JuCo transfer TJ Taylor leaves Marquette weeks after enrolling

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TJ Taylor is leaving the Marquette program after spending eight weeks on campus this summer.

“In TJ’s best interest, he has withdrawn from school today for personal reasons,” head coach Buzz Williams announced abruptly in a release this afternoon.  “As a program, we are in complete support of his decision and we wish him all the best in his future as a student-athlete.”

Taylor was expected to provide the Golden Eagles with some quality minutes off of the bench this year. Trent Lockett, Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue are all but locked into starting spots for the 2012-2013 season, but Williams’ bench now looks a bit iffy, especially if Todd Mayo’s suspension continues into the season.

More importantly, however, this sheds some light on a potential loophole in one of the rule changes that was lauded by pundits.

As pointed out by John Infante on twitter this afternoon, there is no limit on the number of summer scholarships that can be given out. Combine that with the fact that coaches are now allowed to workout with their players during the summer, and voila! You have summer-long tryouts that are funded by the school.

Great for coaches.

Bad for the players. If Taylor was on scholarship, he may have to sit out this season when he transfers.

Now let be me clear: I have no idea if this is the case with Taylor and Marquette. Taylor doesn’t exactly come to Marquette baggage-free. He spent a year and a half — and only one season worth of eligibility — at Paris Junior College in Texas after the semester he spent at Oklahoma was wiped out by a shoulder injury. He may not have the best grades, and there were apparently some familial issues when he initially decided to enroll at Oklahoma.

Williams does have a track record here. He pulled DJ Newbill’s scholarship in July two summers ago and did the same thing three months ago to Aaron Durley to clear scholarship space for Trent Lockett. Losing Taylor means that Williams will be able to sign Kendrick Nunn this fall without having to worry about scholarship totals next summer.

It will be interesting to see the reaction from the national media for this move. Williams is VERY will-liked by the folks covering college hoops (I include myself in that group), but this is starting to become a trend.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.