Good Mix of Upperclassmen and Recruits Could Make for Better 2013-14
Flash back to last April.
It’s late in recruiting season, but the Rams manage to get a 6’ 1” Point Guard out of Blair Academy by the name of Jermaine Myers. He’ll add depth to the backcourt and compete with Fatty McMillan for minutes. The team enters the offseason on a higher note than years past; while Kervin Bristol is gone, Chris Gaston will surely have a monster senior campaign.
Above all else, Fordham is coming off a year where they beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 2000, when they took down St. John’s at MSG. Things are looking up.
This April tells a different story. Jeff Short has become the second Rams Guard to transfer in four months, after Fatty McMillan bashed the team on Twitter and left school mid-season. Are the friendly confines of the Rose Hill Gymnasium suddenly becoming unattractive to players? Or is there simply too much young talent that needs a look?
The team was able to keep Chris Gaston in the Bronx, but since then it’s been tough to hold on to players. While there have been unfortunate transfers over the past year, the idea that no one wants to play at Fordham is hardly the case.
Two years ago, the team brought in Ryan Canty, given an 82 grade by ESPN, and last year Jermaine Myers chose Rose Hill over NCAA Tournament schools like Middle Tennessee, Valparaiso, and Western Kentucky. In the winter of 2013, Fordham fans can look forward to spot-up shooter Jake Fay, and 6’ 10” Center Manny Suarez, who also drew quite a bit of interest.
In addition to those two, the school made a big splash Thursday, getting a verbal commitment from Small Forward Eric Paschall of Dobbs Ferry High School. The High School junior had offers on the table from VCU, West Virginia, Providence, and Manhattan.
The recruits have been there for the past three years now, which means one thing: Tom Pecora is doing his job well. While his record isn’t as attractive as many had hoped it would be by now, he’s assembling good talent and the upcoming season should prove to be a big step in the right direction.
In Short, you lose a three-point shooter with seemingly unlimited range, but that void can be filled. While Bryan Smith dazzled in his freshman year, it seemed as if he struggled to find his shot this past season. That wasn’t the case, though, as he actually shot 33% from beyond the arc, better than Short’s 32%. If he and Mandell Thomas (38%) can continue to shoot the three-ball well, the squad can make up for the loss. If the Rams can get good minutes from Jake Fay, the shooting may even improve.
So while it seems like the perfect time to panic, take a deep breath. With Branden Frazier at the helm, this matured group is certainly poised to improve upon their 2012-13 win total of 7. Chris Gaston may be gone, but Travion Leonard and Ryan Rhoomes’ efficient play at the 4 will fill the void. With Jeff Short out of the picture, Mandell Thomas will get his time to shine. You’ve got something to look forward to next season, although it may be hard to believe at the moment.