Gregg Marshall released a four-star recruit from his commitment so he could play for his high school coach, Penny Hardaway.
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall released four-star recruit Alex Lomax from his commitment to the Shockers so Lomax could play for his high school coach, Penny Hardaway, at Memphis, according to Taylor Eldridge of The Wichita Eagle.
Lomax, a three-time Mr. Basketball in Tennessee, signed a letter of intent to Wichita State in the fall, but Marshall decided to let him out of it without forcing him to sit out a year.
"I have a lot of respect for Alex Lomax and his family," Marshall said in a statement to The Eagle. "When they chose Wichita State in the fall, over several other very nice offers, my staff and I were honored. Obviously, we take commitments to the Shocker program very seriously, but this is a very unique situation where a young man's mentor and coach since the fifth grade has become a Division I head coach. Allowing him out of his NLOI without any kind of penalty is the right thing to do at this time."
The Shockers' recruiting class shrunk from six down to five with the release of Lomax, but there is still a shot they can replace Lomax with another four-star recruit. According to The Eagle, point guard James Akinjo was released from his commitment to Connecticut after the firing of Kevin Ollie, and the Shockers were one of dozens of schools to extend a scholarship offer to the California product.
Last summer, North Carolina State guard Braxton Beverly was stuck in a similar predicament to Akinjo, when then-Ohio State coach Thad Matta abruptly departed from the program after Beverly had already started taking classes at Ohio State. The Buckeyes allowed him to transfer to South Carolina, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible until November.
For Memphis, this could be the start of a new trend of top recruit, particularly from Tennessee, looking to play for the Tigers under Hardaway because of previous ties to the former NBA All-Star. When Hardaway first emerged as a the top candidate for the Memphis job, his connections to top recruits like James Wiseman (No. 1 recruit in class of 2019 according to 247 Sports), Chandler Lawson (No. 40 recruit in class of 2019 according to 247 Sports) and D.J. Jefferies (No. 26 recruit in class of 2019 according to 247 Sports) through Memphis East high school and his Nike EYBL team, Team Penny, were cited as a reason to bring him in.
Marshall will get used to battling Hardaway for recruits going forward as both teams are in the American Athletic Conference.