Per a Tuesday tweet from national college basketball reporter Jeff Goodman, the Kansas State Wildcats lost two members from this past year's mediocre men's basketball program as guards Jevon Thomas and Tre Harris both will not return next season.
In the grand scheme of things, these moves in themselves probably really don't matter much for a team that went 15-17 and won the right to begin off-season workouts earlier than 116 other NCAA Division I teams.
From each individual's standpoint, here's why:
Jevon Thomas: Thomas can now say his college career is on track to become as flaky as his recruitment and commitment process once was. The guard took the long way into Manhattan and found a shortcut out as he seemed to be on the periphery of the Marcus Foster story early on before later bathing in his own hot water. The result of the whole was a feeling of a half-in/half-out player who, for whatever reason, couldn't stay focused long enough to develop much of anything.
On the court, Thomas' physical skills were obvious. When locked in defensively, he stole the ball at will in the open floor, and his speed in transition was an asset at times. The flip side to those attributes: Thomas never seemed to know where he should be on the floor, or recognize the difference between a good shot or bad one. His feel for the game lacked to the point where instead of facilitating traffic, he often was the source of breaking any consistent rhythm.
Tre Harris: Harris' leaving the program is a surprise only because he didn't seem to have any glaring issues during the season. That's not to say he didn't -- because something rubbed him and/or the coaches wrong, obviously -- but they were overlooked in light of the multitude of problems caused mainly by Foster's and Thomas's situations.
Harris showed a microwave-scorer ability off the bench -- sometimes entering games and playing for several minutes before erupting for multiple big 3-point buckets in quick fashion. However, that was about it. In 21 games, the 6-5 freshman averaged 10 minutes and grabbed a total of 18 rebounds while dishing 11 assists. So, while minutes were limited, they were still plentiful enough that it started to paint the picture of a guard who could shoot reasonably well (20-of-44 from 3), but didn't appear to offer much else.
The overall: If you're a believer in addition by subtraction and are the optimistic sort, then this move fits for you. A disjointed point guard who chewed up a lot of playing time while never getting on the same page as his coaches or some of his teammates is now gone. Nigel Johnson remains and Barry Brown enters the picture, along with a re-committed Foster (if you take him at his word that he's for sure staying, which, what else can you do?). Harris was an okay piece to a below-.500 team. When those types of players leave, I find it impossible to lose sleep over such things.
All in all, at this point, the immediate future at the guard spot doesn't seem all bad, and now there's a little more flexibility in finding an immediate high-impact post. However ...
The interesting step moving forward (as BOTC's The Big E noted to me) is whether defections are over. If so, this isn't anything to sweat. If more guys head out the door, though, it's going to be very difficult to find enough legit replacements at this point to keep this team competitive in 2015-16.