By Bob DiCesare
Antoine Mason's announcement that he'll play his final season at Auburn is being portrayed nationally as a quality catch for new Tigers coach Bruce Pearl. Whether that proves true depends on if Mason, a 6-foot-3 guard with one season of eligibility remaining, makes a seamless transition from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, ranked No. 16 in the RPIs last season, to the SEC, ranked No. 7.
Mason averaged 25.6 points for Niagara last season, and that makes him the top returning scorer in the country. He pretty much had free reign as the Purple Eagles went young after coach Joe Miahlich left for Hofstra and three significant players transferred out. New coach Chris Casey gave him mega-minutes and rode the horse -- for better or worse. There weren't many other options at the offensive end.
Will Auburn grant Mason the same kind of freedom? And will his physical approach to offense remain effective against taller, stronger guards in the SEC?
Mason has always craved a challenge, whether it was coming back from the injury that ended his true freshman season or trying to carry his young teammates in the post-Mihalich upheaval. But despite his warrior-like attitude and his undeniable grittiness it's interesting that coaches left him off the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conferene first team after last season, going with five players instead of six even though Mason had been part of a six-man first team the season before.
Was that a commentary on his style? Does the demotion mean the coaches perceived his approach at exceedingly me-first? Maybe so. But there's no denying his offensive gifts.
That aside, Mason's departure was the best thing for Niagara moving forward. Casey can now build a program without deferring to one player. He can develop balance within the offense, something that wasn't going to happen so long as Mason was in uniform. This is a transfer situation that should prove best for all involved.
By Rodney McKissic
Canisius gained some much needed help in their backcourt with the addition of former Stetson guard Chris Perez.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Perez, who also played one season at Liberty, has already graduated from Stetson and will be eligible to play immediately. He has one season of eligibility remaining.
Perez is expected to fill the void created by the graduation of Isaac Sosa, the Golden Griffins' third-leading scorer behind Billy Baron and Harold Washington at 11.6 points a game.
Canisius not only loses both Sosa and Washington but reserve guards Alshwan Hymes and Reggie Groves, who had one season of eligibility remaining but has graduated and will not return to the team.
Also not returning are a pair of freshmen: Guard Jermaine Johnson, who will transfer to a junior college, and forward Tyrel Edwards who is seeking to attend an NAIA school.
In 31 games including 30 starts, Perez was Stetson's second-leading scorer at 15.1 points. He shot 48.6 percent from the floor overall and 31.1 percent from 3-point range. He also averaged 4.1 rebounds and led the team in steals with 35.
By BOB DICESARE
The mass exodus from the Niagara basketball program continued over the weekend as freshman forward TJ Cline tweeted that he's landed at Richmond of the Atlantic 10. That came on the heels of the anticipated news that all-MAAC guard Juan'ya Green and his lifelong friend and Niagara teammate Ameen Tanksley both are joining former Purple Eagles coach Joe Mihalich at Hofstra. They will sit out next season and be eligible in 2014-15.
Continue reading "Another Niagara Update" »
By BOB DICESARE
Niagara coach Chris Casey has landed his first recruit as he strives to stablize a Niagara basketball program that continues to be hit by defections.
Niagara has signed Karonn Davis, 6-2 combo guard from Friends Central near Philly, but sources say the Purple Eagles are losing senior-to-be Malcolm Lemmons, who has elected to transfer. Lemmons, a reserve guard, joins All-MAAC guard Juan'ya Green and rebounding leader Ameen Tanksley on the transfer wagon that's crowding since coach Joe Mihalich was announced as the new head coach at Hofstra. Sources say Green and Tanksley are preparing to visit Hofstra, which was not forbidden when they were granted their transfers by the Purple Eagles.
Could another defection be forthcoming?
Continue reading "The Ins and Outs at Niagara" »
By Bob DiCesare
When coach Joe Mihalich left Niagara for Hofstra last month Purple Eagle fans could take comfort in the wealth of talent he was leaving behind.
It’s time to get uncomfortable.
All-conference guard Juan’ya Green and rebounding leader Ameen Tanksley have been granted transfer requests and are leaving the university, athletic department spokesman Derick Thornton confirmed today. The two sophomores are Philadelphia natives and lifelong friends.
Continue reading "Green, Tanksley Leaving Niagara" »
---Fresh off the news that quarterback Chazz Anderson is transferring to UB, the Bulls added another late recruit in Georgia cornerback Matthew Quick, The Buffalo News has learned.
Quick is a product of Westlake High School which lists Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and Adam “Pacman” Jones as graduates. Quick, who also excels in track and field, was originally slated to join Georgia as a preferred walk on but Bulls’ recruiting coordinator Ernest Jones began recruiting him heavily in June.
Quick signed scholarship papers with UB on Saturday and will open with the Bulls when training camp begins Aug. 8.
“During the last week of school, Coach Jones came down to my school and said he wanted to offer me,’’ Quick said. “Coach [Jeff] Quinn gave him the ok and they flew me up here [on Friday] and showed me around. It was great. They care more about the person you’ll become after you graduate and not just the person you are on the field.’’
UB is creating a nice pipeline into the talent-rich state of Georgia. Peach State natives on the Bulls' current roster include sophomore Najja Johnson (Atlanta), redshirt freshmen Cordero Dixon (Suwanee), Devon Hughes (Tyrone) and Kendall Roberson (Decatur) and true freshman Tony Daniel (Hiram). The Bulls also have a verbal from linebacker Adrian Lindsey (Douglasville), who was a teammate of Daniel's at South Paulding High.
The Bulls play at Georgia in 2012.
---The long simmering, “Is Brett Roseboro leaving or staying’’ story can finally be put to rest with the announcement by St. Bonaventure that the sophomore big man is leaving the program.
Roseboro is a decent player who would have contributed next season but playing time was an issue. Coach Mark Schmidt rotation is seven deep – which means plenty of playing time for the top players – and Roseboro averaged just 8.5 minutes a game. Schmidt started the same five in all 31 games last season.
“We appreciate Brett’s efforts with our program for the past two years and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Schmidt said in a statement released by the school.
Roseboro played in 44 games during his career and averaged 1.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 29 appearances last year. There's no word on where Roseboro might land.
---It's official: Will Regan, the former Nichols standout, has signed a scholarship agreement to attend UB, the school just announced.
Regan, a two-time Buffalo News Player of the Year, will have to sit out the 2011-12 season and have three years of eligibility remaining. A 6-foot-8 freshman forward, Regan played in 20 games for the Cavaliers, scoring 25 points with 18 rebounds. Regan, who is transferring from Virginia, made an official visit to UB May 31-June 2.
UB offered Regan a scholarship as an eighth grader and he made an unofficial visit to UB before selecting Virginia. Regan cancelled a scheduled visit to Niagara University.
"I think it's a good fit for Will," UB coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "He's grown up watching us and he's familiar with us. He's a terrific student. He compliments the things that we like to do. It's a good fit for both parties and we are really excited to have him home again."
Signing Regan is a major coup for Witherspoon and his staff. The Bulls lose two senior big men next season in Mitchell Watt and Titus Robinson and Regan figures to slide into a starting role on the frontline in 2012-13.
---Niagara forward Kashief Edwards, pictured left, has been released from his scholarship and will transfer to another school, according to sources. Edwards, who would have been a fifth-year senior next season, will earn his degree this summer and is eligible to play for another school immediately.
Edwards visited Northeastern last week and New Hampshire and Delaware State have also expressed interest, according to sources.
“Kashief Edwards will graduate this summer and has decided to use his last year of eligibility at another school,” Niagara coach Joe Mihalich said in a statement released by the school. “We are extremely proud of all that Niagara University has done for Kashief on and off the floor and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
A native of Philadelphia, Edwards averaged 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks as a junior in 2010-11. He was the Purple Eagles leading rebounder and third leading scorer.
Edwards was expected to be one of four starters returning for 2011-12 but wanted the opportunity to play on the wing at small forward, according to a source. Edwards will likely be replaced in the lineup by junior college transfer Ali Langford, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward from Salt Lake City, Utah, who averaged 21.6 points and 12.8 rebounds for Hancock (Ca.) College.
---Zach Maynard, who transferred from UB after the 2009 season, was named as Cal's No. 1 QB by coach Jeff Tedford in a move that wasn't much of a surprise. The left-hander - with two years of eligibility left - was picked to start the Sept. 3 season opener against Fresno State but said he looked at his promotion as a step in a process.
"I'm still working for a job," he said.
In spring practice he beat out senior Brock Mansion and sophomore Allan Bridgford, who will be co-listed at No. 2 on the depth chart going into the opening of training camp Aug. 6.
Here's a transcript of Maynard's press conference.