Certainly, nobody should be happy to see the loss of Aaron Spears. However, I do not envision this loss spelling doom to Hawk fans. Aaron is an emerging prospect, but he would not have brought the type of presence that could turn this program into a BigTen championship caliber team next season.
Certainly, Aaron would have brought the wide body and power game to the Hawks that will be missing next year. That does not necessarily translate into success especially with the changes that are likely going to be seen in the motion offense next year. The Hawks will have more of a finesse frontline next year with some shotblocking ability due to the presence of Erek Hansen. I do not see a lot of concern about the size of the frontline; although; especially if Glen Worley is able to stay out of foul trouble. Glen and Greg Brunner will be very capable rebounders in the BigTen, and will still have enough size and skill to make a formidable frontline.
I actually believe Aaron's decision actually is good news for Jared Reiner. Aaron's arrival to Iowa City would have likely taken away minutes from Jared and continued to tamper with his potential and progress. I think this will help put Jared back up to the pressure of knowing how much he will be needed to step up next year. I still believe Jared has the potential to be one of the best big men in the BigTen, and how well he does early in the season will go a long way as to how far he develops next season.
Now, moving on to JUCO SG Devin Smith, the Hawks are riding on one of the hottest prospects in America. Aaron's Spears decision to attend Illinois also helps the Hawks due to the fact that the Illini have no more scholarships available this spring. Devin now will likely make a decision between Iowa and Kansas. Certainly, Coach Alford has shown his recruiting ability to Hawk fans, but landing Devin over Kansas would likely be the biggest recruiting coup Steve has had so far in his short coaching tenure.
The combination of Devin Smith and Aaron Spears likely would have put more expectations on the team next year, but as Hawk fans now: EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING. Devin Smith will bring the outside shooting ability that will sorely be needed next year. Brody Boyd is a very good shooter, but his size will limit him on how many shots he is able to get off. Also, Devin's game will compliment Pierre Pierce's ability to slash and Glen Worley's ability to play inside and outside. The penetrating ability of Jeff Horner and Pierre Pierce could very well help Devin Smith see many long range jumpers in the open for him to take next season. Those three certainly would enough scoring power to give Coach Alford and staff three scoring options needed to finish in the top three of the BigTen. It is a long time away from the season, but Devin Smith surely will have to look into the impact he will be able to make at Iowa compared to what he will be able to do at Kansas.
The Hawks will be looking for good news when spring signing day begins. The Hawks have one remaining target this spring in SG Devin Smith, and his potential impact could very much rival that of Reggie Evan's. Will the Hawks be able to finally gain revenge on the Jayhawks?