If you haven't heard by now, the news shouldn't surprise you much: Manny Arop has left the program and will transfer at the end of the school year. Arop's rise and eventual fall at Gonzaga was well documented by us and other fans as, simply put, a "curious case". After a very solid freshman season in which Manny averaged four points and four boards a game in about twelve minutes, his sophomore season came with plenty of hype. That hype largely went unfulfilled as Arop struggled to be a consistent threat on offense and, eventually, he fell out of Mark Few and the staff's favor.
Following a late January loss at USF, a game in which Manny missed several crucial free throws down the stretch, he registered his first of seven DNPs. He snuck back into the lineup for a few games after that but as Gonzaga went on their late run in the WCC, Manny never played another meaningful minute and was supplanted in the rotation by walk-on Mike Hart.
While this type of news has become a pretty standard thing at Gonzaga, Manny's departure carries a bit more significance because of the impact he made at GU. As I said, he had a very promising freshman season and showed flashes of excellence as a sophomore. In fact, Manny's two best games as a sophomore came against Big East competition as he scored 15 against Marquette and 16 against Notre Dame.
read on for more reaction...There will be plenty of opinions about what was the driving force of this transfer. There seems to be some contention that Manny simply didn't grasp the offense and his role within it. I don't particularly buy that logic. Manny played 25-30 minute games early in the season. Didn't he know the offense then? What is unfortunate for fans (well, maybe it is a good thing for some) is that we'll never know what happens behind closed doors. For someone to go from regular contributor and starter to never seeing the floor, I'm going to chalk it up to something more than him forgetting the plays. That, however, is one man's opinion.
Arop's transfer continues the brutal reality that was the 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes. Five transfers: Andy Poling, Grant Gibbs, GJ Vilarino, Bol Kong, and now Manny Arop. There were nine players combined in those two classes. The 2008 class is made up of Demetri Goodson and the 2009 class is Elias Harris, Kelly Olynyk, and Sam Dower. Need to look any further as to why last season was so tumultuous?
Due to these transfers, Gonzaga is going to have to play some catch up next season. The backcourt is still extremely inexperienced as Demetri Goodson returns with Marquise Carter, who only really got off the bench for the back-end of last season. Impressive as he was, we'll see what he can do for a full season. Mathis Keita and Mathis Monninghoff were both on the same minutes roller coaster that Manny hopped off of and the jury is still well out on them. In comes a fresh crop of guards. I sure as heck hope we can hang on to one or two of these ones.
I'll always have very fond memories of Manny and wish him the best of luck at his next destination. No doubt in my mind the kid can be very effective in the right system. I hope he finds it this time around.