Mezie Offurum Enters The Transfer Portal
I expected this week to be busy from a portal perspective, but I didn't expect this:
Mezie Offurum was a complete unicorn at this level; his size (6'8" 230 lbs.) and athleticism allowed him to effectively guard every position on the floor, which made him one of the best defenders in the Northeast Conference. While his ability to defend isn't reflected in the data, take a look at what Offurum, Nana Opoku, and Malik Jefferson were able to do together, according to Hoop-Explorer:
With all 3 on the floor together; 95.2 points/100 possessions (in league play)
When all 3 were not on the floor together: 103.3 points/100 possessions.
A "big wing", Offurum came to Mount St. Mary's two years ago after two seasons playing for Jamion Christian at George Washington, and it can't help but feel like he never quite met the expectations offensively. In his Mount career he made just 26 of his 108 three-point attempts (24.1%), though was very good in attacking the rim (79th percentile according to Shot Quality, and 57.8% at the rim last season). A high frequency mid-range game (41 for 103 this season) contributed to his 48% eFG%.
So why am I surprised? Quite frankly, it felt like he was at the right level; his athleticism/size profile was a real advantage at the low-major level, and offensively he doesn't fit the mold of a true mid-major wing. However, it's also worth noting that Dan Engelstad prefers an ultra-slow tempo (63.2 possessions/40 minutes last season, 339th nationally), and Offurum is really good in transition.
Could Offurum make a slight jump to a more uptempo program? If I were him, that's what I'd be looking for. Mezie is from Maryland, and hasn't gone far from home in his two stops. I have no idea if that will come into play, but I'd expect him to have numerous D1 opportunities.
Last season Offurum led the Mount in minutes played (77.2%), and this is now the second off-season in a row that Dan Engelstad has to replace one of his most important players. Absent finding someone with a similar profile on the Transfer Portal (doubtful as Mezie's don't exactly grow on trees), I'd expect the Mount staff to plan on utilizing a 3-guard lineup more frequently (exclusively?) next season. Wings Deandre Thomas (6'5"), Dakota Leffew (6'5") and Josh Reaves (6'4") all provide good size for wings at this level, and I've been super high on freshman Jaylin Gibson. Despite being listed at just 6'3" 190 lbs,, Gibson has some physicality to him and was really good as a 3&D guy in his first season. He could be a major break-out candidate as a sophomore.