Blue Christmas coming early?

Maymon's departure from Marquette, UW's interest in JUCO guard leaves door open for Memorial star to reconsider Badgers

Consider it another bizarre chapter in the recruitment of one Madison's best high school basketball players ever. On the same day rumors started to swirl about a fourth recruit being added to Bo Ryan's 2010 class, Vander Blue's best friend -- and one of his biggest reasons for choosing Marquette -- left the Golden Eagles' basketball program.

Just hours after Marquette announced the departure of freshman Jeronne Maymon, fans from Madison to Milwaukee were wondering just one question: Will Vander Blue still go to Marquette?

In a somewhat shocking event, Maymon -- the former Madison Memorial star who was named Wisconsin's Mr. Basketball last season -- decided to leave the Marquette men's basketball program Monday, just 10 games into his career.

"We want to thank Jeronne for his contributions to the program while he was here and wish him the best of luck in the future," head coach Buzz Williams said in a statement Monday.

Maymon and Blue -- the senior standout at Memorial who decommitted from Wisconsin over the summer before signing a letter of intent with Marquette last month -- are very close friends. Blue cited Maymon as a big reason why he chose the Golden Eagles.

That's why it is no surprise that many fans are wondering how this news will affect Blue, but the early indications from his family point to him honoring his commitment to Marquette.

"The Blue family has no comment on (Maymon's decision to quit the team)," Rita Blue, Vander's mother, told Wissports.net. "It has nothing to do with Vander or myself, and it has no direct affect on Vander at all. Vander is going to Marquette. End of story."

Still, when a guy already waffled on his college choice to begin with, it's hard to believe that this is really the end of the story.

So could Blue end up in Madison afterall?

Maybe, but there are two big problems: 1) Vander already signed his letter of intent to attend Marquette. He could be granted a release from his scholarship, but why would Buzz Williams grant the release if Blue was going to end up with the Badgers? And 2) As of right now, Wisconsin doesn't have any scholarships available for next season after Evan Anderson, Josh Gasser and Duje Dukan signed letters of intent with Wisconsin in November.

Believe it or not, the second issue might be easier to fix than you may think. Rivals.com reported Monday that Wisconsin is very interested in adding junior college point guard Lazeric Jones (John A. Logan CC), who played his high school ball at Simeon High School in Chicago.

"I'm not 100 percent sure I have an offer from Wisconsin yet," Jones told Rivals.com. "I've been in touch with the Badger coaching staff for a few months now. We've been working on setting up a time where I can take an unofficial visit up there. Obviously, I'll be waiting until the late signing period."

Jones' comment about not being sure if he has a scholarship offer is very interesting. He can't have an offer because Wisconsin doesn't have one to offer right now, unless the coaching staff knows something we don't. The late signing period isn't until April and a lot can happen between now and then. A current player could transfer or leave the program before the season is over. And let's not forget that fall semester grades come out soon and we've seen players transfer during winter break because of academic problems or other reasons (DeAaron Williams and Mickey Perry). 

What we do know is that the interest in Jones is serious and mutual. He will visit Wisconsin within the next two weeks, according to a source. He already has offers from UCLA and Nevada and will make a visit to UCLA Dec. 20.

But the big news here is that if Bo Ryan is already considering a junior college transfer, that means there is a real possibility of a fourth scholarship opening up. And the way Vander Blue's recruitment has gone, if there is even the remote possibility of an open scholarship at Wisconsin, Blue's name is going to be linked to it no matter what his mother says.

But will Maymon's departure make Blue think twice? And would he be granted a release from his scholarship?

There are way too many questions right now, but if Bo Ryan's phone rings and Vander is on the line, he has to listen, right?

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