A busy summer for first-year head coach Steve Forbes continued on Monday, as East Tennessee State welcomed in its third transfer.
Deuce Bello, the former Baylor and Missouri guard, elected to use his final season of eligibility with the Buccaneers. Chris Dortch and Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports both reported the news on Monday evening. Bello is eligible to play in the 2015-16 season.
Bello joins former Cincinnati guard Ge’Lawn Guyn and ex-Indiana center Hanner Mosquera-Perea, who was dismissed from the program back in May. While Mosquera-Perea must sit a year, Guyn is also immediately eligible. Peter Jurkin, another former IU product, will also resume his collegiate career after sitting out the 2014-15 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Bello averaged only 1.8 points and 1.0 rebounds per game in his final season with the Tigers and missed time due to academic reasons. The 6-foot-4 Bello has never lived up to his four-star rating — No. 54 overall by Rivals in the Class of 2011 — coming out of high school, but he is a gifted athlete who could make an impact in the Southern Conference.
Just over two weeks after he was dismissed from the Indiana basketball program, forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea has found a new school.
Mosquera-Perea will complete his eligibility at East Tennessee State, sitting out the 2015-16 season before having one year to play in 2016-17 for new head coach Steve Forbes. News of Mosquera-Perea’s transfer was first reported by ESPN.com, and he’s expected to enroll in summer session classes next week.
Mosquera-Perea averaged 6.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 19.4 minutes per game in 2014-15, starting 22 of the 26 games in which he played. However his time in Bloomington came to an end May 14, as head coach Tom Crean announced that both Mosquera-Perea and forward Devin Davis were dismissed from the program for “not living up to their responsibilities to the program.”
Davis was cited for marijuana possession a few days prior to the dismissal, with Mosquera-Perea present in the dorm room at the time but not cited by authorities.
Mosquera-Perea is the second former Indiana player to join the ETSU program, with 7-footer Peter Jurkin doing so prior to the 2014-15 season. Jurkin, who sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules, will be a redshirt junior in 2015-16. When Mosquera-Perea becomes eligible to play, the Buccaneers will also have junior college transfer Nigel Holley and 6-foot-10 Karl Overstreet in their interior rotation.
The 6-foot-10 Overstreet, who completed his prep career at Hargrave Military Academy, redshirted in 2014-15.
Wichita State assistant Steve Forbes to take over at East Tennessee State
Forbes has spent the past two seasons with the Shockers, helping to lead them to a 35-0 start last year and the Sweet 16 this season. He was with Tennessee for five years before getting caught up in the penalties that came down on Bruce Pearl in 2011. He spent 2011-2013 as the head coach at Northwest Florida State, a JuCo powerhouse.
Forbes replace Murry Bartow, who spent 12 years as the head coach of the Buccaneers. Bartow made back-to-back NCAA tournaments in 2009 and 2010, but he hasn’t finished better than fourth in league play since 2011.
This move is interesting timing. An official announcement is expected to come on the same day as Tennessee, Forbes’ former employer, made the firing of head coach Donnie Tyndall official. It also comes at a time when Gregg Marshall’s status at Wichita State is up in the air. Marshall has been a hot coaching name for three years now, and with major offers rolling in, this may be the year that he ends up leaving Kansas.
East Tennessee State has opted to part ways with longtime head coach Murry Bartow, according to multiple reports. The 53-year-old Bartow has been in charge of the Buccaneers since the 2003-04 season and made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2004, 2009 and 2010 with the program.
The NCAA Tournament appearances slowed down for East Tennessee State in recent years, however, as they’ve only made the CIT twice in the last five seasons. The Buccaneers bowed out of the Southern Conference Tournament quarterfinals with an overtime loss to Western Carolina and finished the season 16-14 and 8-10 in conference play this season. East Tennessee finished the season losers of four consecutive games.
Bartow was 224-169 during his tenure at East Tennessee State and oversaw the program in both the SoCon and Atlantic Sun. The head coach maintained a career conference record of 127-81 between the two leagues at the school.
Also a former head coach at UAB, Bartow has a 317-238 career mark in 18 seasons as a head coach. Bartow has also spent time as an assistant coach at Indiana, William & Mary and UAB.
2014-15 Southern Conference Preview: Wofford, Chattanooga favored in Davidson’s absence
No league underwent as much of a makeover during this offseason as the Southern Conference. Four of the league’s 11 teams departed to different leagues this offseason, with Elon, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State departing for football purposes. The biggest hit, however, was the loss of Davidson, the league’s marquee program, to the Atlantic 10. That hurt, but the good news is that the three programs joining the conference this season — Mercer, East Tennessee State and VMI — all have quality basketball programs. Losing Steph Curry’s alma mater is tough to overcome, but the league may actually be tougher in the future with the new additions.
Everyone should be aware of Mercer. The Bears beat out Florida-Gulf Coast for the Atlantic Sun’s automatic bid last season, and they made the most of their NCAA tournament trip by knocking off No. 3 seed Duke in the opening round. But the Bears lose seven seniors and five starters from last year’s team, meaning that their first year in the SoCon will be spent in regrouping mode. VMI loses two of their three leading scorers, who averaged a combined 39.0 points, but they bring back sophomore Q.J. Peterson and bring back a roster that should allow them to be a factor in the league title race. The third new addition is East Tennessee State, who returns back court stars Rashawn Rembert and Jalen Riley, who should start this season, but will have to find a way to replace their front court.
The favorite in the SoCon this season will be Wofford, who played their way into the NCAA tournament a season ago by winning the league’s automatic bid despite finishing third in the regular season. Mike Young’s club returns essentially their enter roster from a season ago, a year that saw Young start ten different players at least five times during the regular season. It took Wofford awhile to find their rhythm last year, part of the reason that Young used so many different lineups, but once he found up that worked, the Terriers finished the season strong. Karl Cochran and Spencer Collins will anchor the back court, while Lee Skinner will be their biggest interior presence.
It won’t be easy for the Terriers, however, as Will Wade’s Chattanooga program will enter their second season playing ‘Chaos’. Wade is a member of Shaka Smart’s coaching tree, meaning that his goal is to eventually get the Mocs playing the full-court, all-out pressing style that has allowed VCU to be so successful. Wade is starting to get his players into the program, and while last season saw Chattanooga forced into more zone and half-court defense than Wade would have liked, this season will bring much more pressure and … chaos. Casey Jones and Rico White are the two players that will anchor the back court, but the guy to keep an eye on is Justin Tuoyo, a 6-foot-10 transfer that followed Wade from Richmond.
One team to keep an eye on is Furman. The Palladins were just 3-13 in the league last season, but they have a young and promising back court, headlined by Stephen Croome. Keep an eye on William Gates, the son of the star of the movie ‘Hoop Dreams’, who had a promising freshman season despite battling knee issues much of the year.
PRESEASON SOCON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Karl Cochran, Wofford
Cochran averaged 15.7 points and 5.0 boards as a junior, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that he’s just a 6-foot-1 guard. The leading scorer and best player on the Terriers, Cochran only started 22 of Wofford’s 33 games a season ago.
THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-SOCON TEAM:
Q.J. Peterson, VMI, So.: VMI’s system allows players to put up huge numbers, but Peterson averaged 19.0 points as a freshman.
Stephen Croome, Furman, Jr.: The 6-foot-0 guard averaged 19.1 points and 3.7 assists while helping change the culture of the Palladin program.
Lee Skinner, Wofford, Sr.: An undersized power forward, Skinner is the heart and soul of this year’s Wofford team.
Casey Jones, Chattanooga, Jr.: The leading returning scorer for the Mocs, Jones is a 6-foot-5 forward that should fit well into the ‘Chaos’ system Will Wade runs.
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3. East Tennessee State
7. Western Carolina
8. UNC Greensboro
9. The Citadel
Jurkin is a seven-foot native of Sudan that spent two seasons playing with the Hoosiers, although playing may be a bit too friendly. Jurkin saw 18 minutes of action in two years, scoring a grand total of two points in his career. A lot of that had to do with injuries, but given the amount of depth that Indiana was returning on their front line, Jurkin’s minutes weren’t likely to change this season.
ETSU is a traditionally strong program that will return to play in the Southern Conference. The Bucs won 19 games last season.
Jurkin will be eligible to play in the 2015-2016 season. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.