Buffalo adds former Alabama State guard Josh Freelove

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First-year Buffalo head coach Bobby Hurley has the fortune of taking over a program that features arguably the best player in the Mid-American Conference in senior forward Javon McCrea. McCrea led the Bulls with averages of 18.0 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, and he’s the early favorite in some circles to grab league Player of the Year honors.

But as evidenced by the Bulls’ 14-20 record, it can’t be McCrea doing all of the heavy lifting by himself if Buffalo is to improve its standing within the tough East Division of the MAC. Buffalo landed some help on Friday, as it was announced that former Alabama State guard Josh Freelove has joined the program and is eligible to play immediately.

Freelove’s name may be familiar to diehard MAC basketball fans, as he spent his freshman campaign at Toledo before transferring to Lewis and Clark CC (Ill.). As a junior at Alabama State, Freelove averaged 13.6 points per game on 46.1% shooting from the field.

Of Buffalo’s top four scorers from a season ago just one (guard Tony Watson II) doesn’t return, and in theory Freelove should be able to account for Watson’s graduation. With McCrea leading the way the pieces are in place for coach Hurley to make a splash in his debut season. But given how well programs like Akron and Ohio have performed in recent years, making that move up the MAC pecking order is easier said than done.

Former Marshall forward Jamir Hanner transferring to Buffalo

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With Javon McCrea and Cameron Downing entering their senior campaign at Buffalo, first-year head coach Bobby Hurley can use some additional front court depth that will benefit the Bulls in 2014.

Hurley’s numbers received a boost on Friday afternoon, as it was reported by Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com that former Marshall forward Jamir Hanner has decided to transfer to Buffalo.

After sitting out the 2013-14 season Hanner, who was originally a Seton Hall commit, will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Hanner averaged just over seven minutes per game in his two seasons at Marshall, but it’s important to note that his time in Huntington coincided with that of players such as Elijah Pittman (16.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg in 2012-13) and Dennis Tinnon (10.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg).

With those players getting the majority of the minutes under Tom Herrion, there wasn’t much playing time available for Hanner.

As a sophomore Hanner averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest, with his most productive outing being a 12-point, seven-rebound night in a loss at Ohio on January 5.

Hanner joins a front court that will include the likes of McCrea (18.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Will Regan (11.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) next season, and the opportunity to practice every day against one of the best forwards in the Mid-American Conference (McCrea) should help the Philadelphia native improve his skill set.

Once eligible the following year, Hanner will join Regan, Xavier Ford and Indian Hills CC transfer Justin Moss (9.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg in his lone season at Indian Hills) in the Buffalo rotation.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.