Only three months after combo guard D.J. Newbill called Marquette his dream school when he signed, the Philadelphia native learned the Golden Eagles have decided not to honor their scholarship offer.
Marquette needed to free up a scholarship this week to accommodate talented Oregon transfer Jamil Wilson, so coach Buzz Williams revealed Wednesday that the school will release Newbill from his letter of intent. AAU coach Larry Waiters said Marquette officials used some "minor paperwork" that Newbill's high school hadn't sent yet as justification for cutting him loose.
"I understand it's a business and you're trying to do the best for your business, but when you make a commitment to someone, you should stand by your commitment," said Waiters, who has coached Newbill since ninth grade and was among the first to speak to him after Marquette made its decision. "Marquette was his ideal school. He's a little upset, but I think he'll be fine."
Marquette's brazenness in severing ties with Newbill is a tad unusual, but the Golden Eagles certainly aren't the only program willing to make such a move to better position themselves to win. Just like recruits often renege on a commitment or seek a release from a letter of intent if a better option comes along, many schools are doing the same thing.
Whereas Newbill was somewhat of an under-the-radar recruit, the 6-foot-7 Wilson is a former top-100 prospect in high school. The Wisconsin native started 14 of the 26 games he appeared in last season for the Ducks, averaging 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds.
A voicemail left for Newbill's mother on Wednesday afternoon was not immediately returned. A Marquette spokesman confirmed that Newbill had signed his letter of intent in April and had no academic issues that would have prevented him from enrolling at the school.
(Update: I removed a portion of what I had previously attributed to the Marquette spokesman because he did not confirm that the reason the program released Newbill was because it needed Wilson more than him)
"D.J.'s a great kid," Williams told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "He comes from a great family who we have established relationships with, and we're going to do everything we can to help him in his future, in whatever capacity that would be."
The good news for Newbill is that it appears there won't be any shortage of options for him despite how late it is in the recruiting calendar. He won't be able to go anywhere else in the Big East because he'd already signed with Marquette, but Waiters said a handful of other Division I programs have already expressed interest.
Newbill had previously considered West Virginia, Drexel, Nebraska, St. Joe's and Temple before selecting Marquette.
"The disappointment is that he won't get to go to a Big East school," Waiters said. "He could petition, but you're never going to win those things. But he's got some pretty good offers on the table. He's going to have to get together with his mom and his family and make a decision."