On the night Rhode Island begins what could be a big 2014-15 season, the team received news that 6-foot-10 forward Jordan Hare has left the program again.
This was first reported by Bill Koch of the Providence Journal on Friday evening.
Last October, Hare left the Rams for personal reasons following a freshman season where he posted averages of 5.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game during the 2012-13 season. He was ruled eligible to play this season by the NCAA two months ago.
Rhode Island finished 14-18 (5-11 Atlantic 10) last season, but in the third year of the Danny Hurley era, the Rams could make a jump into the top 5 of the conference. Rhode Island will have a talented perimeter led by A10 Co-Rookie of the Year, E.C. Matthews. Even without Hare, URI will have a trio of big men to rely on in front court. Gilvydas Biruta recorded six double-doubles last season, his first with the team while sophomore Hassan Martin will provide a defensive presence. Earl Watson, a JuCo transfer, adds another body on the interior.
Rhode Island defeated Division II Pace on Friday night, 95-65. The Rams have home contest on Sunday against UMass Lowell.
Entering his third year at the helm of the Rhode Island program, head coach Danny Hurley has stockpiled enough talent to eventually make a push toward the top of the Atlantic 10 Conference standings. Whether the Rams will do that this season, or remain a year away, they will begin the 2014-2015 season equipped with a full roster.
On Friday night, Bill Koch reported that 6-foot-10 forward Jordan Hare had been ruled eligible to play this season after being granted a waiver by the NCAA. In the spring, reports surfaced that Hare was looking to rejoin the program.
Hare missed the entire 2013-2014 season, taking a leave of absence in November before the season began. As a freshman, he averaged 5.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
The Rhode Island interior consists of former Rutgers big man Gilvydas Biruta, who averaged 10.6 points and 7.0 boards per game in his first season with the Rams, sophomore forward Hassan Martin, junior forward Ifeanyi Onyekaba and JuCo transfer Earl Watson. The Rams, which will run a three-guard set, will have one of the best perimeters in the conference led by A-10 Co-Rookie of the Year E.C. Matthews — 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game — and four-star freshman Jared Terrell.
Rhode Island finished 14-18 (5-11 A-10) this past season.
After averaging 5.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game as a freshman, Rhode Island forward Jordan Hare entered the 2013-14 season with the look of a player who could take another step forward for Dan Hurley. However that wasn’t meant to be, as Hare left the team before the start of the season to attend to personal issues.
Hare wouldn’t play in a single game for the Rams in 2013-14, a tough loss considering the fact that URI wasn’t the deepest team in the front court even with the Michigan native in the fold. The question regarding Hare was whether or not he’d return in 2014-15, and according to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal there’s a decent chance that Hare will be back in a Rhode Island uniform.
Sources close to the Rams’ program say Hare is now planning on a return to school in time for a summer session. He’ll work towards regaining his eligibility for the 2014-15 season, a goal that is within reach.
Hare would not return a phone call to discuss his status. He left the team last fall, in part to take care of his young daughter back home.
The return of Hare will certainly help Rhode Island from a depth standpoint as they look to improve their standing within the Atlantic 10. URI returns one of the better freshmen in the Atlantic 10 in forward Hassan Martin, along with veterans Gilvydas Biruta and Ifeanyi Onyekaba. Rhode Island will also add junior college transfer Earl Watson this summer.
In addition to those front court options URI will also welcome back the reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year in guard E.C. Matthews, with leading scorer Xavier Munford being their biggest personnel loss.
A number of people expect the Rhode Island Rams to make a sizable leap forward in 2013-14, with head coach Dan Hurley entering his second season and newcomers such as Gilvydas Biruta and freshmen E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin having the skills needed to make an immediate impact. But the Rams will likely begin that process without one of their returnees, as the school announced Friday that sophomore forward Jordan Hare has taken a leave of absence from the team in order to address some personal issues.
According to URI, Hare will remain enrolled at the school during his time away from the basketball program. As a freshman the 6-foot-10 Hare started 19 of the 27 games in which he played, posting averages of 5.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. His ability to block and change shots is what the Rams will miss most while Hare’s away from the team, especially with the new rules regarding contact on the perimeter and the block/charge call as it pertains to help defenders.
Hare’s best performance last season came in a 58-54 loss to Loyola (MD) on November 23, as he accounted for eight points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks in 28 minutes of action. With Biruta, Martin, sophomore Mike Aaman and redshirt freshman Ifeanyi Onyekaba at his disposal Hurley will still have options inside, but none would be considered to be a shot-blocker of Hare’s caliber.
Rhode Island opens play with an exhibition game against Southern Connecticut State tonight, and early-season contests include a game against SMU (November 11) and the possibility of facing Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off (November 19) depending upon the outcome of their respective games on the 18th. URI faces Division II power Metro State, with Arizona taking on Fairleigh Dickinson in the nightcap at McKale Center in Tucson.