Having not seen action in a game following his 16 minutes in Northern Iowa’s season-opening victory over Wartburg, there were questions about the role that redshirt freshman forward Chris Olivier would have going forward.
There’s no further need for such inquiries, as it was announced by the school on Wednesday that Olivier has decided to leave the Panther program.
Olivier scored five points and grabbed four rebounds in the 103-50 win, but there were areas that head coach Ben Jacobson wanted the Chicago native to address.
With that in mind Olivier did not travel with the team to the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving weekend, nor was he on road trips for games against George Mason, Iowa (neutral site game in Des Moines) or UNLV according to the Courier.
“Some things that Chris needs to do differently, better — in terms of his approach to some things. That’s the bottom line,” Jacobson said at the time. “Chris is still a member of our basketball team. It isn’t anything he’s done in terms of any sort of trouble of any kind. Nothing to do with any of that. We’re working on Chris making some better decisions and doing some things better.”
While Olivier looks for a new program to join in time for the spring semester, UNI moves forward in its preparation for the start of Missouri Valley Conference play.
The Panthers open with a trip to MVC contender Wichita State on Sunday afternoon, but with the Shockers entering league play without the services of Carl Hall (broken thumb), Ron Baker (stress fracture in his left foot) and Evan Wessel (broken pinky) the door could be open for UNI to grab an essential road victory.
But that’s easier said than done, and that was going to be the case whether or not Olivier remained a part of the program. But with his departure and Jake Koch being a senior, UNI will need to address their front court situation on the recruiting trail.
Photo credit: University of Northern Iowa Athletics