Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a talented player is leaving the NEC.
According to Ryan Peter of NYC Buckets, Mount St. Mary’s guard BK Ashe is transferring.
Ashe, about to enter his senior year, led the Mountaineers in scoring at 13.8 points per game last season. He shot 40 percent from the floor and 30 percent from three. He was a third team all-NEC player this year.
It’s not like Ashe is coming off a career year (in fact, this was a career low in efficiency) but he was still an extremely talented guard who could handle the ball, score and take over a game in the blink of an eye.
Ashe can continue to join the list of talented guards to leave the NEC. Earlier in the month, defending NEC player of the year Cane Broome announced he was leaving Sacred Heart with two years of eligibility remaining. Both Broome and Ashe led their teams in scoring last season.
We can make this even more painful.
Last year, Robert Morris lost NEC rookie of the year Marcquise Reed to Clemson. He averaged 15.1 points per game. Central Connecticut State guard Matt Mobley, who averaged 17.2 points per game, transferred to St. Bonaventure
LIU-Brooklyn point guard Elvar Fridriksson, who was third on the team in scoring his freshman year, transferred to Division II Barry College. Even FDU lost Matt McDonald (Penn) and Xavier Harris before putting on a surprise run to the NEC championship.
Unfortunately, this is just the nature of the beast for a low-major basketball conference and college athletics in general. About 40 percent of student-athletes will transfer by the end of their sophomore season. Even with rules forcing players to sit out a year, most of the guys listed transferred up.
And that stinks for the NEC. This conference, as you can see, has provided some big time talent at the guard position. Reed is going to play a factor on a borderline NCAA team next year. Broome and Mobley are good enough to do the same thing. In fact, I’d be shocked if Broome doesn’t end up at a power-5 conference.
That’s still problematic for the conference. In order to get off the 16 line in the NCAA tournament, some of these big timers have to stick around. In a way, Robert Morris has gotten lucky over the years that Karvel Anderson and Rodney Pryor were JUCO transfers with only two years of eligibility.
When it comes to some of the great players RMU had in the past, like Anderson or Velton Jones, the thing that sticks out about them, at least for me, is their fierce loyalty to the school. I don’t ever remember hearing Velton Jones transfer rumors. Even though he was plenty good enough to play in the Big East, he stayed. It’s not like I can fault the players listed above for leaving, but there are no guarantees at that level, especially when it comes to playing time.
Staying at an NEC school, with that level of individual talent, is a near-guarantee that you’ll be competing for a spot in the NCAA tournament every year. Those players would have been the building blocks for something special, just like how Jones was for Robert Morris.
That’s not the world we live in. I get that. But I’m sure going to miss seeing these guys leave a league where they are needed.