Three YSU players will not return
By Brian Dzenis
Youngstown State has lost its returning leading scorer, one of its backup point guards and a member of head coach Jerrod Calhoun’s first recruiting class.
The university confirmed on Thursday that forward Braun Hartfield, point guard Jeremiah Ferguson and forward Jacob Brown asked for and were granted their releases from the program. The trio intends to transfer.
Through athletic department spokesperson Jamie Hall, Calhoun declined to comment. Hall said it was university policy not to discus athlete transfers. Messages left with the athletes weren’t returned.
Hartfield averaged 13.7 points a game in his sophomore season, a little more than two points less than leading scorer Cameron Morse.
Ferguson started the year as the team’s starting point guard after Francisco Santiago tore his ACL in the offseason and was on limited minutes at the beginning of the season.
He broke his nose minutes into the season-opener against Kent State. He wore a mask for the rest of the year and from a playing standpoint, took a back seat to Morse — who became the team’s starting point guard — and senior transfer Jaylen Benton. He averaged 4.3 points per game while playing 14.9 minutes a contest.
He stood to be further marginalized given that Calhoun has three incoming freshman guards in Atiba Taylor Jr., Darius Quisenberry and Jelani Simmons on the team next year. Fellow point guard Devin Morgan will have two years of eligibility after sitting out this season after transferring from Delaware State. He averaged 13.2 points per game in two seasons at his previous stop.
Brown appeared in 10 games during his freshman season and totaled 14 points in 54 minutes of action.
The departures continue to erase any trace of Calhoun’s predecessor, Jerry Slocum.
Barring any more moves, junior forward Devin Haygood is the only player from the Slocum era that is a lock to return to YSU next year. Santiago — another Slocum player — needs a hardship waiver to come back. YSU applied for a waiver at his behest in January after the Cleveland native re-injured his knee while trying to play through a torn ACL.
Hall said YSU is still waiting to hear from the NCAA on Santiago’s status.