Tharpe's departure no reason to cheer
It always amazes me when fans celebrate the departure of a player and back up their stance by banging the drum for an unproven replacement.
Twitter is a dangerous place to do research, but, given that the news of veteran point guard Naadir Tharpe's decision to transfer away from KU broke just a couple of hours ago, that's the best place to look for now.
And the social media site is full of people cheering about Tharpe's exit.
I get it. I really do. The guy was less than stellar down the stretch last season, he struggled to make shots, run the offense and lead the team and fans don't like it when guys don't help the team.
Add to that the sketchy photo of Tharpe that surfaced shortly after the end of the season and you're quickly talking about full-fledged outrage from people who care an awful lot about these players.
Those are all valid reasons to be down on the guy, disappointed even. But is this KU team really better with him gone?
Time will tell, but I'm guessing no.
Here's the deal. Tharpe probably was not starting point guard material at this level to begin with. He did his best, gave it all he had (that part too often got overlooked with him) and took great pride in playing for Kansas. It really meant something to him to be a part of this program and I'm sure it's a tough deal for him to say goodbye.
Truth be told, Tharpe probably would have entered his senior season as a back-up point guard for the Jayhawks had he decided to stay.
That might have been part of what led to this decision, but it would have been a good role for him and the team. As we've seen, you can never have too much experience on a roster and, like him or not, scream at his every miss or not, Tharpe would have brought a lot of valuable experience to this roster.
It seems very possible that the Jayhawks soon could land Brewster Academy point guard Devonte' Graham. Adding him would've been a huge pick-up for the Jayhawks to begin with. It would be enormous now.
But, again, no matter how talented Graham is, he won't be able to replace the experience that Tharpe brought. At least not immediately.
Think about it. If the Jayhawks land Graham, who is down to KU and NC-State, their top three options at point guard entering next season — Graham and sophomores Frank Mason and Conner Frankamp — will have less experience combined (two seasons) than Tharpe did by himself (three).
Who knows what Tharpe's role would have been. He might have been a back-up to Graham. He might have played 10 minutes a game and he might have played 25. Heck, he might have even shifted into more of a role as a zone buster who came in as a shooter and had nothing to do with the point guard position.
We'll obviously never know. But to cheer his departure seems a bit short-sighted.
Remember how excited everyone was for Dayne Crist to replace Jordan Webb? That didn't work out all that well. This might. But until we see it, you have to wonder.