offense is fast-paced with very few set plays, and they might have four guards on the floor at any given time to play with the system better and make up for the lack of forwards on the roster.

Hinson has more time to install his offense because of a new NCAA rule that allows basketball coaches to workout with their teams in the summer.

“We wanted a band-aid when we first got here, and the NCAA supplied it for us,” Hinson said. “It’s a great opportunity for us because it gives us a chance to see guys in a mode that we normally don’t get to see in the summer time.”

Swan said it’s a much different experience compared to last year, but he and the team like the new rule.

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