Several days after leaving the Bethune-Cookman program, leading scorer Clemmye Owens will transfer to Chicago State, according to Corey Albertson of Prep Hoops Ohio.
On Tuesday, Albertson was the first to report that Owens and Bethune-Cookman reserve guard Tony Kynard both decided to transfer. Albertson later reported on Friday night that Kynard is still weighing his options.
The 6-foot-1 Owens was a MEAC All-Rookie selection last season. He had avoided a sophomore slump during the 2014-15 season, averaging 15.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Bethune-Cookman has limped to a 4-11 record, losing two of the last three without Owens in the lineup.
Owens will be joining a Chicago State program that has its own struggles. The Cougars are currently 4-13, and haven’t had a winning season since 2008-09.
Clarke Rosenberg, Chicago State’s only player averaging double figures, is a senior, but the Cougars have some young talent on the roster. Second-leading scorer Anthony Glover is a freshman and top rebounder Trayvon Palmer is a sophomore.
Owens will be eligible for the second semester of the 2015-16 season.
Bethune-Cookman took a big hit to its roster this week as leading scorer Clemmye Owens and reserve guard Tony Kynard will transfer, the school confirmed with NBCSports.com. The news of the duo’s transfer was reported by Corey Albertson of Prep Hoops Ohio.
Both Owens and Kynard are sophomore guards and come from Rogers High School in Toledo, Ohio. The 6-foot-1 Owens was a MEAC All-Rookie selection last season and during the 2014-15 season is averaging 15.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 32.9 minutes per contest. Kynard is playing 18.5 minutes a game and averaging 3.6 points, 2.7 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game in a reserve role.
Both players didn’t play in the last few games for the school as Kynard had not played in the last four games for the Wildcats while Owens missed the last three.
The school also confirmed that senior guard Maurice Taylor has been suspended indefinitely. The 6-foot-3 Taylor is averaging 9.4 minutes per game and putting up 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per game
With Bethune-Cookman already struggling to a 4-11 record on the season, the loss of their leading scorer is likely only to make matters worse.
Where the two transfers end up, particularly Owens, will be intriguing because Owens has shown a knack for scoring at the college level. It will also be interesting to see if the duo tries to stay together like they were in high school and the first two years of college or go their separate ways.
On Thursday Bethune-Cookman head coach Gravelle Craig announced the addition of a player who will give the Wildcats some additional size in 2014-15. 7-foot center Ugo Okam, who played in 17 games during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons at Harvard, is now a member of the Bethune-Cookman basketball program.
“I watched him in high school (Montverde) and for Each Teach One, his AAU team,” Craig said of his newest addition in the release. “I thought he had potential to be a good college player with development. He adds size that we haven’t had in a long time.”
Okam didn’t see much playing time at Harvard, as he averaged just under four minutes per contest in his 17 appearances as a member of the program before leaving in November 2012. But he arrived on the Harvard campus as a Top 100 recruit, and the goal for Bethune-Cookman is to get Okam back to that point from a skill standpoint.
The question for Okam is how many years of eligibility will he have remaining, with the 2014-15 season representing the fifth year for him. Given the fact that he hasn’t played since the 2011-12 season there’s a possibility that he could be granted an extra year by the NCAA, with the school noting in the release that Okam could have two years of college basketball remaining as a result.
With Okam now in the fold Bethune-Cookman will also have 6-foot-9 junior college transfer Delino Dear and 6-foot-8 senior Travis Elliott to provide the team with size in 2014-15.
Bethune-Cookman struggled on the glass last season, ranking dead last in the MEAC in defensive rebounds per game (19.8) and defensive rebounding percentage (63.1%). This was one reason why the Wildcats won just seven games, going 5-11 in conference play. Elliott led the team in rebounding last season, pulling down nearly five caroms per contest.
The Wildcats return leading scorers Clemmye Owens and Mikel Trapp (11.3 ppg apiece), but second-leading rebounder Malik Jackson (10.8, 4.3 rpg) is out of eligibility.
Bethune-Cookman has reportedly adding a big man with one year of eligibility remaining for the 2015-2016 season.
Wagner junior forward Mario Moody, along with another teammate, received their releases from the program five weeks ago. According to a report from Cormac Gordon of SILive.com, Moody will play the last year of his collegiate career at Bethune-Cookman.
“At the end of the day, the decision became mutual,” Wagner head coach Bashir Mason told Gordon. “Mario is a great kid, and there aren’t any hard feelings. This is just something he wanted to do, and maybe he’ll benefit from sitting out a year in terms of gaining maturity and working on his game.”
The 6-foot-7 Moody averaged 8.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game for the Seahawks, who finished second in the Northeast Conference before being upset in the conference tournament semifinals.
Wagner graduates four seniors in addition to Moody and Langston Burnett transferring. The Wildcats finished second from the bottom of the MEAC last season, but the program could see a resurgence in the coming years. Leading scorer Clemmye Owens and top assist man Tony Kynard just completed their freshmen seasons. If Moody can bring consistency to his game, the Wildcats will have an inside piece to go along with the back court.