The University at Buffalo completes its disappointing season this week in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, but the Bulls could have been a tournament dark horse if top recruit Jonas Jerebko had arrived on campus.
Jerebko signed with UB but elected to play professionally in Europe, spoiling coach Reggie Witherspoon's plans to use the 6-foot-9 swingman as a point forward a la Scottie Pippen. Jerebko possesses the Pippen-like qualities of running the offense, slashing to the basket, shooting and defending. If he was good enough to play-for-pay as a teen, he was good enough to help UB.
Witherspoon's backup plan was Brooks Taylor, a 6-4 guard and one of top scorers in Arkansas prep history who eventually signed with South Alabama.
"Jonas is someone you don't plan to lose and replace,'' Witherspoon said. "There's not a lot of guys who you can say, 'OK, we didn't get this 6-foot-9 guy who can play five positions, so let's go get the next 6-foot-9 guy who can play five positions.' ''
--- Rodney McKissic