Late Thursday night, ESPN/Rivals/247/you-name-it Top 100 prospect Jahvon Quinerly announced he was “retract[ing]” his verbal commitment to play basketball for the Arizona Wildcats.
Just to set the record straight: This should matter not one bit to fans of the Virginia Cavaliers.
In the criminal charges filed against former UA assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson, there are numerous references to alleged occurrences that point to Quinerly’s family receiving cash payments to secure his commitment to the Wildcats. If true, that is the original sin in the eyes of the NCAA. (Unless, of course, $20,000 in cash was available to undecided regular students too; right, UNC?)
Aside from the moral question of whether UVA and Tony Bennett would want a player who—at the very least—has walked close enough to an ethical line to get chalk on his shoes, there’s the more practical question of eligibility. The NCAA moves at a positively glacial pace on most major issues like this. So why on earth would any program — much less a program that has been on the brink of breaking through to the Final Four — risk putting a player on the floor who could result in every win, every accomplishment, every banner earned that year being yanked out of the rafters?
There are many multi-layered reasons why this is a complex situation, and I’m not throwing shade, casting blame, or even shaming Quinerly. Everything is officially unproven as of this moment. It is possible Quinerly himself was unaware of what was supposedly going on between Richardson and his family. Even if Quinerly knew and was involved, there is only so much castigation that should be thrown down on an 18-year-old kid, especially given the moral morass of the NCAA’s eligibility and business model.
But bottom line: the risk ain’t worth the reward, Quinerly won’t suit up for Virginia, and one should doubt the coaching staff wastes more than five minutes of mental energy on him.