There was no surprise to see Ernie Zeigler lose his job in Mount Pleasant after the way this season went. Sure, they surprised Bowling Green in the first round. Yes, they won the Michigan MAC Trophy by finishing 3-1 against WMU and EMU combined. But that's never enough.
And with a new coach can bring one of the most unpleasant of phenomena: player turnover! (No, not the ones that got them in trouble this season.)
The for-sure people that will not return next year are the seniors. Andre Coimbra is a big loss inside. Paris Paramore was injured all year and Nick Jordan didn't play much. But which underclassmen might go?
Almost certain to go is the team's rock, sophomore Trey Zeigler. In high school he spurred schools like Michigan and UCLA so that he could play for pops at CMU. With him gone ... really not much of a chance he stays. I mean, he could, if he really wanted to do that. But it seems more logical that Ernie is hired as an assistant somewhere and Trey follows him or, should he take a year off, just land at a large locale.
And then there are the freshman tweeters. We'll start with Austin McBroom because he was one of this year's most promising freshmen in the MAC:
Bye Bye Central, it's been a pleasure !— Austin McBroom (@AustinMcbroom) March 14, 2012
Fellow freshman Austin Keel might be another possibility:
to stay or not to stay #thatisthequestion— Austin Keel (@keel30) March 14, 2012
OK then. Soul searching is happening everywhere. And there may be others contemplating their future without Big Ern, wondering if they want to play for an unknown coach or transfer and pick their own. And maybe they're just not broadcasting feelings publicly on social media.
So what kind of lineup would they trot out? I'll keep Keel in the mix as we can't make any conclusion on his status:
|Derek Jackson||SO||G||6-0||11.5 Pts, 2.3 Reb, 1.8 Ast|
|Olivier Mbaigoto||JR||F||6-7||7.1 Pts, 4.8 Reb, 0.4 Ast|
|Austin Keel||FR||G||6-3||3.1 Pts, 1.5 Reb, 0.4 Ast|
|Finis Craddock||JR||G||6-1||2.8 Pts, 2.5 Reb, 0.8 Ast|
|Zach Saylor||JR||F||6-8||1.1 Pts, 1.3 Reb, 0.1 Ast|
|Auston Barnes||FR||F||6-6||1.0 Pts, 1.3 Reb, 0.2 Ast|
|Jevon Harden||SO||F||6-8||0.8 Pts, 1.5 Reb, 0.0 Ast|
|Jorddan Myrick||FR||G||5-11||0.7 Pts, 0.8 Reb, 0.6 Ast|
|John Morris||JR||G||5-10||0.5 Pts, 0.6 Reb, 0.7 Ast|
|Luke Wiest||SO||G||5-10||0.0 Pts, 0.3 Reb, 0.0 Ast|
That's ... that's not much. Derek Jackson would be their top player, and while he's very good, it's not the kind of team that really haunts you at night. You can bet, at this rate, that a freshman or juco will be in the starting rotation next year.
And all of this really amounts to saying: when a coach is fired, the loss is more than a "change in leadership," the athletic department's favorite euphemism. The program's going to be in flux for a couple years. And that's additionally much of Zeigler's fault.
But if you look at what Toledo or EMU was able to accomplish, short turnarounds can happen.