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Report: Former VCU big man Mo Alie-Cox signed by Indianapolis Colts

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Former VCU power forward Mo Alie-Cox will try his hand at football as ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported on Thursday that he signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Alie-Cox spent four years playing college hoops at VCU as he averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season. At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, Alie-Cox was undersized to be a bruising forward like he was in the Atlantic 10 but he has great size to play tight end in the NFL as he’ll try to stick behind Colts starting tight end Jack Doyle.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen college basketball players transition to tight end as others like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates have done it before.

It’ll be interesting to see if Alie-Cox can make the switch to football because it is a pattern we should continue to see with undersized college forwards in the future.

DeJon Jarreau and Brison Gresham to transfer from UMass

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UMass took a major hit to its rebuilding efforts on Wednesday as the rising sophomore duo of Dejon Jarreau and Brison Gresham announced they were transferring.

Jarreau and Gresham were a pair of highly-touted recruits from Louisiana when former head coach Derek Kellogg landed them to play for the Minutemen.

Thriving from the start, the 6-foot-5 Jarreau put up 9.8 points and a team-leading 4.5 assists per game last season while shooting 44 percent from the field while the 6-foot-9 Gresham averaged 3.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

Both players will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting three more years of eligibility. Since the duo from New Orleans committed together as a package deal the first time around, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the duo also stay together when they transfer to a new program.

VCU lands huge transfer in Rice guard Marcus Evans

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VCU landed one of the best transfers available on Monday as Rice guard Marcus Evans pledged to the Rams. The 6-foot-2 Evans is a native of Chesapeake, Virginia as he’ll be returning closer to home to finish out his college career. Evans will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more seasons of eligibility with VCU.

Evans scored 1,350 points at Rice over the last two seasons as he was one of the best players in Conference USA. As a sophomore last season, Evans averaged 19.0 points, 3.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game as he shot 42 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range.

With more help around him, Evans should be counted on to be an immediate impact scorer in the Atlantic 10 as he’s an important recruiting win for new head coach Mike Rhoades.

Rhoades previously recruited Evans to Rice and coached him the past two seasons, so there should be an immediate comfort level between the two.

Rhode Island junior E.C. Matthews will return to school

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Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.

Duquesne fires head coach Jim Ferry

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Duquesne has decided to remove head coach Jim Ferry from the position after five years, the school announced on Monday.

The Dukes finished last in the Atlantic 10 this season with a 3-15 conference mark as they were 10-22 overall. Ferry went 60-97 in his five years with the school and was 21-65 in Atlantic 10 play.

“In consultation with President Ken Gormley, we have decided to make a change in leadership for the men’s basketball program at Duquesne University,” Duquesne Director of Athletics Dave Harper said in the release. “I would like to thank Jim Ferry for his efforts and work the last five years. Jim is a great person and we wish him the best with his future endeavors.”

The 49-year-old Ferry made the CBI with Duquesne last season as the team went 17-17. That was the best season the Dukes had in five years with Ferry in charge as they could never seem to turn things around. Also the head coach at 10 years at Long Island, Ferry made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances with the Blackbirds in 2011 and 2012.

Rhode Island takes down VCU to claim the Atlantic 10 Tournament title

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Rhode Island made sure they were guaranteed entry into the 2017 NCAA tournament on Sunday as the Rams took down VCU, 70-63, to claim the Atlantic 10 Tournament title.

By nailing down the automatic bid, Rhode Island not only assures themselves a bid into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999 but they also won’t have to play in a First Four game in Dayton since they won’t be an at-large team just barely entering the field.

The Rams (24-9) never trailed on Sunday as they claimed their eighth consecutive victory by beating VCU for the second time this season. One of the hotter teams in the country entering the NCAA tournament, Rhode Island was led by 20 points from guard Jared Terrell while guard E.C. Matthews added 19 points, including a huge bucket to make it a two-possession game with under a minute left. Hassan Martin also finished with 11 points for the Rams.

Since they were potentially the last at-large team in the field if they had lost, Rhode Island’s win likely keeps teams like USC and Illinois State out of the NCAA tournament based on the consensus opinion of bracketologists. Now that the Rams don’t have to play in a First Four game as one of the last four at-large teams they’re also a potentially dangerous double-digit seed that not a lot of teams are going to want to play.

Terrell and Matthews are one of the better backcourts in the field (especially for a double-digit seed) and Martin and Kuran Iverson are solid options up front. With a veteran point guard in Jarvis Garrett, this team is going to be a tough out.

While Rhode Island hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament in the 2000s this group did gain some postseason experience by playing in the NIT in 2015.

VCU (26-8) is still safely in the NCAA tournament as the Atlantic 10 will now have three teams in the field. The Rams only shot 32 percent from the field but they were able to stay in the game by pounding the offensive glass (23 offensive rebounds) and forcing some late turnovers using their trademark Havoc defense.

JeQuan Lewis led VCU with 15 points while forward Justin Tillman finished with 10 points and 17 rebounds. As a probably 7-through-10 seed, the Rams are never fun to deal with in a postseason setting since not many teams press like they do.

It’ll be interesting to see who VCU draws in the field and it that press will be an advantage for them.