After spending the entirety of the 2013-2014 season to date on the sideline for personal reasons, Virginia Tech announced today that junior point guard Marquis Rankin has decided to leave the team altogether. The official press release from the school reads as follows:
Virginia Tech head basketball coach James Johnson has announced that Marquis Rankin has elected to leave the Virginia Tech men's basketball team, effective immediately.
"I completely support Marquis on his decision, " Johnson said. "He is an outstanding young man who had to make a difficult choice and I know that he took the time to make sure it was the correct decision. While we will miss not having him on the team, I am very happy that he has decided to stay at Virginia Tech and work towards his ultimate goal of a degree from our University."
Rankin, a junior guard from Charlotte, N.C., has not dressed for a game this season, while making his decision. For his career, Rankin appeared in 53 games, making 13 starts. He averaged 3.0 points and 1.0 assists per game in his first two seasons at Virginia Tech.
Rankin spent the majority of his time at Virginia Tech as the backup point guard, but did on occasion start in place of Erick Green when Green was either injured, suspended for a half or otherwise unable to make a start. He missed the first seven games of his first year (2011-2012) due to an injury that required knee surgery, but ended up playing in 24 games, making 6 starts. That year he averaged 2.5 points per game and just over a rebound and assist per game while shooting .34/.39/.62 line from the field.
In 2012-2013, Rankin missed the first two games of the season (ETSU and Rhode Island) due to family issues and getting back in game shape as a result of being away from the team. He returned to play the remaining 29 games, starting 7 as a shooting guard, and averaged 3.4 points per game and just under one rebound and one assist apiece. He shot a .39/.33/.58 line from the field and was one of the team's best perimeter defenders.
It was assumed that Rankin would be in line for the starting point guard job vacated by Erick Green, especially after the NCAA's ruling that freshman guard Malik Mueller was ineligible, but it appeared that he was overtaken by Devin Wilson prior to the season began. It is unclear if that was the motivation for his decision to not play for the first 11 games and now leave the team, or if playing time was not an issue.
While some hoped for his return, it was hard to imagine Rankin would play this year after missing essentially half a season of basketball. The loss does leave the Hokies dreadfully thin at guard once again with only three eligible scholarship options (and Will Johnston, who was a walk-on prior to earning a scholarship this off-season), it also frees up a scholarship for the future.
Rankin, originally a four-star recruit at the time of his commitment, never fulfilled the promise of that original ranking, which was based on his AAU circuit between his junior and senior years, with his play. For his career, he appeared in 53 games, starting 13, and averaging 3 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist per game. The Hokies also announced that despite his decision to step away from the team, he will remain enrolled at Virginia Tech. We wish him the best of luck on the rest of his collegiate career and in life.
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