The Sporting Insider: Where’s Willie Trimble?

The Journal Sports Editor Josh Sellmeyer
Josh Sellmeyer / The Journal sports editor

With Midnight Madness set to kick off the Webster University basketball season on Oct. 14, there is one giant question surrounding the men’s team: What is the status of star point guard Willie Trimble?
Trimble, who would be a senior this season, is not listed on the 2011-2012 men’s basketball roster, and coach Chris Bunch said he is not enrolled in any classes at Webster. As a result, Trimble won’t be eligible to play in any of the Gorloks’ pre-Christmas games.
That’s 11 regular season games Trimble is for sure going to miss, regardless of if or when he signs up for classes. Trimble still has the option of enrolling in spring classes, and if he does so in time, he’ll be eligible to play in Webster’s final 16 regular season games and in the postseason.
The ball is in Trimble’s court, and he has a difficult decision to make. Trimble can either not play at all this season and rejoin the Gorloks for the 2012-2013 season, or play only a portion of the upcoming season, albeit a very important portion.
Fifteen of Webster’s 16 conference games are scheduled in January and February, so Trimble would miss only one St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest if he does register for classes in time. That’s a big if.
Of course, those aren’t Trimble’s only two options. He could simply decide to not play basketball anymore, but that seems far-fetched, as one of the major reasons Trimble came to Webster was to play.
Trimble could also choose to transfer and play basketball on a scholarship. Trimble has certainly demonstrated he has the ability to play at a higher division. Rumors were swirling around campus that Trimble was planning on staying near his hometown in southern California to play.
But Trimble’s father, Willie Trimble Sr., squashed that rumor. I called Mr. Trimble, and he said his son will definitely complete his education at Webster. That’s good news for Gorlok basketball fans. I also attempted to get in touch will Willie Trimble, but he did not return my calls.
Last year, Willie Trimble led the Gorloks in scoring (15.2 points per game), assists (4.0 per game), steals (2.9 per game) and minutes played (30.4 per game). That’s not something coach Chris Bunch will be able to replace overnight.
Just as importantly, Trimble was Webster’s court general. He was viewed as a team leader and go-to player. In crunch time, when a play needed to be made, Trimble was typically the man for the job.
Simply put, Trimble was a playmaker. He was a catalyst on both offense and defense in leading Webster to a 20-7 overall record, a 13-3 SLIAC record, a conference tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament.
For the Gorloks to be able to duplicate that success in the 2011-2012 season, Bunch said underclassmen are going to have to step up, and that was going to be the case with or without Trimble. Webster lost three starters — Nick Jones, Drew Moore and Scott Restoff — to graduation. They could lose a fourth if Trimble doesn’t return.
The player to replace Trimble in the early goings of the season (and potentially the entire season) will likely be sophomore point guard Hollis Edwards. Edwards was terrific in his backup role last season, but he’ll have to be more of an offensive presence this year.
Each player on the team will have to chip in to fill Trimble’s void other than just Edwards. If the Gorloks can rally around not having their star player, their season may not be lost after all.

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