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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

LEARY: Anger toward Blue misguided

Patrick Leary
Patrick Leary

More than a year ago, as I sat courtside at the Bradley Center working for Marquette Athletics, I heard a constant diatribe from one particular fan in the student section behind me.

“Tran-sfer, Van-der, (clap clap clap clap, clap clap),” the fan screamed.

And for much of the last three years, most fans had these kind of feelings toward Vander Blue, the highly-touted Madison native who could never quite reach his potential. Fans called him everything from a bust to a failure.

This season changed everything for Blue. On a team without any true stars, Blue came as close to that level as anyone at Marquette. He averaged nearly 15 points per game and developed a nose for the basket and the finishing touch he sorely lacked during his first two seasons.

Beyond that, Blue grew into Marquette’s go-to scorer in the clutch. Against St. John’s on the season’s final day, Blue clinched a Big East regular season title for the Golden Eagles when he floated in a driving layup as the buzzer sounded. In the NCAA Tournament’s second round, Blue used the same move to cap off a ridiculous final-minute comeback against Davidson. In the next round against Butler, he utilized the most-improved part of his game, his three-point shooting, to tie the game with a minute left to propel Marquette to another narrow victory.

Even though Blue shot just 3-for-15 in Marquette’s Elite Eight loss to Syracuse, hope sprang eternal for even more improvement in his senior season. Finally, the 2013-14 Marquette team, led by Blue, would return to the Final Four and finish like Al in ’77, not Crean in ’03.

But then Blue crushed the hopes of Marquette fans Tuesday when he announced he would forgo his senior season and enter the NBA Draft this June. And as if nothing had happened over the last year, the vicious anger hit Twitter again.

“Enjoy Turkish food, Vander,” one fan tweeted.

Many others fans criticized Blue heavily, calling his choice a “terrible decision.”

Reading these tweets might help the casual observer understand why Blue may not have wanted to play another year at Marquette. How many bad games would it have taken fans to start up this irrational anger again? Two, maybe three?

In the current basketball climate, with NBA players making millions of for below-average play and college athletes getting jack squat out of a $5 billion industry, Blue seized an opportunity to support himself financially. Couple that with this year’s draft class shaping up as pedestrian at best, and his decision makes even more sense.

Sure, Blue could have gone for glory and led Marquette to the Final Four. And yeah, he might not be ready to challenge the best of the best that the NBA has to offer. But Marquette and Vander Blue never got along, and that’s why Blue’s move made sense.

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