A number of people expect the Rhode Island Rams to make a sizable leap forward in 2013-14, with head coach Dan Hurley entering his second season and newcomers such as Gilvydas Biruta and freshmen E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin having the skills needed to make an immediate impact. But the Rams will likely begin that process without one of their returnees, as the school announced Friday that sophomore forward Jordan Hare has taken a leave of absence from the team in order to address some personal issues.
According to URI, Hare will remain enrolled at the school during his time away from the basketball program. As a freshman the 6-foot-10 Hare started 19 of the 27 games in which he played, posting averages of 5.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. His ability to block and change shots is what the Rams will miss most while Hare’s away from the team, especially with the new rules regarding contact on the perimeter and the block/charge call as it pertains to help defenders.
Hare’s best performance last season came in a 58-54 loss to Loyola (MD) on November 23, as he accounted for eight points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks in 28 minutes of action. With Biruta, Martin, sophomore Mike Aaman and redshirt freshman Ifeanyi Onyekaba at his disposal Hurley will still have options inside, but none would be considered to be a shot-blocker of Hare’s caliber.
Rhode Island opens play with an exhibition game against Southern Connecticut State tonight, and early-season contests include a game against SMU (November 11) and the possibility of facing Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off (November 19) depending upon the outcome of their respective games on the 18th. URI faces Division II power Metro State, with Arizona taking on Fairleigh Dickinson in the nightcap at McKale Center in Tucson.