Dan Hurley

Rhode Island adds forward Ifeanyi Onyekaba, but will he be allowed to play this season?

Leave a comment

Given the fact that Rhode Island has a limited roster this season with three transfers having to sit out, any help that first-year head coach Dan Hurley can find is more than welcome in Kingston.

Last week it was Northeastern transfer Alwayne Bigby who joined the program, and his status as a graduate student allows him to take the floor immediately for the Rams.

And according to Andy Katz of ESPN.com Hurley has made another addition to the roster, this time adding 6-8, 240-pound Nigerian Ifeanyi Onyekaba.

But will Onyekaba, who was expected by many to be a 2013 product out of Virginia Episcopal School, be cleared to take the floor this season?

That’s the question that remains to be answered, and if he’s allowed to suit up the Rams would be up to ten eligible players.

“He has enrolled but right now we’re working with our (rules) compliance office and the NCAA’s Eligibility Center on his case,” Hurley told Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal.

And given how much stronger the Atlantic 10 has become with not only the additions of Butler and VCU but also the amount of talent that some of the conference mainstays return, URI fans likely have their fingers crossed in the hope that Onyekaba is cleared to play.

Jim Baron’s dismissal capped what was a horrendous 2011-12 campaign for Rhode Island, and the troubles weren’t limited to the games as they posted their lowest win total (seven) since the 2004-05 season (six wins).

Talented forward Jonathan Holton was dismissed from school for multiple legal issues, Jamal Wilson was dismissed from the program in December and Billy Baron transferred to play for his father at Canisius.

And forward Orion Outerbridge graduated, meaning that Hurley was essentially working with a blank canvas when he was hired in the spring.

With talented transfers Gilvydas Biruta (Rutgers), DeShon Minnis (Texas Tech) and Jarrelle Reischel (Rice) sitting out this season the Rams won’t have the same depth issues in 2013-14.

But they have to deal with the 2012-13 campaign first, and while Onyekaba being allowed to play wouldn’t make them a lock to reach the 12-team Atlantic 10 tournament it certainly wouldn’t hurt matters.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

PHOTO: Baylor shows off new uniforms

Scott Drew
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Wednesday afternoon the Baylor basketball program sent out some images of its uniform combinations for the upcoming season, and the volt color way that first made a splash in 2012 is back. Baylor’s got four different uniforms it can wear this season: home (white), away (green) and two alternate uniforms.

While there is some volt green in each of the four uniforms, its presence is relatively tame compared to the uniforms Scott Drew’s program wore back in 2012. Of course those uniforms were part of adidas’ AdiZero uniform¬†release (Baylor is now outfitted by Nike), with two other schools (Cincinnati and Louisville) wearing colorful uniforms with shorts that had “interesting” patterns on them.

While some of the new uniform designs in college sports have received some pushback from fans and alums, this stuff is about the players and recruits programs look to land for the future. Everyone likes free stuff, and when it comes to apparel for young athletes having something that’s both free and “exclusive” is seen as a positive.

Pressure is on new coach Steve Prohm at Iowa State

Steve Prohm
Leave a comment

AMES, Iowa (AP) Five months ago, Iowa State’s Steve Prohm was the coach at mid-major Murray State. Now he’s in charge of one of the big favorites in the Big 12.

Prohm officially began his first season in charge of the Cyclones on Tuesday with the team’s annual media day.

Iowa State has all the pieces to make a run at the league title and more – provided that Prohm can handle coaching college basketball at the highest level, of course.

In the minds of Prohm’s players, the Cyclones have nothing to worry about.

“Coach (Prohm) is in here earning our trust and our respect every day,” said senior forward Georges Niang. “Even though he’s not trying to cross any of our toes, he puts his foot down when he needs to and lets us know that stuff needs to get done. I think he has a great combination of how to keep us motivated…and still be stern and be able to get the most out of us.”

Fred Hoiberg’s departure for the Chicago Bulls after five mostly successful seasons gave Prohm a shot at a national title. The roster Hoiberg left behind for Prohm is loaded.

Niang, a likely preseason first-team All-American, second-team All-Big 12 point guard Monte Morris and league defensive player of the year Jameel McKay headline one of the nation’s most talented starting units. Throw in veterans like Naz Long, Matt Thomas, Abdel Nader and transfer Deonte Burton, and Prohm might just have the best roster a new Power Five coach has inherited since Bill Guthridge took over for Dean Smith at North Carolina in 1997.

Guthridge reached the Final Four with his first team.

Prohm isn’t shying away from the notion that Iowa State is among the handful of teams with serious national title aspirations.

“Yeah, they’re realistic,” Prohm said when asked about the sky-high expectations for this year’s team. “I think we have the opportunity to have a very special season.”

The similarities between what type of styles Prohm and Hoiberg use was cited as a big reason why Iowa State hired him. Hoiberg even lobbied for Prohm to athletic director Jamie Pollard during the hiring process.

To that end, Prohm is going to let his players have a ton of input on how they play. Prohm doesn’t plan many changes, just tweaks that mostly involve techniques to improve Iowa State’s somewhat inconsistent rebounding and defense.

“I don’t need to say, `This is the way we’re doing things guys because this is the way I did it.’ That’s stupid,” Prohm said. “I need to meet these guys halfway.”

Prohm also acknowledged that he’ll be doing quite a bit of learning himself this season. But Prohm said he intends to embrace the unique opportunity he’s been afforded.

“This is a great situation to walk into. No question,” Prohm said. “Is there pressure? Yeah. But who wants a job with no pressure?”