Lo, Humes and others return; Salter leaves, ‘wanted to stay’
Toledo men's basketball coach Tod Kowalczyk told the Independent Collegian yesterday that forward Mohammad Lo would return next year for his senior season. Lo was suspended by former head coach Gene Cross for the final 13 games of the season after an altercation in practice with former freshman guard Jake Barnett.
"[Mohammad's] back with the team," Kowalczyk said. "I definitely want to give him another chance."
Lo played in 19 games last season and totaled 6.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per contest. He also led the Rockets in blocks per game at 0.68.
Some players speculated last month that Lo's suspension was harsher than it should have been because of his personal relationship with Cross.
"[Cross' decision] with Mo was long-term," one player said on March 18 on the condition of anonymity. "I think it just kept building up and that [incident] put him over the edge. I think [Cross] just wanted a reason. If it happened to somebody else, maybe consequences wouldn't be that bad. I don't see someone even getting suspended five games for that. It wasn't even that bad, it was a little exaggerated."
Sophomore forward Ian Salter told the IC yesterday that he would not be returning to Toledo next season. Salter said that he had "no idea where I'm headed" and that he "wanted to stay [at UT]."
"I'll let you figure out why I won't be back because I don't think I should comment on it," Salter said.
Kowalczyk declined to comment on Salter's departure from the team.
Freshman forward Hayden Humes also confirmed that he would be returning to UT next year after sitting out last season with a torn ACL.
"I'm staying in Toledo," Humes said. "I'm excited to start playing."
Also confirming he would return to the Rockets is sophomore guard Drew Rodriguez.
"I'm coming back," Rodriguez said. "I'm doing rehab on my knee again right now so I'm hoping I'll be ready and able to play."
Rodriguez dislocated his patella for the second consecutive year this season.
"My knee cap flipped over and slid over to the side of my leg," Rodriguez said. "It wasn't too bad. It's just annoying that I can't play for a while, especially since we have a new coach. I just want a chance to show him I can play and I'm not just the kid at the end of the bench."
A Toledo basketball player told the IC yesterday that sophomore Larry Bastfield and freshmen Devin Russell and Neil Watson would be returning next season. That group, along with Lo, Humes and Rodriguez, join junior Justin Anyijong and freshmen Josh Freelove, Malcolm Griffin and Kevin Rohner as confirmed to return next season. The only remaining player in question is sophomore guard Jay Shunnar, who said on Monday he is undecided on his return.
"It's still up in the air," Shunnar said. "As of right now I'm [going to] still be here."
Salter joins Barnett and freshman forward Jordan Dressler among players not returning to the program.
Kowalczyk confirmed that after taking the coaching job on March 30, Barnett did not practice with the team before his decision to transfer on April 1. Freshman forward Jordan Dressler did practice on one occasion with the team before his choice to transfer.
The newly-appointed head coach also said that he was unsure at this point how many scholarships he had available to use for recruiting purposes this offseason, and that he had yet to speak with Chris Anderson, Toledo's only committed recruit. Anderson is a 6'5, 220 pound forward from Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon, Mich.
Kowalczyk returned to Wisconsin-Green Bay on Monday to clean out his office. He also spent some time this week at the Final Four as part of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Ethics Committee which he was elected to in 2005. Kowalczyk said that he was "absolutely" rooting for Butler to win the Championship.
"I think when a team like Butler goes to the Final Four, it's certainly good for Mid-Major basketball," Kowalczyk said. "This program, let's face it, is at a low point right now. We need restore the confidence in Toledo basketball, and we certainly will, which will take time."
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