Central Connecticut State

Wagner adds former Central Connecticut State star Obie Nwadike as a grad assistant

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While he may have played his college basketball at Wagner, there’s a good chance that fans familiar with the program remember former Central Connecticut State forward Obie Nwadike.

In four seasons at CCSU Nwadike proved to be one of the best rebounders in school history (despite being 6-4), grabbing 980 caroms as a Blue Devil. After playing overseas for four seasons ( in Luxembourg and Spain) Nwadike has decided to move into the coaching ranks, and on Friday it was announced that Wagner’s hired him as a graduate assistant.

Nwadike, who played his high school ball at St. Anthony H.S. in Jersey City for Bob Hurley Sr., also managed to score more than 1,200 points at CCSU. His addition to the staff can only help the Wagner front line as the Seahawks begin the task of accounting for the loss of leading rebounder Jonathon Williams (6.4 rpg).

Wagner got its work done on the glass as a unit last season, with four players averaging between 4.3 (forward Orlando Parker and guard Kenneth Ortiz) and 6.4 (Williams) rebounds per game. As a result the Seahawks were one of the NEC’s best rebounding teams in 2012-13, finishing the season ranked second in rebounding margin (+3.5) and third in both offensive (34.9%) and defensive (69.5%) rebounding percentages.

But with Williams no longer in the picture, senior center Naofall Folahan (3.2 rpg) is one interior player who will be asked to do more on the glass in 2013-14. Folahan finished the season with rebounding percentages of 10.5 (offensive) and 15.6 (defensive), meaning that he was productive on the boards when in the game. But he played an average of just 14.6 minutes per game as a junior so the questions now are: can he earn more playing time, and can he produce at that level with more minutes?

Maybe the addition of Nwadike can help when it comes to Folahan’s development, and if the big man improves the Seahawks will have a better chance against perennial favorites LIU Brooklyn and Robert Morris this winter.

Kyle Vinales won’t leave Central Connecticut State after all

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When it was announced just over a month ago that Central Connecticut State leading scorer Kyle Vinales would look to transfer, the biggest factor in his decision was a desire to reach postseason play.

Vinales, who averaged nearly 22 points per game as a sophomore, at one point tweeted his decision to transfer to Toledo only to reconsider that move the following day.

Toledo was certainly an interesting destination given the fact that they haven’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1980. But to be fair, Tod Kowalczyk and his staff have things headed in the right direction after being ineligible for postseason play in 2012-13 due to APR issues.

The “where will Vinales attend school next year” saga reached its end on Friday, as it was reported by Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant that Vinales will return to Howie Dickenman’s program for his junior season.

“I called Coach Dickenman on Thursday to ask if my scholarship was still available.  He said that it was,” Vinales said on Friday in a statement released by the school.

“I made a mistake and this process has taught me what is really important.  I learned that my teammates are my brothers and that this coaching staff and school truly care about my future and about me.  You don’t find that everywhere and I realize that now.”

To say the least this is big news for CCSU, which lost small forward Adonis Burbage (10.3 ppg; transfer) at the end of the 2012-13 season. With Vinales back in the fold the Blue Devils will return their top two scorers from a season ago, as 6-5 forward Matt Hunter will look to build upon a season in which he averaged 15.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

But for as positive as this change of heart is from a skill standpoint, Vinales may have some work to do in the locker room when it comes to regaining the trust of a group he decided to leave a month ago.

“Kyle knows that he has some work to do to earn back some of the trust of his teammates, but I believe he is sincere in doing that,” Dickenman said in the statement.

“He is committed to what he needs to do to make this right. We didn’t have any ill will towards Kyle when he decided to leave, and now that he has been through that process we are happy that he will be a Blue Devil for the rest of his career.  He’s a hard worker, and now the work continues for next season.”

Does CCSU have enough firepower to challenge the likes of LIU Brooklyn, Robert Morris and Wagner in the Northeast Conference next season? That remains to be seen, but the return of Vinales won’t hurt their chances.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.