As we learned Sunday, fan favorite Richard Wonnell has quit the Toledo basketball team. His departure based off the information I've gathered was precipitated by two recent changes. 1. Wonnnell's declining interest in the sport. 2. His belief he would play his senior season, like his first three years, as a non-scholarship player.
Only Wonnell can speak for his waning desire. I will address the second point.
I don't blame Wonnell, who played a role in a handful of wins the past two years, for requesting a scholarship. Nor do I blame his coach, Tod Kowalczyk, for not bending to Wonnell's plea.
I'm straddling the fence on this one, folks. You want an opinion? Fine. My opinion is I don't have an opinion. Wonnell's ascent came about last year due to his readiness to throw around his body for a loose ball. Fans loved him, overlooking his modest skills and trumpeting his effort. A cynic might argue that if not for Toledo's weak cast of interior players Wonnell would not have seen the floor long enough to showcase his attributes. So the question becomes, should Wonnell be rewarded because guys like Delino Dear and Justin Moss didn't work out? Some could argue he has been rewarded --- with playing time.
Wonnell was never assured a scholarship but was told the past two years he would get one unless it went to a transfer. He was bypassed a year ago in favor of Spaniard Angel Aparicio. This spring Toledo is again looking into transfers, notably Kyle Vinales, who committed, de-committed, and might commit again. If Vinales goes elsewhere, and Toledo doesn't secure another player, the scholarship will go to Wonnell. Or at least it would have before Sunday. That raises another question: Why wouldn't Wonnell wait to see what happens? That's a question for him, but one I think I can answer. He doesn't want to play anymore, no matter who is paying.