Shortly after the end of the 2014-15 season, forward Javion Ogunyemi announced that he would be transferring from Siena. The Troy, New York native was a productive front court option for the Saints last season, averaging 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in just over 26 minutes of action per contest. Ogunyemi settled on Boston University, where he would have had two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2015-16 campaign, even enrolling in summer school.
However, a family tragedy has reportedly led to a change of heart and Ogunyemi will return to Siena. News of Ogunyemi’s decision was first reported by ESPN.com, with The Saratogianspeaking with his high school coach about the situation that led to his return to Jimmy Patsos’ program.
For Ogunyemi, the move had to do with missing his family in Troy, especially after the recent murder of his cousin in Troy, Hurley said.
“He finished out school and tried to fight through it and he really wanted to stay,” Hurley said. “At the end of the six-week period there he realized that he just needed to be home. Nothing wrong with BU, nothing wrong with the program. He left with great things to say about coach (Joe) Jones and he feels bad, but it was just the best thing to be back with his family and that’s where he wanted to be.”
It’s likely that Ogunyemi would need a waiver from the NCAA to be eligible to compete in 2015-16, along the lines of Jerome Seagears’ experience when he decided to transfer from Rutgers to Auburn only to change his mind a few months later. Seagears received the waiver, playing for then first-year head coach Eddie Jordan in 2013-14 before deciding to transfer to UNLV where he’ll play in 2015-16.
What makes Ogunyemi’s situation even more complicated is the fact that Siena’s accounted for all 13 of its scholarships in 2015-16. The Saints, who are expected to be a contender in the MAAC this upcoming season, added two spring signees in Kinnon LaRose and Nico Clareth and also picked up former Richmond guard Kadeem Smithen in late-June.
In the front court Siena welcomes back leading rebounder Lavon Long, and they’ll also have two veterans in Brett Bisping and Imoh Silas who were largely unavailable in 2014-15 (Bisping played in six games) due to injury. The Saints also have sophomore Willem Brandwijk, and 6-foot-9 freshman Evan Fisher will be on board as well.
Three Boston players to transfer, including Mo Watson Jr.
According to Tom Layman of the Boston Herald, Boston University is losing three players to transfer, including talented sophomore guard Maurice “Mo” Watson Jr. Boston head coach Joe Jones confirmed the news to Layman. A pair of junior forwards — James Kennedy and Malik Thomas — will also transfer from Boston, as well.
Source confirms @GoodmanESPN report about Mo Watson leaving #BU. Source tells me James Kennedy and Malik Thomas will also transfer.
Layman spoke with Jones, who said that Watson wants to play at a higher level. Watson averaged 13.4 points, 7.1 assists per game last season in leading the Terriers to a regular-season title in the Patriot League.
“I think the big thing is we love Mo,” said Jones to the Boston Herald. “He had a tremendous impact on the program. We loved him. We just want the best for him. I think it would be great to have him stay. We would love for him to stay.
“But we also want what is best for him,” Jones said after granting Watson’s release.
Thomas will graduate this year and is eligible as a graduate transfer at forward. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 5.8 points and four rebounds per game last season.
Kennedy missed last season and is seeking more playing time.
The loss of Watson is a huge loss for Boston going forward as he was an All-League type of performer.
Outside of keeping their seasons alive there wasn’t much on the line in this contest, and that motivation proved to be enough in a game that needed two extra sessions. Isaiah Sykes scored 36 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the way for UCF, who will take on top-seed Cincinnati on Thursday night. Quenton DeCosey scored 28 points and Will Cummings 25 for the Owls, who finished its tough season with a record of 9-22.
1) American 55, Boston University 36
Mike Brennan’s Eagles, picked to finish ninth in the Patriot League’s preseason poll, won the automatic bid thanks in large part to their stifling defense. Playing man for much of the first half, American’s 2-3 zone made life difficult for the Terriers in the second half. And in their three-game run to the Patriot League crown American allowed no more than 0.87 points per possession, with BU scoring 0.64 points per possession.
2) DePaul 60, Georgetown 56
John Thompson III’s Hoyas needed to make a run in New York City to feel good about their chances of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. That won’t be happening, as Billy Garrett Jr. and Forrest Robinson helped lead the Blue Demons to their first Big East tournament win since 2009. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks combined to score 38 points for the Hoyas but they didn’t receive much help offensively, resulting in the close loss.
3) Colorado 59, USC 56
For bubble teams avoiding bad losses is just as important as picking up quality wins, and that’s exactly what the Buffaloes did in Las Vegas. Askia Booker played well, finishing with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Colorado also benefitted from USC shooting 5-for-22 from beyond the arc. The win sets up a very important matchup with Cal on Thursday, with the Golden Bears having defeated Colorado by a point in the regular season finale for both.
1) Isaiah Sykes (UCF)
Skyes scored 36 points to go along with nine rebounds and three steals in the Knights’ 94-90 double overtime win over Temple.
2) Jeremy Ingram (North Carolina Central)
Ingram made nine of his 12 shots from the field, finishing the Eagles’ 92-46 win over Howard with 30 points, two assists and two steals.
3) Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)
Accounted for 18 points (6-for-10 FG), seven rebounds and seven assists in the Cowboys’ 80-62 win over Texas Tech.
1) D.J. Irving (Boston University)
Shot 1-for-10 form the field in the Terriers’ 55-36 loss to American in the Patriot League title game.
2) Alex Barlow and Kellen Dunham (Butler)
Combined to shoot 3-for-21 in Butler’s 51-50 loss to Seton Hall in the first round of the Big East tournament.
3) Tahj Shamsid-Deen (Auburn)
Made just one of his ten shot attempts in the Tigers’ 74-56 loss to South Carolina in the first round of the SEC tournament.
American: Rutgers outlasts USF
A missed box out with five seconds remaining allowed Rutgers’ J.J. Moore to grab a key offensive rebound in the final seconds, leading to the Scarlet Knights beating USF 72-68. Rutgers advances to take on two-seed Louisville in the quarterfinals.
Atlantic 10: Fordham’s Ryan Canty dominates the glass
Ryan Canty’s struggled with foul trouble at times this season but that wasn’t the case in Fordham’s 70-67 win over George Mason. Canty grabbed 19 rebounds and blocked three shots in the win, and next up for the Rams is a game against five-seed Dayton on Thursday.
ACC: Georgia Tech ends Boston College’s season
Brian Gregory’s Yellow Jackets beat the Eagles for the third time this season, winning 73-70 in overtime. Georgia Tech advances to play Clemson on Thursday, with Wake Forest (beat Notre Dame) and Miami (beat Virginia Tech) moving on as well. Wake will play Pittsburgh on Thursday, with the Hurricanes facing N.C. State.
Big 12: Baylor, Oklahoma State take care of business
No surprises on day one in Kansas City, with the Cowboys coasting past Texas Tech and Baylor holding off TCU. Oklahoma State gets another shot at Kansas, which will be without Joel Embiid, on Thursday and Baylor plays two-seed Oklahoma.
Big East: Seton Hall hangs on to beat Butler
Kevin Willard’s Pirates will play top-seed Villanova on Thursday afternoon thanks to a 51-50 win over Butler. The Bulldogs rallied late but fell just short, with guard Kellen Dunham and Alex Barlow combining to shoot 3-for-21 from the field.
Conference USA: Host UTEP among winners on day two
UTEP isn’t one of the top four seeds in the Conference USA tournament but having the event on their home floor makes the Miners a threat to win the automatic bid. Tim Floyd’s team beat East Carolina 77-68, advancing to play Southern Miss in one of Thursday’s quarterfinals. The other winners: Charlotte (over UAB), Old Dominion (over Marshall) and Tulane (over North Texas).
MEAC: Coppin State knocks off Hampton
Top-seed North Carolina Central rolled in its opener but two-seed Hampton wasn’t as fortunate, as they fell 83-77 to Coppin State. The two winners advance to Friday’s semifinals, with NCCU taking on the winner of Thursday’s Savannah State/Norfolk State contest and Coppin State playing the winner of the Morgan State/Florida A&M quarterfinal.
MAC: Seeds hold to form on day two
Just two games in Cleveland on Wednesday as the Mid-American Conference staggers its bracket to favor the teams who performed the best during the regular season. Ohio and Eastern Michigan advanced, setting up quarterfinals against Akron and Buffalo, respectively.
Mountain West: Utah State rallied to stun Colorado State
Leading by nine with 1:35 remaining, Colorado State looked well on its way to meeting San Diego State in the quarterfinals. But Utah State had other ideas, storming back to win 73-69. In the other two first-round games Fresno State held off Air Force, and Boise State throttled San Jose State in a game they led 25-0 at one point.
Pac-12: Bubble teams go 3-0
With Oregon (88-74 win over Oregon State) presumed to be safely into the NCAA tournament field, Utah and Stanford joined Colorado as teams needing to win on Wednesday. Utah made key plays late to hold off Washington, and Stanford managed to beat Washington State. All four winners will have the opportunity to strengthen their case on Thursday, with the top four seeds providing the opposition.
SEC: Two winners and one coaching change
Both lower-seeded teams won on Wednesday, with Mississippi State beating Vanderbilt and South Carolina defeating Auburn. That loss was also the final game for Auburn head coach Tony Barbee, who was relieved of his duties shortly after the game’s end.
Southland: No surprises on opening day
Five-seed Nicholls State and Six-seed Oral Roberts advanced, with Nicholls State beating Southeast Louisiana 71-64 and ORU holding off McNeese State 66-62. Next up for Nicholls State is a game against Northwestern State, and ORU will face Sam Houston State on Thursday.
SWAC: Texas Southern wins its opener
Texas Southern beat Grambling State 79-54, with Aaric Murray scoring 18 points and blocking six shots to lead the way. In the other quarterfinal Prairie View A&M whipped top-seed Southern, 64-46. With the Jaguars and Tigers falling, just one team ineligible for postseason play (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) remains in the event.
All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.
To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of our preview lists, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.
Every March, the nation falls in love with a new Cinderella, as a team from off college hoops beaten path puts together a run in the NCAA tournament. Florida-Gulf Coast, Wichita State, Lehigh, Butler, VCU, George Mason. The list goes on and on and on.
To help you prepare for your college hoops viewing schedule this season, here is a list of potential Cinderellas. We can differ on what, exactly, makes a team eligible to be a ‘Cinderella’, but here’s criteria I used to make this list:
Cannot be from one of the top nine conference, meaning no new Big East, no Atlantic 10 and no Mountain West.
Cannot be a team that got preseason top 25 consideration. So no Harvard and no Wichita State.
Cannot be a program that is “known”, so send my apologies to the folks at St. Mary’s, BYU, UTEP and Southern Miss.
Essentially, I’m just looking for a way to give you a list of teams you don’t know about that will be a double-digit seed yet have a chance to make it to the second weekend of the Big Dance. Feel free to quibble away:
Boston University: The Terriers have arguably the best back court at the mid-major level this season. D.J. Irving can score with the best of them, and his counterpart, Maurice Watson, is a terrific point guard and a former top 100 recruit that really has no business playing outside a power conference. Good guard play can take you a long way in March.
Florida-Gulf Coast: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Everyone knows about #DunkCity already so they shouldn’t be on this list. Whatever. I don’t care, because Florida-Gulf Coast brings back enough talent to once again make a run in the tournament. Bernard Thompson is back, as is freewheeling point guard Brett Comer. The Eagles have a slew of long, athletic big men that can run the floor as well. The biggest question will be whether new head coach Joe Dooley let’s #DunkCity be #DunkCity again.
Georgia State: Ron Hunter has himself as talented of a perimeter attack as you’ll find at the mid-major level. R.J. Hunter averaged more than 17 points as a freshman, and he’s not the only returnee, as Devonta White and Manny Atkins are back as well. Throw in the addition of Kentucky transfer Ryan Harrow, who is eligible immediately, and the Panthers are some production from their front court away from being a real threat to make the Preseason NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.
Indiana State: Jake Odum is a stud. Anyone that remembers the run he led the Sycamores on as a freshman back in 2011, winning the MVC tournament, will agree with me. Manny Arop and Justin Gant also return for a team that beat Creighton, Wichita State, Miami and Ole Miss last season. ISU lost seven of their last nine games last year, however. Can they avoid a collapse this season?
Iona: The Gaels are loaded with high-major transfers. Sean Armand and David Laury is as good of a 1-2 punch as you’ll find at the mid-major level, and Tre Bowman, Mike Poole and Tavon Sledge all started their careers playing in BCS conferences. Iona gets up and down the floor in a hurry, plays five guys that can handle the ball and shoots a lot of threes. They’ll be inconsistent, as all jump-shooting teams are, but on the nights that those shots are falling, they’ll be able to compete with just about anyone.
Louisiana Tech: What I like about the Bulldogs is that head coach Mike White has this group playing a system that is tough to prepare for. Tech presses. A lot. They force a lot of turnovers and can overwhelm teams that don’t have strong back court play. The Bulldogs won a lot of games last season, but utterly disappointed in two marquee road games against WAC powers Denver and New Mexico State to end the regular season. Will Raheem Appleby and company be able to dominate in their first year in Conference USA?
Mercer: With all the attention that Florida-Gulf Coast got last season, would it surprise you if I told you that Mercer was actually the best team in the Atlantic Sun during the season? They also knocked off Tennessee in Knoxville during the NIT, bring back all but one contributor from last year and will have as experienced of a rotation as you’ll find anywhere.
North Dakota State: Taylor Braun returns to Fargo to lead a team that brings back all five starters from a season ago. The Bison were arguably the best team in the Summit League last season and could have knocked Nate Wolters and South Dakota State from their perch had Braun not gotten injured midway through the year. Look for NDSU to right that wrong this season.
Towson: Pat Skerry engineered one of the most impressive turnarounds in the country last season, and he did largely on the backs of transfers from high-major programs. Namely, Jerelle Benimon, a Georgetown transfer that ended up averaging 17 points and 11 boards. With sharpshooter Four McGlynn eligible this season, the Tigers could end up being even more dangerous this year.
Weber State: The Wildcats lost Damian Lillard, Scott Bamforth and Frank Otis in the last two years, but with Davion Berry, a Big Sky Player of the Year candidate, leading a team with one of the better front lines at the mid-major level — you might have heard of Kyle Tresnak but keep an eye on Joel Bolomboy — Weber State is favored to finally win a Big Sky title.
Wright State: The Raiders were one of the most surprising teams in the country last season, finishing third in the Horizon and coming a few possessions from making the NCAA tournament after getting picked dead last in the preseason. Wright State brings back all five starters from that team.