Otule hopes to return; Ferguson to transfer

Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edu
Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edu

Just a week removed from the end of Marquette’s 2012-13 season, next season’s roster is already taking shape.

Redshirt senior Chris Otule began the process of applying for a sixth season of NCAA eligibility Tuesday. That same day, freshman forward Jamal Ferguson asked for his release and was granted it by Marquette.

After playing a major part in the team’s Elite Eight NCAA tournament run, Otule hopes to lead the Golden Eagles even further next season.

“I am excited about the opportunity to hopefully have one official final run in my basketball career,” Otule said.  “Best case, I am able to help lead our team even further into the postseason than we have gone the last few years.”

The Richmond, Texas, native started all 35 Marquette games in 2012-13, scoring 5.1 points and grabbing 3.5 rebounds per game in an average of 17.7 minutes.  He blocked a team-high 36 shots and shined in the tournament, recording his first career double-double against Davidson.

Otule’s return must be approved by the NCAA, a decision that will likely be reached within the next few weeks.

“We are excited that Chris has decided to go through the process of applying for his sixth year,” coach Buzz Williams said.  “We don’t anticipate any issues with this, but it’s a process that the NCAA will handle as judiciously as possible, and when we have been given confirmation, we will release that as well.”

Otule’s career has been marred by injury, but he’s gained a unique distinction as the only player to compete under Williams for the coach’s entire Marquette career.

Otule played in nine games in 2008-09 after breaking his left foot. He saw action in just three contests in 2009-10 after suffering the same injury to his right foot. He looked primed to finally break out after playing in 37 games in 2010-11, but his 2011-12 campaign ground to a halt just eight games in when he injured his left knee.

Meanwhile, Marquette lost its second 2012-13 roster member in two weeks in Ferguson. The guard expressed a desire to move closer to home, and like guard Jake Thomas, who requested his release last week, Ferguson hopes to play more minutes at another university.

“I am hoping to find a school closer to my family, which is very important to me,” Ferguson said. “I would also like to obviously find a situation where I can have more playing time on the court.”

The Norfolk, Va., native competed in 14 contests off the bench for the Golden Eagles last season, averaging just 1.1 points and 0.6 rebounds in 4.6 minutes per game.

“Jamal has decided it is in the best interest of his future that he leave the team,” Williams said.  “He has our complete support, and we wish him nothing but the best and are very appreciative of his contributions while he was here.”