NEC Roster Movement Update: 4/4/22

According to Transfer Portal for Playing Time, as of 4/3 there were 1105 D1 players in the Transfer Portal, and another 725 D2 players. Many programs have been hurt by the transfer bug but the flip side is also true; it's never been easier to quickly rebuild, if you're willing to bring in transfers.


In early February I wrote about which programs have historically dabbled in the Portal, and which haven't. Derek Kellogg (LIU), Glenn Braica (SFC), and Bashir Mason (Wagner) have been the coaches most willing to bring in transfers, while Greg Herenda (FDU) and Joe Gallo (MC) have generally preferred to go the high school/prep route. Rob Krimmel has dipped into the JUCO ranks from time to time, but has also generally prefers 4-year players.


Notes:

  • According to Jake Lieberman, Tyler Thomas has already heard from a number of schools, including Richmond, Towson, St. Joe's, Loyola Chicago, Hofstra, William & Mary, UMKC, Samford, Western Carolina, & St Bonaventure. Thomas was a very good scorer at the NEC level, but I do worry what his minutes and usage would look like at the CAA/A-10 level.

  • Fellow Sacred Heart transfer Aaron Clarke has head from San Jose State, Stony Brook, Long Beach State, Rice, California Baptist, Marist, Tarleton State, UTEP, Albany, William & Mary, Ohio, and UTEP according to RHoops Recruits. I have no doubt Clarke can play at many of these schools, but would it be as a primary ball-handler, or as a back-up? I also worry about his defensive limitations.

  • It sounds like George Mason is in on Mezie Offurum. Offurum began his career in the A-10 at George Washington.

  • Former CCSU medical red-shirt Hegel Augustin already has an offer from Prairie View A&M.

Goings

Nana Opoku (Mount St. Mary's)

On Friday night, the 6'9" forward announced his intention of forgoing his covid year and entering the NBA Draft:

A 4-year player out of Potomac, VA, Opoku ends an accomplished career at the Mount where he scored over 1,000 points, grabbed over 650 boards, and nearly had 200 blocks. He earned a spot on the All-NEC 3rd team this past season, and in 2020-21 was the league's Defensive Player of the Year. In his senior year Opoku led the team in minutes (75.5%) and helped anchor the league's top defensive unit while averaging 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.


While the NBA is unlikely given his career 27% from three (including just 3 of 8 this past season), Opoku should be able to have a nice career playing hoops somewhere thanks to his length and athleticism, and he strikes me as the kind of player who, 3-5 years from now, is a consistent outside shooter. As for giving up his final year of eligibility; Opoku red-shirted as a freshman back in 2017-18, so he's already spent five full years in college. Moving on with one's life makes a lot of sense given all that he's accomplished, and what kind of future lays ahead.


As for the Mount; Dan Engelstad has now lost his two best defensive players off a team that held NEC opponents to just 94.4 points per 100 possessions (Offurum being the other). Despite starting '5' Malik Jefferson having already stated his intention of returning, the Mount St. Mary's frontcourt will have a significantly different look in 22-23. While 6'9" rising sophomore Jedy Cordilia should be an option as a back-up '5' (as might 6'8" Dola Adebayo, who red-shirted this past season), I'd expect Franticek Barton to make a major jump as a junior. A 6'7" 210 lb. forward from the Czech Republic, Barton has shown an ability to stretch the defense (3 for 8 in his career), rebound, and finish inside. After being stuck behind Jefferson, Opoku, and Offurum for the past two years, Barton should get an opportunity for significant playing time. The question for me; does he have the quickness to guard 4's? I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Mount staff look to bring a versatile forward with length from the Transfer Portal, as the current roster is dominated by guards and true wings.


Ashton Miller (Wagner)

A 6'5" "big wing", Wagner was Miller's second stop after he began his collegiate career at Duquesne. A New Jersey native who prepped at Seton Hall Prep, Miller sat out 20-21, then saw limited playing time this past season (just 12.9% of minutes) and did not appear in a game after January 27th. In his two stops, Miller is just 3 for 28 from three and has a 31.2% eFG%. My guess he will end up at a non-D1.


Comings

Aidan Carpenter (Sacred Heart)

A 6'5" 185 lb. versatile wing, Carpenter spent two years at Siena where, after a promising freshman season during which he averaged 5.7 ppg in 12 games, he played just 26.4% of minutes as he battled a nagging groin injury (missed the team's final 7 games) while getting stuck behind transfers Anthony Gaines (Northwestern) and Colby Rogers (Cal Poly), as well as freshman Jared Billups. A Hamden, CT native, Carpenter, who has three years of eligibility remaining, had a number of mid-major offers out of Lee Academy. New England Recruiting Report ranked him as the #19 player in New England in 2020 (Erickson Bans, at #50, was the highest ranked New England player from the class of 2020 who played in the NEC last season).


A high-level athlete who provides good length on the wing, Carpenter should help Anthony Latina improve the league's worst defensive unit with his ability to defend 1-4 while giving the Pio's ball-handling and play-making from the wing. He's also a strong finisher in transition (as a freshman, Carpenter made 19 of 33 at the rim), though the shot isn't quite what one would expect for a true wing (10 for 47 from deep in his career). Given that, Latina will have to surround Carpenter with shooters in order to maximize spacing and allow the 3rd year junior to use the dribble to get into the paint.


With Aaron Clarke and Tyler Thomas both in the Transfer Portal, and Alex Watson graduated, Carpenter should be penciled in as a starter at one of the three guard spots. Latina probably needs to find at least one other experienced guard to go along with Joey Reilly, Mike Sixsmith, and freshman Dom Mello.


Landon Moore (St. Francis (PA))

A combo-guard who prepped at Western Reserve Academy, Moore has shown an ability to score both off the bounce and on the catch, and is described as a high IQ player. A native of Bloomington, IL, Moore had one other D1 offer from Eastern Illinois from last summer, and should be able to step in and battle for minutes right away as Ramiir Dixon-Conover has graduated, and Ronell Giles will be working his way back from a knee injury.


Moore will not only have to compete with returning PG Zahree Harrison, but Rob Krimmel already has a pair of incoming freshmen already committed to the Red Flash for this upcoming season who should be able to help in the backcourt. One of those players Wisler Sanon, a 6'3" guard out of The Phelps School (PA) who can really shoot it, and should be a good perimeter defender. Sanon, who committed to Rob Krimmel back in September, is one of three D1 commits who played for Phelps this past season. Sanon had an offer from NJIT back in 2019.


The other is Cam Gregory, a long (6'5") versatile wing who has the ability to handle the ball and defend multiple positions. From Richmond, VA, Gregory prepped at The Steward School, and held an offer from the current Central Connecticut staff, and also went on an official visit to Binghamton.


The fourth member (so far) of Krimmel's 2022 freshman class is Miles Webb, an athletic 6'8" big from St. Stephen's & St. Agnes' School. Webb, who had offers from Mount St. Mary's, Bryant, Howard, and UMBC, is likely to come off the bench behind Josh Cohen, and should provide rim protection as well as inside scoring.


I don't believe any of those 4 have officially signed yet, though I could be wrong there (and if so, please let me know).


Jordan Derkack (Merrimack)

A 6'6" scoring wing, Derkack exploded this past season playing for SPIRE Institute out in Ohio where he averaged 26 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists per game, earning the scholarship offer a few weeks ago. He can be a matchup problem given his size and shooting ability, and should fit Joe Gallo's system given his ability to defend. Gallo and his staff love players with length who can also shoot the ball (see Jordan McKoy, Ziggy Reid, Nick Filchner), and Derkack will likely challenge for minutes off the bench behind McKoy and Reid. Though he had no other offers, he had been receiving interest from a number of mid-major programs, including Marist.