Well folks….that didn’t go as planned.
The Colonials had their worst season since 2003 when they went just 9-13. It’s the first time they’ve finished below .500 since 2005. If you’ve followed along, then you already know all this.
As the final buzzer sounded on the season last week in Staten Island, it was almost a sigh of relief. “Thank God this is over,” was a thought that crossed my mind. I hate that way of thinking, but I couldn’t help it. Injuries, suspensions, transfers and a whole bunch of fat L’s.
Now that’s all in the rearview mirror.
— RMU Men’s Basketball (@RMUMBasketball) May 18, 2015
As you can see above, coming into this season this was one of the best mid-major programs in college basketball. Dominance. So now we face the most important question that this program has faced in a longgggggg time. Was this season simply a bump in the road, or are we headed back to the pack? Can RMU regain their dominance? Was this simply a rebuilding year?
The good news for Colonial fans –if there is any from a disappointing campaign– is that Andy Toole should remain in charge, and I would
bet he has a hunger like no time before in his young coaching career.
You see, I have never talked with ANYONE as competitive as Toole in my life. And after getting kicked down this year, he’ll do everything he can this offseason to get things straightened out. The guy simply hates losing more than anything.
As the offseason begins, let’s take a look at what should return, what is loss, and what potential pieces will be added before RMU starts their summer preparation.
Let’s begin with what is lost.
We know Elijah Minnie has left the team and will not be back. You can read up on his future over at Colonials Corner if interested. While this is a loss, RMU played the last third of the season without Minnie and seemed to adjust well to it. Toole also had plenty of time to adjust the recruiting board.
The other loss –senior Rodney Pryor– will be a tough hole to fill. Pryor didn’t have near as good a season as his junior campaign, but was easily the teams best offensive weapon, played great D on the wing, and was the team’s best rebounder. Rodney scored over 1000 points in just two years at RMU. He led the Colonials to an NEC title last year, and was their best player in the NCAA tournament. I want to thank Rodney for an excellent two years and wish him luck at the next level.
That’s it. RMU returns everyone else.
Kavon Stewart and Billy Giles will be back as seniors. Andre Frederick will be a junior. Jordan Lester, Steven Whitley, Isaiah Still and Matty McConnell will all be back as sophomores and all four gained a ton of valuable experience this season. They were all tossed into the fire and that should benefit them moving forward.
The roster will go from inexperienced to very experienced, something that should really help RMU in tight games and on the road. This season –especially early on– the inexperience cost the team wins. Hopefully that will not be the case moving forward.
Now let’s get to the good stuff. The additions.
It all starts with one man. The Ox.
Aaron Tate will receive a medical redshirt after missing practically the whole season with a leg injury. He is doing well and practiced for much of the time at the end of the season. He should be 100 percent with some fresh legs by the time the 16/17 campaign tips off.
Remember, Tate was the team MVP in 14/15 and was easily the best rebounder, interior defender, and was the glue that kept that championship together. His return can’t be valued by a box score. Toole will relish having the senior back on the court.
Next up, the Colonials bring in a talented JuCo recruit in Lorenzen Wright Jr. He will have two years of eligibility left. We will have an in depth look at the recruiting class here soon as it is finalized, but Wright has good range, great size at 6-3 and will look to be the next JuCo impact player to come to RMU.
Toole has struck gold this route and will look to continue that success. Remember RMU grabbed Karvel Anderson, Rodney Pryor, Aaron Tate, and Billy Giles from a JuCo school just to name a few. He should be an impact player from the time he steps onto campus.
The incoming freshmen class looks awesome. Toole is a great recruiter and this season’s class is on par with that.
David Cole and Braden Burke will bring a ton of size and skill to the frontline and Clive Allen is a super athletic guard from Brooklyn who can really attack the rim and make open shots (again, a ton more on this group in the coming days).
RMU has one more spot open should Andy Toole choose to use it.
The foundation is there for a quick turnaround.
CtC will have much more on where things stand and the class coming in as the offseason moves along, as well as recruiting updates, schedule updates and any (hopefully none!!) news on transfers.