Every season you can always count on several transfers — junior college or Division I — to make an immediate impact in the NEC.
Even though transfer production was down as a whole last season, there still were a handful of players who provided good value to their respective teams.
- Faronte Drakeford, Central Connecticut (13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
- Scooter Gillette, Fairleigh Dickinson (118.2 ORtg, 4.4 rpg, 7.9% block rate)
- Landon Atterberry, LIU Brooklyn (10.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 56.6% 2PT)
- Amdy Fall, St. Francis Brooklyn (4.3 rpg, 10.5% block rate)
- Aaron Tate, Robert Morris (4.4 rpg)
In the two years prior to last season, the return on transfers was tremendous. Several newcomers emerged as very good, if not great, players, including Karvel Anderson, Dyami Starks, Joe O’Shea, Matthew Hunter and Sidney Sanders, Jr. This year should be no different. Given the parity in the league due to several rebuilding teams, we’d expect multiple newcomers to develop into productive contributors. After talking to several head coaches this preseason, I’m attempting to select my top impact transfers from the new group coming in.
Chris Martin, Mount St. Mary’s
As the only transfer who made a Big Apple Buckets preseason all-conference team, we’re obviously high on Martin. The reports out of Emmitsburg, MD have been glowing for the 6’0″ guard, who figures to take over for the graduated Rashad Whack. His blend of athleticism and agility will come in handy on both sides of the ball. As part of a balanced Mayhem attack, Martin may be the favorite to lead the Mountaineers in scoring thanks to his silky smooth shot. He struggled as an underclassman at Marshall, but we’re guessing an extra year under the tutelage of Jamion Christian and his staff will work wonders for the guard’s confidence.
Andrew Smeathers, Mount St. Mary’s
It isn’t easy replacing three 1,000 point scorers in the backcourt, but Christian is clearly trying to make up much of the production with transfers. We already mentioned Martin, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight the 6’6″ Smeathers (Mount St. Mary’s lists him as 6’8″ but I’ve heard that he’s much closer to 6’6″). The adjustment period is an unknown for the former Butler Bulldog, who after two injury plagued seasons found hardly any playing time even though teammate Roosevelt Jones was lost to a season-ending injury. Nevertheless, he’s a former Indiana high school basketball all-star who may thrive playing the “3” in the NEC. One final note: A mid-season transfer, Smeathers isn’t eligible to play until the Mount’s December 20th showdown versus American.
Jordan Allen, Sacred Heart
Allen is a jack of all trades. At Hofstra, the 6’6″ forward filled up the stat sheet, averaging 6.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 apg and 1.1 spg as a sophomore. His offensive game was hardly versatile, with 68% of his shots coming near the rim (the D-I average is 38%), and yet, the athletic Allen was still difficult to guard. His 145 free throw attempts are strong evidence of that. He’ll need to improve an offensive rating of just 88.4, but he’ll at least serve as a solid role player in Anthony Latina’s front court. With Cole Walton and Tevin Falzon as unknowns, Allen and De’Von Barnett give Latina a pair of really athletic swingmen that’ll make life difficult for the opposition.
Tyreek Jewell, St. Francis Brooklyn
With the graduation of sharpshooter Ben Mockford and the permanent dismissal of promising freshman Sheldon Hagigal, there remains a gaping hole at shooting guard for Glenn Braica’s contending squad. Enter 6’1″ guard Tyreek Jewell, a Division II All-American selection who averaged 25 ppg on 44.3% shooting last season. For a Terrier team that struggled to score from behind the arc (31.5% 3PT, 305th nationally), Jewell has an opportunity to desperately fill that need after hitting 39% of his three-pointers last season. He also projects as an excellent rebounder for his size, having corralled an impressive 9.4 rpg as a freshman. Glenn Braica considers Jewell to be one of the best athletes he’s ever recruited to Remsen Street.
Darius Stokes, Fairleigh Dickinson
If being a great teammate and waving a towel on the bench was an advanced metric, then Stokes would be your guy! In all seriousness though, Greg Herenda and his coaching staff fully expect the former Iowa Hawkeye to take advantage of newfound playing time. At 6’7″, Stokes profiles as Fairleigh Dickinson’s tallest player, and his athleticism, toughness, and ability to defend in the post should him a valuable asset for the Knights. He won’t average double-digits points per game, but he’ll likely have a major impact on the glass and on defense. Herenda certainly had success with his last graduate transfer (the aforementioned Gillette) and we expect no different with Stokes.
Zach Chionuma, Bryant – Chionuma won’t garner much attention before November 14, but he figures to be a key member in Tim O’Shea’s guard rotation. The Boston University transfer profiles athletically as one of the fastest players in the conference, and that athleticism should help the Bulldogs defend better on the perimeter.
Stedman Allen, Wagner – With the Seahawks losing five of their top six scorers from a season ago, there’s plenty of opportunity for a junior college transfer like Stedman Allen to succeed. The forward is grateful for the chance, but with a deep rotation of young front court pieces like Nolan Long, Greg Senat, and possibly Mike Aaman, Allen will need to rebound and defend the rim bigger than his 6’5″ size.
You can follow Ryan on Twitter @pioneer_pride