Robert Morris basketball opens their season Nov. 11 against Penn. Over the course of the next month, we’ll post about the things we’re looking forward to leading up to the season.
6. Assessing the NEC transfer list
BY CHRIS CAPPELLA
Another year in the books means another offseason of transfers. While students transfer schools all the time, the spotlight is always on the athletes. The rate of NCAA basketball transfers is second highest only to tennis.
From graduate transfers to spring transfers, ESPN has compiled a complete list of about 700 names. To save you time, we’ll show you how that affects the NEC. Here’s a list courtesy of ESPN:
Stephan Bennett (IUPUI)
Rodney Pryor (Georgetown)
Andre Frederick (Edinboro)
Joe Hugley (Baltimore City Community College)
Elijah Minnie (Eastern Michigan)
Steven Whitley (Norfolk State)
Mount St. Mary’s:
B.K. Ashe (Longwood)
Troy Henderson (JUCO) to Belmont Abbey
Chris Manning (Bowie State)
Ellis Williams (Tiffin)
St. Francis Brooklyn:
Marlon Alcindor (New Mexico Military Institute)
Jon Doss (Minnesota State Moorhead DII)
Central Connecticut State:
JJ Cratit (Missouri Southern State)
Jahlil Nails (Palm Beach State)
Evan Phoenix (Gannon)
Malik Toppin (Barton Community College)
Bringing in: Tafari Whittingham (from South Alabama)
Cane Broome (Cincinnati)
Filip Nowicki (Colorado-Mesa)
Jermaine Ukaegbu (Indian Hills Community College)
Bringing in: Kinnon LaRose (from Siena)
Myles Mann (North Georgia)
Marques Townes (Loyola, Ill.)
Xavier Harris (Le Moyne DII)
Aakim Saintil (Iona)
Aaren Edmead (North Carolina A&T)
Japhet Kadji (North Carolina A&T)
You can view the entire transfer list here. Some questions and answers:
- What does this mean for Robert Morris?
Honestly, not too many surprises here. There was little chance Pryor was coming back for a fifth season at RMU. It seemed logical, given his age and talent, he would try and pursue a professional career or transfer up. He’s at Georgetown.
Bennett is another graduate transfer who quit the team before the season started. Hugley did not play last season. Frederick, another big man, is at Edinboro. Frederick was a tease with his talent but ultimately couldn’t put it together in two years at RMU.
I think I’m most disappointed with Whitley. Yes, there were times last year where he was a walking turnover, but you could argue he was the most improved player from the beginning to the end of the season. He was a big guard with a developing skill set.
Robert Morris really needs to develop a reliable, experienced ball handler over the next few years. Maybe Jordan Lester can be that guy. Whitley seemed like he was going to have a nice career in Moon Township.
- Who’s the biggest loss?
Poor Sacred Heart lost guard Cane Broome to Cincinnati.Broome averaged 23.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists last season. He was the NEC player of the year.
It’s hard to blame him for wanting a chance in a higher conference, but it still stings.
This has been an unfortunate trend for the NEC. This year it was Broome. Last year it was Marcquise Reed (Clemson) and Matt Mobley (St. Bonaventure). Again, I can’t blame the kids for wanting their chance to play big-time college hoops. I also hope athletes remember what coaches offered them these chances in the first place. Anthony Latina offered Broome a chance to play for Sacred Heart. I wish he, and the rest of the NEC, could be rewarded for his loyalty.
But this is how college basketball rolls in 2016.
- Are there other impact transfers?
Why yes, yes there are. Mount St. Mary’s shooting guard BK Ashe surprised everyone by announcing his transfer prior to his senior season. Although his shooting numbers dipped last season, Ashe was still one of the most talented guards in the NEC.
Poor Central Connecticut State. The Blue Devils have been the bottom feeders of the NEC the past few seasons. They’ve won just nine games the last two seasons.
Last year, as noted, CCSU lost Mobley. Mobley was well on his way to becoming the best player in the NEC. This offseason, they lost Jahlil Nails. Nails wasn’t on the same level as Mobley but he did shoot 39 percent from three last season.
Defending NEC champions Fairleigh Dickinson lost forward Marques Townes. Townes was just a sophomore and dominated NEC play last season. He finished with the third-best two-point field goal percentage in conference play and 16th-best three point percentage.