Winning at a place like Air Force, or Army, or Navy, is a tough proposition in the modern era due how hard it is to get Division I-level players to commit to five years of military service.
It's partly why Army's still never made the NCAA Tournament, in fact.
So because of certain mandates that each of the service academies have, there are even higher hurdles to clear at each spot. Air Force, which mandates a five-year military term in exchange for attending the university, is losing its best player over that stipulation. The Gazette of Colorado Springs is reporting Tre' Coggins will transfer out.
Coggins, who averaged 16.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists last season, isn't the only one leaving: freshman center Darrius Parker is also gone. Both are switching schools primarily out of an resistance to serving five years of military time.
“You've got to be more into the military part than the athletics part,” [AFA coach Dave] Pilipovich said, “because that's what we're going to do.”
Coggins scored 20 or more points eight times his scoring average was the highest for an Air Force sophomore in 27 years. But there were plenty of red flags indicating his stay might be a short one. He was suspended for three games in the middle of the conference season, with Pilipovich at the time citing concerns that included academics, military and his approach to the basketball team.
There was no guarantee that Coggins' performance as a cadet would have been good enough for him to return anyway, but he took any guesswork out of that decision.
“He said, ‘I'm not going to wait for someone else to make it. I'm going to transfer,'” Pilipovich said. “He said, ‘Coach, I've been fighting this for three years.'”
A shame, but at least he's being honest with himself. Pilipovich's team went 12-18 last season, the coach's second on campus.
Air Force's leading returning scorer will now be senior guard Max Yon, who averaged 13.0.