Korey Billbury, Bobby Word, Jabbar Singleton, Dederick Lee and Drew Wilson will not return to the ORU basketball team next season.
Billbury was suspended by Coach Scott Sutton on Feb. 25. He missed the last six games of the season, including the Summit League Tournament.
“Both parties, Korey and my staff and I, felt it would probably be best for Korey to look elsewhere,” Sutton said.
When asked if he would have brought Billbury back had he wanted to return, Sutton said, “probably not.”
“I loved my time at ORU,” Billbury said. “I played under a tremendous staff who I consider family now. I thank Coach Sutton and the rest of the coaches for molding me into the man I’m maturing to be.”
Word saw an increased role in Billbury’s absence, but still decided to leave. Word was the sixth man before starting the final six games.
“I think the only one that I was a little bit surprised about was Bobby. I think he was probably frustrated through most of this year with his role,” Sutton said. “When Korey got suspended, obviously his minutes went up, and I thought Bobby played really well. He was the only one that I was a little unsure what he was thinking.”
Singleton, a New Orleans native, played in all but one game this season. He averaged 12.4 minutes in 2014-15, but his role was limited by the emergence of transfer Aaron Young.
“I’m a family guy, and I basically wanted to be closer to home,” Singleton said. “I felt like I needed to be more involved with my family.”
Lee was expected to come in and be successful, but never had a significant role with the team.
“Sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes you can recruit a kid a lot, and see him play a lot and get him on campus, and for whatever reason, it doesn’t work,” Sutton said. “He felt like he needed to go somewhere where he could play and be a bigger part of that team.”
Wilson was suspended in December for a violation of team rules and was not reinstated during the season. Sutton said there was no chance Wilson would rejoin the team next season.
“He broke some rules, broke multiple rules,” Sutton said. “Drew is a good kid, he just made some mistakes. You have a responsibility here. You’re going to represent this program and school the right way.”
The graduation of Denell Henderson and Adrion Webber means the team will lose seven players in total.
Sutton is confident the program can replace its losses.
ORU signed four high school seniors to letters of intent in the fall, and recently received a verbal commitment from another senior. Sutton expects the new recruits to have an immediate impact on the team next season.