While Rhode Island lost just two seniors from a team that won 13 conference games (23-10 overall) and reached the second round of the Postseason NIT, three other players won’t be back in 2015-16 either.
According to Bill Koch of the Providence Journal, guard Biggie Minnis and forwards Jarelle Reischel and Matthew Butler have been granted releases from their scholarships. While Butler just completed his sophomore season and will have to sit out at his next school, Minnis and Reischel are both expected to be graduate students eligible to compete immediately.
Minnis was the most productive of the three this season, as he accounted for 3.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. But his role diminished some due to the progression of Jarvis Garrett, and Reischel experienced a similar change in regards to his role (9.4 mpg after playing more than 19 minutes per game in 2013-14). Both players were factors in Hurley’s work to rebuild the Rhode Island program.
These moves give URI three available scholarships heading into the spring signing period, which begins April 15, and according to Koch the focus will be on adding depth in the front court. In addition to Butler and Reischel the Rams lose senior Gilvydas Biruta as well, with Ifeanyi Onyekaba, Earl Watson (redshirted in 2014-15) and Hassan Martin being the returnees in the interior.
Rhode Island has signed a front court player in 6-foot-8 three-star Leroy Butts (guard Christion Thompson is their other signee), but there’s still room for additions who can help the Rams as they look to follow up on a successful 2014-15. Expected to be a spoiler in the Atlantic 10, URI wound up contending for the conference title and they finished a game behind Davidson (tied with Dayton for second) in the A-10 standings.