Posts Tagged ‘Transfer’

Truth, tough love and the unbreakable bond between Tommy Dempsey and Jordan Reed

Monday, September 29th, 2014
Binghamton junior forward Jordan Reed and head coach Tommy Dempsey have an unbreakable bond, built on truth and tough love. Courtesy photo / Binghamton Athletics

Binghamton junior forward Jordan Reed and head coach Tommy Dempsey have an unbreakable bond, built on truth and tough love. Courtesy photo / Binghamton Athletics

Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
– Muhammad Ali

It was their darkest moment. It led to their finest hour. It nearly ripped them apart. It was where their unbreakable bond was forged.

On Jan. 15, the Binghamton Bearcats sluggishly stumbled onto the court at tiny Pritchard Gymnasium and smack into a massacre. For 40 minutes, the host Seawolves beat the bag out of the visitors. When the dust settled and final buzzer mercifully sounded, the scoreboard read Stony Brook 67, Binghamton 47. The game wasn’t even as close as its lopsided final score.

Jordan Reed, a Binghamton’s star sophomore small forward and the program’s leading scorer, rebounder and epicenter for his entire young career, spent the final 31 minutes riding the pine, benched by head coach Tommy Dempsey for selfish play and lackluster effort.

When the Bearcats next took the floor five days later in Albany, Reed wasn’t on the court, the sidelines, or even within the same area code. He was sitting back in Binghamton, in his dorm room, alone, on his birthday, left behind by his team.

“It was a really rocky time in my life, it was my birthday, and we weren’t doing to well,” Reed reflected during a recent interview. “I was young and dumb as they say.”

Most outsiders assumed Reed’s relationship with his coach irrevocably damaged and that the sophomore would follow the path of least resistance and take the easy way out, like many young players, and transfer.

“I think a lot of kids now, when something doesn’t go their way, the first thing they do is run,” said Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell during a recent interview on what has been dubbed an “epidemic” of transfers.

Eight months later, Reed still proudly sports the Bearcats’ jersey, is still the epicenter of the program and is now a Player of the Year candidate. His bond with his coach, which looked beyond repair, is now unbreakable. Both point to the “tough love” lessons imparted from coach to player for the “real” relationship they enjoy today.

“He’s a guy you look up to — I wouldn’t say a father because I have a father, but he is definitely a father figure,” said Reed.

“I’ve been very hard on him, but we have a really good relationship, contrary to what many would thing. It’s kind of like with your own son, you’re hard on them so they can be the best player they can be.

“I respect the heck out of the kid,” said Dempsey, palpable pride in his voice. “I think the fact that he stayed has shown me a lot, in this day and age, about his DNA, and his commitment to our program here.”

Both Reed and Dempsey point to a blunt and at times emotional closed-door meeting between the two, along with Reed’s parents, Curtis and Sonya, following the Stony Brook debacle and preceding his suspension for the Albany game, as the turning point in Reed’s career and his relationship with his coach.

“I brought him in and I told him and his parents if he decides he doesn’t want to be here, he’ll have 100 phone calls from people and he will have many, many options. I needed him to know that if he does want to be here, that these are my expectations from this point forward, and if he doesn’t want to be here, I’ll sign the paperwork tomorrow,” said Dempsey.

“It was at the point where we were either going to make up or break up, where things could have either gone left or right, and we made up. I could tell he really genuinely cared about me beyond being a player as far as he cared about me as a person and a man,” said Reed. (more…)

State of Terrier nation: BU in tough spot following loss of key players

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
BU sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. is turning his back on the BU program. OBW Photo / Andrew Hubbard

BU sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. is turning his back on the BU program. OBW Photo / Andrew Hubbard

By Chris Dela Rosa

For a team that has been heading in the right direction since the summer of 2012, the breaking news that three Boston University men’s basketball veterans would be transferring before the 2014-15 has left a dark cloud hanging over the long stretch of campus that runs down Commonwealth Avenue.

After a barrage of tweets, it was confirmed that sophomore guard Maurice Watson Jr., the team’s best player and the epicenter of the Terriers’ offense, would be departing to chase the dream to play basketball at the highest level of college hoops (whether it is his dream or his father’s remains the subject of debate).

Also leaving the team is junior forward Malik Thomas, and junior James Kennedy.

“Those guys chose to leave and we support them. I think the guys on the team support them and we wish them the best,” said Jones on Wednesday night.

Looking ahead, in the wake of Watson’s departure, coupled with the graduation of seniors D.J. Irving, Dom Morris and Travis Robinson, gaping hole is left in the BU basketball program as a whole.

For the last two seasons, the focal point for the basketball team has been Watson, with the entire BU offense predicated on the dynamic point guard’s ability to get into the lane off the dribble, and either finish acrobatically around the rim, or dish the rock to an open teammate. No one finished off more of Watson’s dishes than Irving, a dynamic point guard and penetrator in his own right, and Morris, a bruising bull around the rim. Robinson’s ability to stretch the floor by knocking down open threes, and his defensive presence on the wing, were also key factors for the Terriers.

With the early departures of Watson and Thomas, combined with the graduation of Irving, Morris and Robinson, the Terriers lose more than 67 percent of their scoring, 84 percent of their assists and 58 percent of their rebounds. (more…)

OBW America East preseason predictions: #8 Maine

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Projected Starting Lineup:
G – Xavier Pollard, Jr., 6’3” 190
G – Zarko Valjarevic, Jr., 6’4” 210
G/F – Garret Beal, Fr., 6’5” 200
F – Dimitry Akanda-Coronel, R-Fr., 6’4” 190
F – Till Gloger, Soph. 6’8” 220


Zarko Valjarevic (second from left) should see plenty of touches for the Black Bears. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

Juniors Zarko Valjarevic (left) and Xavier Pollard (bottom) are the only returning Black Bears to play major minutes at the Division I level. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

For years, behind closed doors, Maine head coach Ted Woodward has blamed a lack of talent for the Black Bears lack of success.

At least now the reality will finally match the rhetoric.

Maine isn’t going to out-talent anyone outside of Lowell this year. That is a monumental problem for the Black Bears. For virtually all of Woodward’s time at the helm, the only way the program has won games is by simply being more physically gifted than their opponents. Maine has not been a team that has out-thought, out-worked, out-hustled, out-hearted, or out-executed its opponents.

And now, to paraphrase Rick Pitino, Alasdair Fraser and Justin Edwards aren’t walking through that door.

The Black Bears, of course, lost both Fraser, a 6’7” bruising-bull of strength and power and Edwards, a 6’3” high-flying pogo stick to early departures. Fraser turned pro while Edwards transferred to Kansas State. In addition to losing arguably the league’s best low post player and the league’s best athlete and most explosive player, Maine also lost 6’6” small forward Jon Mesghna, the team’s only efficient three-point shooter, to transfer.

In addition, 6’8” stretch-four Killian Kato, who would have been a junior, and incoming JUCO and one-time UAB forward Herb Harrison are also no longer listed on the Black Bears roster. Kato is reportedly serving an academic suspension and will be lost for at least half the year.

All-in-all, it’s an outright exodus in Orono.

Couple in the graduation of shot-blocking forward Mike Allison, the Black Bears’ cupboard is completely bare. Maine returns no seniors and just two players on their entire roster – juniors Xavier Pollard and Zarko Valjarevic — who have played major minutes at the Division I level. (more…)

Edwards Out; Exodus Beginning?

Thursday, March 28th, 2013
Maine guard Justin Edwards flies above the fray and skies past Northeastern forward Reggie Spencer (44) for two of his career-high 30 points Wednesday night. Edwards powered the Black Bears to a 76-73 win.

Maine guard Justin Edwards flies above the fray and skies past Northeastern forward Reggie Spencer (44) for two of his career-high 30 points Wednesday night. Edwards powered the Black Bears to a 76-73 win.

(ORONO, Maine) – The America East’s top scorer, and arguably the league’s most dynamic, athletic and physically gifted player is taking his talents elsewhere: University of Maine sophomore scoring-machine Justin Edwards is leaving the Black Bears.

In a press release published earlier today, the University of Maine announced that Edwards would transfer from the school at the end of the semester, confirming rumors that had swirled for several days.

“Justin is a fine young man and we thank him for his hard work and accomplishments in our program. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors,” said Maine head coach Ted Woodward in a prepared statement.

A 6’2” guard with jaw-dropping athleticism, Edwards averaged 16.7 point per game to tie for the league-lead in scoring with Binghamton freshman Jordan Reed. Edwards averaged 5.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and a 1.9 steals (which led the league) and 32.7 minutes per game while being named to the America East Second Team All-Conference as voted on by the coaches (he was selected to the OBW Third-Team).

As a freshman, Edwards averaged 13.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game, was named to the All-Rookie Team and finished as the runner-up to then Vermont guard Four McGlynn for league Rookie of the Year Honors.

Edwards played elbows above the rim and reigned as the league’s best dunker – regularly rattling the back-board in games with dunk contest-worthy slams, including multiple 180-degree reverse jams on of alley-oops. (more…)

Life, Death, and the Pursuit of Basketball: How Vermont’s Trey Blue Came to Find Peace in the Green Mountains

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Trey Blue’s long and winding basketball odyssey has been a long and winding road, wrought with obstacles and tragedy, but he has finally found peace as a fifth-year senior at Vermont (Photo by Sam Perkins).

Special Submission to One Bid Wonders

By: Kyle Barry

If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going.
– Winston Churchill

It wasn’t the senior day he had imagined (or could have ever predicted), but there he was, standing at center court, holding his framed Vermont jersey in one hand and his infant son in the other, posing for pictures while the Patrick Gym crowd gave him a standing ovation. The crowd was the usual greying bunch—members of the Burlington community who, while undyingly supportive, are rarely raucous, and who usually prefer to sit on Patrick Gym’s unforgiving wooden roll-out bleachers rather than stand and cheer for any length of time. But this was UVM’s annual celebration of its senior class, and, before tip-off against visiting Hartford, it was Trey Blue’s turn to be honored.

It was a long time coming.

For basketball purposes, Horace “Trey” Blue III is a one-year transfer and fifth-year senior, though technically he’s neither—he isn’t a “senior,” he’s a graduate student, and he didn’t “transfer,” he graduated from Illinois State and then enrolled, this past fall, at UVM. Trey took a rather unorthodox route to campus, first spending a year at Fordham University in the Bronx before transferring to Illinois State, where, after paying his own tuition during his transfer year, he played for two seasons and obtained his undergraduate degree. He also has an extraordinary basketball pedigree, having come of age within the City of Chicago’s ocean-deep talent pool of future NBA draft picks and college superstars. (By the time he was twelve-years-old, Trey was traveling around the country playing AAU basketball alongside future NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose. For four years, Trey and Rose played in the same backcourt, with Rose drawing defenders and feeding Trey for open jump shots, and Trey lobbing alley-oop passes to Rose.)

In his single season at Vermont, Trey has been a crucial offensive threat on a team that has twenty-one victories and is one win away from the NCAA Tournament. He’s played in all thirty-one games, scoring 8.5 points per contest, answering every call – either as energy off the bench, a glue guy holding the team together, or a shooter in the starting lineup.

In the last ten games (including two in the conference tournament), Trey started while shooting guard Candon Rusin played reduced minutes with a toe injury. During that stretch, Trey increased his scoring output to over ten points a game, and emerged as a more versatile and aggressive combo-guard—a player who will not only hit open shots but who can dependably handle the ball and attack the rim. In a non-conference game against Canisius, for example, he scored seventeen points on 6-9 shooting (2-4 from three), and picked up four assists working adroitly with freshman forward Ethan O’Day on the pick-and-roll. And late in the regular season finale against Hartford, Trey asserted himself in crunch time, getting to the rim off a quick crossover dribble and setting up a tip-in that tied the game with thirty-four seconds to play (the Cats would lose on a buzzer beater).

For the fans at Patrick Gym, it was this single season of achievement for which they stood and applauded on senior day. But for Trey the moment was about much more; it was the culmination of all he had been through, both good and bad, on his long journey from feted, sure-thing recruit to father and impact college player—and it could hardly have come at a more symbolically significant time.

One week earlier, Trey’s son Carter had turned one year-old. Two weeks before that, and after years of delay, the man who brutally murdered Carter’s aunt and baby cousin was convicted, finally, of two counts of first degree murder.
These milestones, inextricably intertwined with Trey’s trajectory as a college basketball player, reminded Trey of how fragile youthful hoop dreams can be (pedigree be damned), and how grateful he was to be there, in that moment, standing between those roll-out bleachers and waving to the standing Vermont crowd. (more…)

Why Can’t We Get Players Like That? Former Maine Black Bear Murphy Burnatowski is lighting it up at Colgate.

Monday, November 12th, 2012

In his first two games at Colgate, Maine cast-off Murphy Burnatowski has lit up high-majors Illinois and Marquette for 23 and 24 points, respectively, while averaging 2 blocks per game.

“Why can’t we get players like that?”

In my neck of the woods, it’s a well-trod saying embedded in the lexicon of Boston Red Sox fans, used to bemoan players the ball club cast-off, only to see them emerge as stars with another organization. Adding insult to injury, these players often posses critical traits, qualities, and abilities, whose glaring absence from the current roster play a direct role in the ineptitude of the home town team.

From Jeff Bagwell, to Brady Anderson, Matt Stairs, Curt Schilling (before he was re-acquired a decade later), and host of others in between, the phrase has been used in biting, sarcastic tones, by bitter ‘Sox fans to condemn the club’s front office, and the downward trajectory of the Olde Towne Team.

Or, in my case as a born-and-bread Bostonian who is also a lifelong, die-hard, Red Sox-Hater, it’s a phrase used to needle one’s friends mercilessly to the point of going postal.

After a new era of front office incompetence, the phrase has been dusted off this season in reference to Josh Reddick, Marco Scutaro and David Murphy – just to name a few.

I couldn’t help but think of the phrase when, flipping through the statistics for the Patriot League, I saw the name Murphy Burnatowski atop the conference scoring leaders, averaging 23.5 points per game for Colgate after lighting up high-majors Illinois and Marquette.

Burnatowski, of course, was a highly-touted freshman who earned league All-Rookie honors for the Maine Black Bears during the 2009-2010 season. A 6’7” 230 pound wing who could shoot it from behind the arc, throw people around in the post, defend the one through five positions, and finish with a big dunk in traffic. (more…)

Former Defensive Player of the Year Brendan Bald leaves Catamounts

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

(Burlington, VT) – Vermont junior wing Brendan Bald, the 2011 America East Defensive Player of the Year, has left the Catamounts basketball team, but will stay in school to complete his degree.

“Brendan has decided not to play basketball his senior year and to focus on his academics,” said Vermont head coach John Becker in a press release earlier today. “He is not transferring and will stay at UVM his senior year. I want to thank Brendan for all his hard work and contributions to the men’s basketball program. He will always be a Catamount and I wish him the best in the future.”

“I have decided not to play basketball my senior year so that I can focus my time on my academics,” said Bald in a statement released by the Catamounts. “I plan on graduating a semester early and studying for the LSAT’s this fall. It is my hope to enter law school and pursue a career in law. I am thankful for my three years of being a member of the UVM basketball team and I thank the coaches, fans, and alumni for their support. I have created memories I will never forget. It is in my best interest to step away from the game of basketball and I wish the team and the coaches nothing but the best in the future.”

Bald enjoyed a breakout season as sophomore during the 2010-2011 season, averaging 11.3 points in 28.2 minutes per game, shooting an eye-popping 41 percent from behind the arc while being named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, as well as earning a place on the All-Defensive and All-Conference Third teams.

Despite being named a captain last season, Bald’s game regressed significantly, as the junior’s minutes and production dropped dramatically. Bald’s averages dipped to 7.6 points and 23.9 minutes per game, and his three-point percentage fell to 26.4 percent.

Beyond sheer numbers, Bald seemed to lose his energy and edge on the court; shying away from contact on the offensive end while playing without his usual aggression on the defensive end.

Behind closed doors, the word was that Bald had lost his love of the game. According to several sources, Bald informed the coaching staff on Wednesday of is decision to leave the team and end his playing career – it was no a mutual decision, but Bald’s alone. However, the coaching staff was not surprised.

The Catamounts now have an open scholarship to use. While there is already speculation about landing a high-impact transfer, the coaching staff is still deciding which direction they will head.

Mike Terry Jr., to transfer from Terriers

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

(Boston, MA) – Multiple team sources have confirmed that sophomore guard Mike Terry Jr. has left the Boston University Terriers and will look to transfer at the end of the school year.

Terry, a sophomore guard from Philadelphia, played in 28 games during the past season, averaging 1.6 points in nine minutes per game.

Generously listed at six-feet, Terry played in 57 games during his two-year career on Comm. Ave., was a defensive-minded guard who was viewed by coaches and teammates a terrific practice player and top-flight teammate who brought tremendous energy every day.

Terry was not forced out the door, and, according to multiple sources, would have been welcomed back with open-arms by the current coaching staff.

However, the writing was on the wall that Terry’s role moving forward would have been of little more than a practice player, and the word is that he is looking to transfer where he will see an increased role on the court (likely to a D2 or D3).

Terry is the second member of former Terriers head coach Pat Chambers’ first full-recruiting class to leave BU, joining center Mat Piotrowski on the transfer list.

The Terriers now have two open scholarships to fill, and are reportedly looking to land at least one impact transfer.

Chandler Thomas leaves UMBC

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

(Baltimore, MD) – Freshman forward Chandler Thomas has left the University of Maryland-Baltimore County basketball team and plans to transfer elsewhere, as confirmed by multiple sources.

Thomas, a 6’6” forward from Indianapolis, Indiana, averaged 6 points and 3.4 rebounds in a little over 17 minutes per game during his first season of college ball.

Thomas showed brief flashes of brilliance, and solid upside as the kind of high-energy undersized four-man that plays well in the America East. In just the fourth game of his career, Thomas scored 23 points on 8-12 shooting against VMI, and also added 19 points against America East rival Albany on February first.

But Thomas’ playing time became increasingly sporadic as the season wore on; and he seemed to spend more and more time in head coach Randy Monroe’s doghouse, coinciding with a sharp drop-off in confidence on the low blocks and increasingly tentative play in the post.

There is no word on Thomas’ transfer destination (although it would seem likely that he would head go the “D2” route), but what is certain is that he is getting the heck out of dodge.

Outside of Thomas, the rest UMBC’s returning roster will be back in uniform next year. Thomas’ scholarship will be going to walk-on guard Ryan Cook, who finished second on the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game despite playing in his first season at the Division I level.

McKeaney leaves Vermont

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

(Burlington, VT) – Vermont head coach John Becker has confirmed that sophomore forward Ryan McKeaney will not return to the team next season.

“We wish Ryan the best and appreciate the effort he gave us over the last two years,” said Becker.

The 6’9” 210 pound forward played in only 16 games as a freshmen, and saw his playing time decrease as a sophomore, seeing action in only 10 games. With talented front court players already on campus, and incoming top-end recruit Ethan O’Day arriving in the fall, McKeaney did not look to figure into the Catamounts future plans other than as a practice player.

In what would prove to be his final game, the Catamounts 77-58 loss to North Carolina in the NCAA tournament, McKeaney connected on a jumper in the games waning moments.

A native of Marlton, New Jersey, McKeaney will reportedly look to transfer closer to home.

Vermont will likely use McKeaney’s scholarship on walk-on forward Clancy Rugg. Rugg averaged 5 points an 3.1 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game, while establishing himself as valuable energy-player in the Vermont rotation.