As if 10 straight losses weren’t enough. As if an obvious lack of strategic identity wasn’t enough. Add insult to injury; pour salt in the wound; let the drizzle become a downpour. Following their 63-58 home-loss at the hands of Quinnipiac, Marist officials and men’s basketball coach John Dunne announced that guards Matt Turner and Darius Hines were dismissed from the program for violating team rules.
Neither Dunne nor school officials could offer any further information at this time. Assistant Athletic Director and Sports Information Director Mike Ferraro doubled down. He explained that the team will remain consistent with the language reported in the Poughkeepsie Journal on Saturday, and with Dunne’s post-game comments.
“It’s never easy when something like this happens,” Dunne said. “We are in the beginning stages of trying to build this program and we need to do it with the student-athletes who are fully committed to our cause.”
Turner — a transfer from Santa Clara who sat out last season before starting in seven of nine games this season — was averaging 9.1 points per game, good for third best on the team. He also averaged 2.3 rebounds and registered 10 total steals. Hines lived on the flip side of that coin this season; after providing a surprising spark as a freshman backup last season, he rarely saw time to start the year. Before his release, he hadn’t scored a point in six games and only tallied 12 total assists. Neither had played since Dec. 21 in Marist’s 30-point drubbing at the hands of Bethune-Cookman, and both missed the Dec. 28 loss against Columbia.
Despite the array of losses, Dunne has attempted to remain positive. He noted that the team’s spirit “has been good, even through the losses.” The biggest test for any spirit, however reportedly positive, is responding to controversy and loss, no matter if it comes in the form of a single game or a teammate.
The loss of these teammates, in particular, will open up opportunities for players like Tyler Saint-Furcy, Jack Cavanaugh, and perhaps even Michael Servantes and Ryan Carmello. That’s the silver lining to all of the hoopla. At its core, though, all this does is further stress how much of a mess this season has been.
It started with a bang: Dunne’s overhaul passed its first test in exciting fashion. Michael Cubbage sank a game-winning layup to beat VMI. 1-0. What a feeling. Since then, they’ve lost ten. No longer can you call this inexperience, nor growing pains. It’s merely an extension of the Red Foxes of old. At 1-10, it’s their worst start since 2009 (they finished 1-29 that year). Perhaps this team has more talent on paper. But it’s about delivery and execution. They’ll have to attempt to improve both of those aspects without Hines and Turner from here on out. Their next chance to do so comes Sunday against Dunne’s former team, St. Peter’s, at 2:00 p.m.