Entering their first season as a member of Conference USA, the Old Dominion Monarchs don’t have a great amount of depth in their front court. With leading scorer and rebounder DeShawn Painter (13.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg) having graduated, first-year head coach Jeff Jones was essentially down to two upperclassmen (senior Anton Larsen and junior and Richard Ross; Nik Beribaj has to sit out the season as a transfer) and freshman Denzell Taylor in the paint.
On Friday the school announced that the Monarchs have added a piece to the rotation in the form of 6-7 junior power forward Josue Ebondo, who last season played at Garden City CC in Kansas.
“Ebondo is a versatile forward with a 7-1 wing span and can guard multiple positions,” Jones said in the release. He is an outstanding rebounder and will add much needed front court depth. We are excited to have Joe join our program.“
ODU struggled mightily last season, winning just five games in their final season as a member of the CAA. Head coach Blaine Taylor was relieved of his duties during the season, and the Monarchs ranked in the bottom half of the CAA in most of the major statistical categories both offensively and defensively.
In addition to having to remedy those issues coach Jones and his staff will also have to become familiar with a new league. The good news for Old Dominion is that guards Aaron Bacote, Dmitri Batten and Keenan Palmore are back, giving the Monarchs three perimeter players capable of being productive in the program’s C-USA debut.
How much the team can improve upon its win total of a season ago may ultimately depend upon how well the front court plays, especially when considering their lack of depth. Even with the late addition of Ebondo, ODU is in a position where they can ill afford any injuries to their post players.