Three players have decided to leave the program since Tuesday: a second team All-Big Ten selection, a former full-time starter and the 2014 Miss Indiana Basketball runner-up.
It began Tuesday, when Twitter rumblings surfaced that sophomore guard Taylor Agler would be leaving. She confirmed it herself later that night on Instagram with a long post announcing her decision.
That same night, similar rumors spread that freshman guard Maura Muensterman would be leaving. Her former Evansville Basketball Academy coach Phil Kessler confirmed it Wednesday morning.
The disarray continued Thursday when sophomore point guard Larryn Brooks’ high school coach Robert Cooksey said the former Big Ten All-Freshman team member would not return to IU.
After two days of silence, IU Coach Teri Moren made a statement once it became public that Brooks would be leaving.
“I want to thank Larryn, Maura and Taylor for their work and dedication in our first year at Indiana,” Moren said. “We wish them nothing but the best. We are committed to signing tremendous student athletes who will earn a degree from one of the finest institutions in the country while working to lead us to a Big Ten championship. We know we will experience some growing pains as we build this program to compete at a national level. Indiana University is a special place, and we are excited about the future.”
Back in October at Big Ten Media Day, the IDS asked Moren along with IU men’s Coach Tom Crean and Purdue men’s Coach Matt Painter about the transfer problem in college basketball.
The following are the comments Moren had to say about transfers in ?October.
“I think it’s a parent problem, too,” she said. “Back in the day growing up, I think parents were part of a blue collar family, both parents worked. I went through this in my college experience. Not every day is going to be great. There is going to be challenges, especially when there’s expectations there. And they are not what you thought they were gonna be. It’s easy to go, ‘Well it’s not easy here. I’m going to leave.’ ... I think there are way too many transfers in our game but not enough parents that are gonna be real with their sons or daughters and say, ‘No, you’re gonna suck it up, and you’re gonna get through it.’”
Agler’s and Muensterman’s departures made sense. Agler started the first 49 games of her IU career and saw her minutes drop to 13.2 a game in the Big Ten. Muensterman was a highly touted guard that Miller foresaw being an impact player, but she played 60 minutes all season under Moren.
Brooks, on the other hand, was handed the keys to the kingdom when Moren took over. Moren often talked about how they have a bond as fellow point guards and leaders of the team.
Brooks ran the offense, and at times Moren gave her full freedom to do what she pleased with the ball. In January, she seemed pleased with the transition.
“I do like her coaching style,” Brooks said. “She does let me just kind of play free. I know other coaches you probably have to worry about, ‘Can I take this shot? Can I take this shot?’ She doesn’t really worry about that as long as everyone is working hard, and I really like that about her.”
She finished the season shooting just under 39.9 percent from the field, two percent better than her freshman year, but her scoring went down by 4.4 points a game.
“I think a fresh start was needed,” Cooksey said. “Sometimes when there is a coaching change, it’s a difficult transition for some kids.”
Moren and Brooks seemed to bicker at times, but trust was put in Brooks’ hands.
Moren wanted Brooks in her office to discuss strategy and the team. She wanted Brooks to be the leader of a young team in need of guidance, yet Moren publicly said the team had yet to find that leader.
Agler’s situation differs from Brooks’. She averaged 32.6 minutes per game as a freshman and scored under eight points a game. Then, her time drastically dipped after sophomore guard Alexis Gassion started while Agler had a minor ankle injury. When Agler became healthy again, Gassion continued to start.
“Deciding to leave IU was the hardest decision I have made in my entire life,” Agler said.
She was the first to be granted a release, despite her adamantly saying five days earlier she would not leave.
“No, no,” she said. “That’s not it. I’m here. These are my best friends, so I couldn’t leave them.”
In Muensterman’s case, she was a highly recruited player that led Mater Dei High School to two consecutive state championships. She notably had a close bond with her freshman class. They coined themselves “The Folk Four.”
The other three freshmen, guards Tyra Buss and Jess Walter and forward Amanda Cahill, had major roles with the team. Buss and Cahill were full-time starters, and Walter was one of the first players off the bench.
Muensterman was the odd one out in a guard-oriented lineup. She only appeared in 14 games and averaged minimal minutes. With all of the departures, there are now four open scholarship spots.
After IU lost in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on March 5, Moren seemed optimistic about the future. It is not known whether or not she was aware of the transfers at the time, but she said it confidently.
“Without question, the ?future is bright.”