I said it before, and now it’s happening. This site will move to a new domain. Enjoy the new site.
This recruiting season just keeps getting better and better for UMBC. The Hoop Group has reported today that 6’8″ forward Will Wise has given a verbal to play for the Retrievers next season. Hoop Group’s Alex Kline wrote a great story about his history, which mirrors Baltimore Ravens’ tackle Michael Oher, of the movie The Blind Side. After spending his first two years in Abington Friends School in the Philadelphia area, he went to a prep school for his junior year of high school at The Hun School in Princeton, NJ. This is where he got noticed by scouts from New Hampshire, Fordham, Virginia Military Institute, Manhattan, Western Kentucky, Colorado State and Providence. ESPN’s take on him says that while he has a great mid-range jumper, something that UMBC lacked since the graduation of Darryl Proctor, the two-star prospect (same rating as Jay Greene) needs to improve on his rebounding in his senior year of high school.
My guess now is that Ryan Cook will not be on scholarship, unless I have miscounted.
I like playing this game, because you get to look back on yourself and laugh. Like last year; when I predicted that it would have been New Hampshire’s year. Wow, was I way off on that! Anyway, while it’s still the preseason, as college kids are donning their costumes for Halloween, and coaches are doing their interviews trying to drum up interest, fans and media around the country are making random predictions on how their team is going to run the table and go to the Final Four. My predictions are after the jump.
Those who attended Midnight Madness this past weekend were introduced to a 6’2″ player that ran away with the dunk contest, finishing ahead of freshman Matt Conway. So who is this guy?
Laurel native Ryan Cook was a Division 2 walk-on at Chestnut Hill College in suburban Philadelphia. As a freshman in 2008-2009, Cook started in 16 games and was the second leading scorer for the Griffins with 11.8 points per game, and had 42 steals during that season. As a sophomore, Cook upped those numbers to 13.7 ppg, 51 steals, and a nice little D1 scholarship. Due to transfer rules, Cook will not be eligible to play until next season.
This will bring next year’s total to thirteen players, the first time UMBC has had the maximum number of scholarship players used since the 2008-2009 season.
So what really sucks about not having your computer for nearly a month is that you get cut off from the outside world sometimes. But thankfully, that stage in my computer’s life is over.
During the time my motherboard and power-switch failed at the same time, plenty of stories took place. Ever since Laurence Jolicoeur joined the squad, giving added skill for UMBC’s biggest weakness from last season, rebounding, there’s been chatter about UMBC climbing the ranks in the conference. However, the coaches did not agree in Thursday’s AE Media Day, unanimously giving UMBC their last-place vote.
Just like the Conference Preview stated, however, UMBC will be relying on the seniors to climb out of their funk from one year ago, and as I’ve stated already, the biggest wild card will be what condition will Justin Fry return to. The grad student spend his senior year as a medical redshirt, and like Randy Monroe stated, “Last year, just sitting out watching what the team had to go through, he had a chance to see the game from a different perspective.” Will he play erratic from the year off, or will he be the most mature player on the court? The other big question is the shooting ability of sophomore Brian Neller. The guard shot 1.000 in high school, mostly from beyond the arc. But once he moved up to college and that arc went back six inches, his shooting in his freshman year went down to .300. The big question around Neller will be how much has he improved during the offseason. His speed on the court was his biggest downfall; if he’s rushed when he shoots, he’s off, but if he has all the time in the world to shoot, he banks it.
With Midnight Madness going on as this post is being typed up, the America East has announced their season schedule (it only came out right before preseason), with UMBC opening up at home against Stony Brook on Sunday, Jan. 2 and ending at home against Albany. Pretty interesting that there’s such a gap between the regular season finale and the post-season. It’s possible that I could attend the conference opener (as most readers know, I now live on the west coast), however, I do plan on being at the non-conference closer against Niagara.
In other news, stay tuned over the next several weeks, there will be some major changes to this blog.
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ native Jordan Wejnert, currently due to begin playing post-grad prep-ball for Worcester Academy in Massachusetts, has accepted a scholarship to play for the Retrievers next season, according to the Ashbury Park Press. The 6’5″ guard averaged 18.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.7 steals per game in his senior season at Point Beach High, the only school year he attended there. During his first three years of high school, he attended Ramsey High in North Jersey, where he was the only player carrying a low-winning squad. However, since transferring, he has garnered Third Team New Jersey All-Group 1 from New Jersey Local News, as well offers from New Hampshire, Cornell, NJIT and several D2 schools.
UMBC has rounded up their twelfth player for the year, and just in time. Both the UMBC Sports Blog and the Athletic Department have reported that graduate student Laurence Joliceour was given an added year of eligibility by the NCAA. Joliceour, who played three years for the Manhattan Jaspers of the MAAC, was injured during his freshman year of 2006-2007. Upon graduation from Manhattan last school year, Joliceour enrolled in graduate school at UMBC. This will be the second player this year who is playing his graduate-ball for UMBC after three years at another school; the other player being Travis King, who graduated from George Washington; and he will also be the third overall graduate player for the squad. Justin Fry took a medical redshirt last season after suffering an MCL tear near the end of the 2008-2009 season.
The 6’9″ forward averaged 4.6 points in 68 games he played for the Jaspers. He also scored in the double figures in 12 games. Even though those stats are not as impressive, given the inexperience of last year’s squad, this will certainly help. Where Joliceour will contribute to most is at the free throw line. One of the bones of contention last season, the Retrievers averaged .692 from the stripe, including key misses late at home against New Hampshire. During his Jasper tenure, Joliceour shot for .732.