Air Force freshman men’s basketball player Trevor Noonan has decided to leave the academy at the end of the academic year.
The departure will deliver a significant blow to a program hoping to rebuild around youth after going 10-21 in 2008-09.
With a 6-foot-9 frame and the skills of a perimeter player (outside shooting, passing and ball handling), Noonan was the most promising member of Air Force’s freshman class. He emerged as a contributor late in the 2008-09 campaign, scoring eight and 11 points, respectively, at UNLV and BYU in the Falcons’ final two regular season games.
But Noonan said he felt Air Force was not the right fit for him and he’d been weighing a decision about whether to leave since returning from Air Force’s holiday break.
“I guess when I came here I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of the school,” he said. “I’ve gotten through it to this point, but a lot of the decision in leaving is I don’t think this is the school for me, especially three more years here and five years (of a military commitment) after. I have a lot of respect for everyone who’s able to put up with everything and wants to be here, it’s just not where I want to be. … In terms of basketball, we didn’t have the season we’d hoped for, but that’s not why I’m leaving.”
Noonan had an up and down first season. After playing 17 and 15 minutes in the Falcons’ second and third games of the season, respectively, Noonan’s playing time was sporadic. He played in just seven of the Falcons’ first 13 games of the Mountain West Conference season and in those games logged 37 minutes.
Part of the reason for his limited playing time was he was shifted from forward to center and back to forward.
“We sort of messed Trevor’s mind up early in the season,” Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said prior to the MWC Tournament. “He had to learn two spots in our offense, and it’s hard for a freshman to learn one spot in what we do. I’ve told him on numerous occasions, ‘That’s my fault.’ I really wanted to get him minutes, and it ended up getting him less minutes.”
Asked if playing time played a role in his decision, Noonan said: “No, not really. I was getting minutes toward the end of the year, especially the last five, six games. I respect coach Reynolds, and as many times as we had problems – most of the time we got along fine. He said he’d play people for how they earned it, and by the end of the season, I guess I earned playing time, and I’m thankful for him giving me the chance to play here.”
Noonan said he is undecided about where he will transfer.
“Right now I’m just looking at all my options for next year,” he said. “I have options of where I’d like to go, but I don’t have any set plans.”
Noonan said he needs to get a release from Reynolds before he can have contact with other coaches.
One potential landing spot for Noonan could be the University of Denver, which recruited him out of high school.
“I’d like to stay close to home, but I’m not sure yet,” said Noonan, a Broomfield native. “I haven’t had any contact with schools because of NCAA rules. That’s a school I’ll look into, but right now I don’t have any idea.”