In mid-April Louisiana Tech announced the addition of guard Jermaine Ruttley for the 2015-16 season, with the former Florida A&M player eligible to compete immediately for the Bulldogs. Then the coaching carousel got going, with Michael White moving on to Florida and Dusty May, who some Louisiana Tech players wanted to take over, heading to Gainesville as well.
As a result Ruttley reopened his recruitment, and Saturday morning it was reported by ESPN.com that he’s decided to attend Arkansas-Little Rock. News of Ruttley’s commitment was originally reported Friday night, but that proved to be premature.
The 6-foot-3 Ruttley averaged 17.4 points per game at Florida A&M last season after playing at Kaskaskia Community College. In announcing the addition of Ruttley to the program, Louisiana Tech stated that Florida A&M was working with them and the NCAA to ensure that Ruttley would be eligible to compete immediately due to a possible postseason ban for academic progress rate issues.
Now that Ruttley has picked UALR, the Trojans will likely need similar cooperation to ensure that the high-scoring guard can take the floor in 2015-16. UALR, which has a new head coach in Chris Beard, returns its top two scorers from last season in guard Josh Hagins and forward Roger Woods.
Ruttley is the fourth addition to the UALR program, joining junior college transfers Jalen Jackson and Lis Shoshi and freshman Tyson Batiste.
Louisiana Tech made a move to shore up its backcourt rotation this weekend as the school announced the signing of Florida A&M transfer Jermaine Ruttley.
The 6-foot-3 Ruttley was the third-leading scorer in the MEAC last season at 17.4 points per game and he also led the Rattlers at 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
“Jermaine brings us age and immediate Division 1 experience in the backcourt,” Louisiana Tech head coach Mike White said in the release. “He is a proven scorer and he has also been a tremendous rebounding and defensive guard at both the junior college and D1 levels. We are very excited to have added to him to our roster as he will be ready to contribute right away.”
According to the official release from the school, Ruttley could be immediately eligible next season because of APR sanctions that Florida A&M is facing.
“The Rattlers have granted Ruttley his release and also provided documentation to LA Tech in support of Ruttley being eligible to compete immediately. However, the Bulldogs must still await confirmation from the NCAA,” the release said.
With the Bulldogs having a lot of unproven players in their back court for next season, besides Alex Hamilton, Ruttley could slide in as the team’s new starting point guard. A former junior college transfer, Ruttley really got rolling at the end of last season as he scored at least 17 points in each of Florida A&M’s final 10 games.
Florida A&M junior guard Jermaine Ruttley, one of the MEAC’s top players, will transfer, according to a report from Jordan Culver of the Tallahassee Democrat.
The 6-foot-3 guard was the third-leading scorer in the MEAC at 17.4 points per game while also averaging a team-leading 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Ruttley scored at least 17 points in each of the final 10 games of the season and could help a number of different programs in need of bucket getters.
Ruttley shot 45 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3-point range and averaged 33 minutes a contest for the Rattlers. A former junior college transfer, Ruttley will have one year left of eligibility.
Introduced as the new head coach at Florida A&M in mid-June, Byron Samuels doesn’t have the easiest of rebuilding jobs in front of his as the Rattlers prepare for the 2014-15 season. Florida A&M is coming off a season in which they finished 14-18, going 8-8 in MEAC play, and with their top four scorers from that team having moved on the Rattlers have some questions to answer with regards to offensive production.
There’s also the program’s ban from postseason play due to its Academic Progress Rate numbers, meaning that the program can ill afford any missteps in the academic department. And with this being the case, it was announced Friday that two players are no longer with the program due to issues with their junior college transcripts.
According to the Journal News of Westchester County, New York, former Westchester CC products Jamell Walker and Damien Davis had their scholarships pulled as a result of the wrongdoing, which also cost a former Westchester CC assistant coach his job earlier this month.
WCC assistant basketball coach Richard Fields was fired Oct. 16 after admitting he provided a phony transcript for Walker and forged the signature of an administrator on an eligibility form for Walker, said WCC spokesman Pat Hennessey. Walker and Davis were juniors at FAMU, an NCAA Division I program in Tallahassee, Florida.
“He manufactured a fake transcript,” Hennessey said of Fields. “Jamell took one course here. The transcript said he earned a full degree and graduated.”
Davis’ transcript reflects “significantly more credits that he actually earned here,” said Hennessey, without being more specific. He did not say who WCC believed was responsible for altering Davis’ academic record.
With the departures that came as a result of the team being banned from postseason play, Samuels had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time in putting together a roster for the 2014-15 season. Losing two bodies doesn’t help matters, with FAMU now down to 11 players on its updated roster. Florida A&M was picked to finish last in the MEAC preseason coaches poll earlier this month.
Facing a postseason ban in both football and men’s basketball due to low APR scores, Florida A&M will take a second look over each sport’s score in an attempt to reverse the NCAA’s postseason ban, according to a report from St. Clair Murraine of the Tallahassee Democrat.
New Rattlers head coach Byron Samuels has already lost players to transfer because of the APR ruling and the coach is also facing an uphill battle bringing in new recruits thanks to the postseason ban.
Florida A&M athletic director Kellen Winslow has already helped the school launch an appeal before the postseason sanctions were announced in April.
“We are going to look at every detail, turn every rock and try to find every point we possibly can,” Winslow said to the Tallahassee Democrat. “Will the adjustments be enough to move the needle? We don’t know, but we have to look at it.”
So why the second attempt from the school? The Rattlers had a similar APR situation last season with their volleyball program and the NCAA eventually reversed a verdict in the school’s favor.
Now, the football and men’s basketball program will wait it out and see if either program can re-gain postseason eligibility.
The men’s basketball program is already facing a tough task next season as the team graduated six seniors, including leading scorers Jamie Adams (17.2 ppg) and Reggie Lewis (12.7 ppg).
Without the ability to play in the postseason, Florida A&M has zero recruiting leverage on its MEAC counterparts, since so many prospective student-athletes want to play in postseason tournaments. This is something to keep an eye on this summer.
To follow along with the 2014 Coaching Carousel, click here.
Florida A&M, which relieved Clemon Johnson of his head coach duties in mid-April, has completed its head coaching search with the school announcing Thursday night that Byron Samuels has been hired. Samuels served as basketball operations coordinator at Georgia last season, and this will be his third head coaching job at the Division I level.
Samuels, who was also an assistant on Jerry Green’s staff at Tennessee from 1997-2001, served as head coach at Hampton from 1995-97 and at Radford from 2002-07. Samuels posted a record of 75-123 at those two stops, with Hampton going through the process of transitioning to the Division I level at the time.
Samuels will have his work cut out for him at Florida A&M next season, with the Rattlers losing leading scorers Jamie Adams (17.2 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Reggie Lewis (12.7 ppg). In total FAMU will have to account for the departure of six graduating seniors.
Florida A&M filling its vacancy means that two Division I head coaching jobs remain open: Marist, which recently lost Jeff Bower to the Detroit Pistons (general manager), and Mississippi Valley State.