Philadelphia native Nurideen Lindsey played just nine games at St. John’s last season before determining that the Queens school wasn’t the right fit for him.
From there the process meandered a bit as it was originally thought that he’d transfer to Arkansas before ultimately landing at Rider, which is just a short trek from his hometown.
The fact that Lindsey played in nine games for the Red Storm led many to believe that he would have to sit until the end of the fall semester, but the junior received the news he was hoping for on Friday afternoon.
In those nine games Lindsey averaged 11.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, and as a freshman season he averaged 22.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists at Redlands Community College.
With the Broncs losing three of their top four scorers from last season (guard Jeff Jones and forwards Brandon Penn and Novar Gadson), this was welcome news for new head coach Kevin Baggett.
“I am happy that the NCAA has granted NurideenLindsey eligibility to be able to play at the beginning of the season,” said Baggett in the school release.
“Having Nurideen at the start of the season with his experience should help us to be able to compete with our tough non conference schedule.”
Lindsey, who enrolled in classes at Rider at the start of the spring semester, joins a group led by one of the best front court players in the MAAC in junior Danny Stewart (11.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and guards Anthony Myles (10.1 ppg) and Jonathon Thompson (8.1 ppg).
But does Lindsey’s eligibility vault Rider into the upper echelon of the MAAC? While it certainly will help, one must not ignore the talent that other expected contenders bring to the table in 2012-13.
Reigning conference tournament champion Loyola (MD) enters its farewell tour (the Greyhounds are off the the Patriot League in 2013) with three of its five starters from last season back on campus, and they have enough depth/experience to account for the transfer of 6th man Justin Drummond.
There’s also Steve Masiello’s bunch at Manhattan, a group that went ten deep last season and pulled off one of the best turnarounds in college basketball (15-win improvement from 2010-11), and Fairfield should be heard from as well with guards Derek Needham (now healthy) and Desmond Wade back.
With young teams such as Niagara (MAAC Rookie of the Year Juan’Ya Green leads Joe Mihalich’s squad) and Siena a year older and the talented wild card that is Iona (nine newcomers join Momo Jones, Sean Armand and Taaj Ridley), the MAAC is going to be a fun race to keep track of.
But the addition of Lindsey makes it even more likely that Rider has some say in who grabs the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.