After promising to play basketball at EWU next season, sophomore point guard Glen Dean has reneged his commitment in preference of transferring to the University of Utah.
Dean announced his decision by written letter. He based his decision on “two key life goals: my pursuit of a medical degree and to compete at the highest level athletically.”
Head Coach Jim Hayford’s response to losing a team leader wasn’t positive. “I was disappointed when I heard the news because he told us he was going to stay. After getting over [the initial disappointment], I wish Glen the best. He’s got to do what he thinks is best for him.”
Last season, Dean led the team to its first Big Sky Conference Tournament in five years with team highs of 13.3 points and 4.2 assists per game. When Eastern blew a 15-point second half lead in the game, previous Head Coach Kirk Earlywine didn’t receive an anticipated contract extension and was let go March 7. Since then, Dean’s ongoing saga of where he will play has been running amuck a rumor-filled campus.
Many believed after Earlywine’s replacement was chosen with the likes of Hayford, Dean would get the hell out of dodge. But everyone was wrong — at least for a while.
On April 7, Dean told everyone he was staying at Eastern to play basketball. “I’m going to go ahead and finished it out at Eastern Washington, remain an Eagle and try to help our team win the Big Sky Championship,” he said six weeks ago.
However, he wrote in his letter that the “unexpected coaching transition clearly opened the door for transfer consideration, Coach Hayford is not the reason for my departure.”
In closing, Dean’s letter read, “I have the utmost respect for Coach Hayford. I have found him and his staff to be very positive, caring and committed. They will do well at Eastern, and I wish them and my friends every success.”
Hayford, who won more than 80 percent of his games while at Whitworth, isn’t worried about losing the young 5-foot-10 team leader to the Pac-12. With three guards, all of whom played extensive minutes last season, returning in the backcourt, Hayford isn’t worried about a productivity drop-off. Those guards, Cliff Colimon, Jeffrey Forbes and Kevin Winford, averaged 30.1 points per game.
“Originally we had four great guards returning. Now we’ve got three,” said Hayford. “We’ve also got a really good redshirt freshman in Willy Hankins.”
The departure of Dean may instill doubt in the minds of Eastern fans, but Hayford has the team moving forward.
“I would’ve loved to [win the Big Sky] with [Dean], but we’re set on a path to turn us into a winning program, and the rest of [the players] are ready,” said Hayford. “As a program, we’ve got to move on and go with guys who really believe in what EWU basketball will become … a winning program.”