Rebuilding the Roster: Morehead State
The Eagles of Morehead State have almost entirely started over. Again.
The returning core is composed of Corban Collins, Brent Arrington, and Lionel Gaines.
Frankly MSU was built to win in 2014-2015. The 17-17 season was a supreme disappointment for players like Angelo Warner, Billy Reader, and Karam Mashour. Warner entered the year with All-OVC expectations and team success was another goal. Neither goal was satisfactorily met.
Also gone from Morehead, Kentucky are Jordan Percell, Chad Donley, Kareem Storey, Luka Pajkovic, and Jalen Courtney. These represented the massive senior class. They should not only be judged for their final campaign.
Most of the outgoing seniors helped Morehead State to a moderately interesting CBI-invite in 2014. That ended their 20-win season.
The program is at a precarious point. They achieved impressive success behind Donnie Tyndall and Kenneth Faried. And fans have increased their level of expectations, but the turnover rate is too high to sustain anything meaningful.
Judging by the Class of 2015 recruiting Head Coach Sean Woods knew there were going to be many glaring holes this year, and that perhaps explains the flood of JuCo signees.
Malik Maitland (FL) and Lamontray Harris are the freshman class. Walk-on Wes Noble is ready to dress after redshirting last fall. While Noble will hardly ever play, Maitland will fit nicely into the guard rotation behind Corban Collins.
Might Maitland leapfrog Miguel Dicent? It will be a feisty competition as Dicent averaged 15.1 mpg from January on. He was also capable of hitting open shots.
Coach Woods is comfortable playing three guards together, so somebody will find minutes alongside Collins and Arrington.
For size Coach Woods scoured the JuCo circuit.
Ronnye Beamon began his college career with Youngstown State. After a year with Kaskaskia College (IL), Beamon is now a part of the Eagles operation.
DeJuan Marrero is an interesting test case. The power forward was considered too small to play the post coming out of Gary, Indiana. A terrible DePaul team offered him, but he tore his ACL a month before his freshman season tipped. The next year Marrero played sparingly and decided to transfer to JuCo powerhouse Chipola College.
His legs are almost all the way back, but the feisty 4-man is quite a bit heavier than he was in high school. A year on the shelf will do that to you. Regardless Marrero tucked away 12.2 rebounds per game for Chipola. He will bring high energy and rebounding. Don’t look for too much outside shooting from Marrero. He is a 6-foot-5 tenacious power forward. The Indiana-native might be able to hedge on screens and pick up wings in small doses.
Six out of the nine tallest players on the team are new. There will be hours put in to post play.
A pair of 6-foot-9 bigs, Keion Alexander and Ty’Quan Bitting are the trees and if either develop quickly the minutes are available inside. Most likely, Bitting will emerge upfront. He gives the team a solid defensive option under the rim. Neither will score from outside the paint.
Xavier Moon and Treshaad Williams join the bunch from Northwest Florida State College. Moon is a shooter and Williams is a bounder. They are probably going to be specialists during their D1 careers.
A big part of building your program is continuity. Three non-seniors are gone from Morehead State.
Matt Iverson, Marquel Willis, and Marcus Fuggins are all gone.
A true basketball nomad, Fuggins will play for his fifth team in five years. His eligibility will exhaust after a senior season with Kentucky Wesleyan (D2 power). Former freshman Willis wound up at Palm Beach State (D2).
Since all three early departures wound up below D1 it is difficult to be annoyed by the their ousting. Rather, the question must be asked…why were they here in the first place?
Only three players at Morehead State began their college career with Coach Woods. That means almost everyone stumbled onto campus from either their first choice college or from a JuCo. Building through JuCo is a very, very dangerous pathway to success. It has been done before. Marquette under Buzz Williams was a prime example. But most often it goes wrong before it ever veers right.
Morehead State has a taxing pre-conference slate. How fast they can assimilate will determine if this gamble will pay off.