One year (plus a month or so) ago, Norchad Omier was collecting double-doubles and Desi Sills was acquiring cookies for the Red Wolves. Was it the best of times? Well, it certainly wasn’t the worst, right? The two were a good combo, with Omier dominating the paint (18pts/12rebs/2blks), and Sills creating havoc along the perimeter (13pts/2stls) – with sudden slashes to the hoop. The duo delivered an 18 win season and the promise of a killer season in 2022-23.
A year later, Omier is leading Miami (of Miami) with 9.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while putting up nearly 14 points. Meanwhile, Sills put up a solid season at Kansas State averaging nine points and two assists. That’s good production now officially in service to Sweet 16 teams, a destination to Arkansas State as the Promised Land was to Moses.
How are Red Wolves fans supposed to feel about this? Quite frankly, being happy for Norchad and Desi is the only legit response. The best they were going to get from Arkansas State was another year of massive statistics and a very slim chance at winning the SBC and earning a 15th tournament seeding. Desi and Norchad are living the dream while Red Wolves fans hope and pray that Jeff Purinton delivers a hire that turns the program around.
The transfer portal and NIL have cratered what was once a fairly predictable process of recruitment and development. Today, every year offers Arkansas State a new team. Already, A-State’s freshly recruited stars (namely Terrence Ford and Izaiyah Nelson) have entered their names into Portal, hoping to achieve the same results seen by Sills and Omier. The new coach will infuse into the team fresh faces. Maybe we’ll get more than one year from them. Maybe we won’t. It’s the way of the world.
And it’s a world we have to adapt to, or we will die. A new Norchad or Desi will arrive, and we’ll enjoy some quality time with them before they move on way too early. Or (hear we out) we can build a program that not only values player skills, but also rewards them. We can do this. I have faith.
PHOTO CREDIT: Meagan Johnson and A-State Athletics