Fans who were wondering about the scholarship numbers with the additional of Jakob Poeltl got their answer this morning, as Runnin' Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak announced swingman Princeton Onwas will not return for the 2014-2015 season.
After the announced transfer of freshman Ahmad Fields, most of the speculation about scholarship limits centered around senior center Marko Kovacevic and redshirt sophomore Jeremy Olsen. Instead, Onwas, an 11-game starter and primary bench reserve for much of the season, will be moving on. Once called one of the best defenders on the team, Onwas shot .511 from the field, just .200 from behind the 3-point line, and an abysmal .420 from the free throw line. However, Onwas was also one of the most athletic and exciting players on the floor in the 2013-2014 season, and was featured on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day two weekends in a row. His highlight reel dunks and high flying blocked shots were instant fan favorites. The athletic guard/forward averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds, including two double-doubles and five double-digit scoring outings, in nearly 18 minutes per game.
Onwas was expected to be one of the core players on a team that has been projected by ESPN's Joe Lundardi as an NCAA Tournament team next season. With the departures of Fields and Onwas, much more pressure and much higher expectations will be placed, perhaps unfairly, on incoming freshmen Kyle Kuzma and Brekkot Chapman. Both will now be counted on to have an immediate impact in one of the finest basketball conferences in the country. Both will need to be better 3-point and free throw shooters and rebounders than Onwas, as well as defend elite level talent.