Wednesday was the first day of the spring signing period (it runs until May 16) and new St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt easily has the most work to do. He currently has just five returning scholarship players on hand for 2007-08 (seniors-to-be Tyler Relph and Michael Lee, incoming juniors A.J. Hawkins and Tyler Benson and incoming sophomore Jourdan Morris). And five is an optimistic number. It would be a huge upset if Hawkins returns, and rumors continue to abound that Morris and Benson might look elsewhere as well.
Former coach Anthony Solomon signed three incoming freshmen in the fall and it's imperative that Schmidt get Philadelphia guard Malcolm Eleby to honor his letter of intent. By all accounts, he's the kind of guard you can build an Atlantic 10 program around.
A bizarre sight at the end of Tuesday's introductory press conference was former guards Zarryon Fereti and Jermaine Calvin strolling in. The disgruntled Fereti, who Solomon thought was a selfish player, was run off the squad in February and Calvin quit a couple of weeks later. Schmidt said he didn't know enough about their situations to comment but gave a "never-say-never" answer when asked if players who walked on the program might be welcomed back under a new coach.
Here's hoping Schmidt doesn't make that mistake. Clear out the locker-room troublemakers, especially ones who came from junior colleges. Fereti and Calvin don't deserve second chances. Quitting should not be tolerated at any school. Given what happened in 2003 at St. Bonaventure, it can't be tolerated in Olean in any form.