The optimist in me sees JaQuan Lyle’s recent departure from the Ohio State men’s basketball program as a positive for the Buckeyes. The pessimist sees the junior-to-be guard’s exit as a negative.

The pessimist is leading Mr. Sunshine by six lengths at the quarter pole.

To reset: Lyle quit the team April 11. We only know this because an Ohio State spokesman revealed the information on Saturday — 32 days after the fact — and only after news broke that Lyle was arrested early Friday morning in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana, and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief to a vehicle. Apparently, Ohio State figured at some point before next season a bottle would wash up on the banks of the Olentangy containing a note for the media and fans saying Lyle no longer was affiliated with the Buckeyes.

The optimist’s case has some merit. Lyle showed flashes of incandescence his first two seasons, but soft defense, inconsistent offense and a fitful attitude also made him a liability. Add to those negatives a line of thinking that losing Lyle and senior Marc Loving actually makes the Buckeyes better — the pair was toxic — and it is no stretch to conclude that Ohio State will benefit from addition by subtraction.

The pessimist’s case is stronger. As he correctly points out, the optimist’s math is all wrong. Addition by subtraction only works when the solution results in a net positive. Subtract Lyle and Loving from an Ohio State roster already light on talent and the Buckeyes are toying with a negative number.

Lyle was the final remaining member of a five-player recruiting class that was ranked No. 5 nationally. The other four players left by the end of their freshman seasons. Lyle also is the third player to leave the program this offseason, adding fuel to what increasingly can be viewed as a dumpster fire of a program. Redshirt junior Trevor Thompson declared for the NBA draft and signed with an agent. Backup center David Bell transferred to Jacksonville to be closer to his pregnant girlfriend.

Shooting guard Kam Williams also could soon bid adieu to Ohio State. The fifth-year senior has declared for the draft but has not hired an agent, meaning he has until May 24 to withdraw his name from the draft. If Williams leaves, the Buckeyes will be left with only two scholarship guards on the roster: C.J. Jackson and incoming freshman Braxton Beverly.

That is a bad look, no matter how Ohio State spins it. Players transfer all the time. Players often leave for personal reasons. But the sheer volume of departures from the OSU program the past two seasons is alarming, and not only because it makes one wonder what is going on inside the program. The Buckeyes need bodies, preferably ones capable of knocking down outside shots. Lyle averaged 11.4 points per game last season and shot a team-best 40.7 percent from three-point range. If Williams leaves … gulp.

Whispers are on the wind. Are they accurate? Who knows, but they are plausible. They sound like this: Ohio State coach Thad Matta is finished with all the ox manure that must be endured by college coaches these days, including an AAU system that has gone off the rails — think pay-to-play in reverse — and impatient and entitled athletes who threaten to transfer when extra minutes do not materialize. Matta may not be ready to walk away from coaching, but might he be ready to walk away from coaching players with crappy attitudes? Give him seven hard-working players, even if a few of them are walk-ons, and let him mold them into a team instead of a collection of individuals.

It sounds almost romantic, but the pessimist is more pragmatic. The Buckeyes have missed the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons. Their early 2017-18 schedule is rigorous and the cupboard is … gulp.