Photo from Dyke's Facebook page
MANILA, Philippines – Arguably the most talked-about recruit this offseason in Philippines college basketball, former NU Bullpup Mark Dyke, is once again a topic of discussion.
Dyke was reportedly spotted practicing with the Green Archers last week, and a source told Rappler that Dyke has indeed decided to return to the university.
But when reached for comment on the situation, Green Archers head coach Juno Sauler refuted the development, simply saying via text message, “No, he hasn’t.”
NU Bulldogs head coach Eric Altamirano said he wasn't sure if Dyke had returned to La Salle when Rappler reached out to him on Wednesday, July 15, but did confirm that the 17-year-old, 6-foot-2 forward is no longer practicing with the Bulldogs.
“He practiced with us for almost two weeks, but stopped after,” said Altamirano, whose team just returned from Perth, Australia for training in preparation of the upcoming UAAP men’s basketball season, where they will be the defending champions.
Rappler reached out to Dyke via text message on Friday, July 10, for confirmation, but he did not respond.
A day before on July 9, another La Salle recruit, Jollo Go, posted a now-deleted image on Instagram of him with other recruits Lorenzo Navarro, Andrei Caracut, and Dyke. However, it’s unclear if the photo was taken on the same day or if it was an old image posted later.
“We saw it, but we don’t know if it’s an old picture or a new one,” said Altamirano.
It’s uncertain what drove Dyke to move to La Salle in the first place - he just told Rappler that he had committed to the university and began staying on campus.
When Altamirano stated weeks ago that Dyke was returning to NU, he said that the student-athlete told NU management he “just felt that he wanted to come back.”
“Nag apologize naman siya (he apologized anyway),” also said Altamirano, presumably referring to the circumstances surrounding Dyke’s first choice of leaving NU for DLSU.
“He was man enough to admit yung mistakes niya. Sabi ko lang, syempre, iba na yung situation ngayon. He has to fight for his spot. No assurance. He’s been practicing naman with us na. Medyo naiwan lang siya nang iba.”
Altamirano respectfully declined to give comment if Dyke’s initial departure from NU left both sides in rocky terms.
Some observers of the situation have thought it’s possible that Dyke’s fear of sitting out a season or two due to the UAAP residency rule made him decide to return to NU after initially committing to La Salle.
Reports indicate that Dyke was unable to secure a release from NU - something that he would have needed to be able to play for the Green Archers right away.
But around the same time Dyke returned to NU, it was announced by Senator Pia Cayetano that her Senate Bill No. 2226 had been ratified by congress, which means school athletic associations in the Philippines will be unable to impose residency policies on transferring high school athletes.
However, if it is true that Dyke had enrolled in National University - as confirmed by the school’s athletic office in this report by Tiebreaker Times - then Dyke will still have to sit out a season if he does go back to La Salle, since Cayetano’s bill states that transferring college students will still be required to do a year of residency.
When asked if NU would welcome Dyke back in the event he decides he wants to return again, Altamirano told Rappler that decision is in management’s hands.
“It’s not my call anymore; it’s management’s. At this point, nasa hands na nang management,” said Altamirano.
Dyke averaged 13.4 points and 14.5 rebounds a game in his senior season with the NU Bullpups. He was named to the Mythical 5 team and led his club to the finals, where they fell to the Ateneo Blue Eaglets.