Two big men’s basketball transfers
Rob Murphy is wasting little time in putting his mark on the EMU men’s basketball team in a big way. Shortly after his hiring was announced, Darren Washington of Father Gabriel Richard School (Ann Arbor) asked for and received a release from his commitment to the Eagles. Washington’s father said that “Dr. [Derrick] Gragg was very professional. It was not a battle, Dr. Gragg understood…you want to be somewhere where you were recruited. It was a stress-free release, everyone was very professional.” This was a good move by EMU; it’s not beneficial to anyone to force a player to come who doesn’t want to be there, and who possibly isn’t wanted by the coaches, plus it’s simply the right thing to do when there’s a coaching change.
The loss of 6’9″ Washington from the incoming recruiting class left an opening for a big man at EMU, and this week he added not one, but two bigs, both transferring from much bigger programs. Yesterday, Murphy picked up Glen Bryant, a 6’7″ sophomore forward, originally from Detroit, who averaged 4.1 points in 12.9 minutes for the Arkansas Razorbacks last year. Today, Murphy followed it up by signing DaShonte Riley, a 7-foot sophomore center, also from Detroit, who averaged 1.4 points and 1.5 rebounds per game for the Syracuse Orange, Murphy’s former team, in 2009-10 before sitting out last year with a foot injury. Riley is expected to seek a hardship exemption from the NCAA to let him play immediately at EMU.
I’ve written many times that a basketball team can be turned around much faster than a football team. One or two key players have a much larger impact on the team, and freshman and sophomores tend to contribute more, compared to what we usually see in football. Over the past few years, I’ve offered that as an argument for giving Ron English more time to improve the EMU football team, but today, I raise the issue in the hope — and expectation — that the men’s basketball team will prove the statement to be true.