Monday, May 27, 2013

New Knight: Arthur Talley G/F 6-6 175 jr.

After researching Arthur Talley, can I suggest we bring Steve Bohen back as Gannon's public address announcer? Bohen, who first called "Three for three!" when sharpshooter Chris Hollan (#3) would connect from downtown, would have a field day with Talley. His nickname is "Tee" and he's "Arthur Talley III," so Bohen could say "Tee for three!", "III for three!", and even "Tee III for three!" We could all have our minds blown if C.J. Oldham gives up uniform #3 to Talley.

Talley, one of five new Knights listed on the PSAC Letters of Intent web page, is more evidence of a theme developing in this year's recruiting class. John Reilly seems to be going after hard working, high energy scorers in the 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-7 range, and he'll teach them to defend and rebound relentlessly. I haven't seen any Dmitry Martynenko or Tanner Furno-like post players in this year's class. To date, I have these seven players scheduled to attend Gannon. I'm sure at least a couple of them will redshirt:

* Matthew Dogan G 6-6 fr.
* Brandon Domenick G 5-9 fr.
* Marcus Jones G 6-1 fr.
* Girbran Smith G 6-5 jr.
* Arthur "Tee" Talley G/F 6-6 jr.
* Raphell Thomas-Edwards F 6-6 jr.
* Nolan Woodward F 6-5 fr.

 Here's background info on Talley:
* Gannon will be Talley's third school in three years. He played juco ball at NJCAA Division III Montgomery-Germantown (Md.) before transferring to Division I Frederick (Md.) Community College. 
* Helped Frederick to a 21-10 record, ranking second on the team in scoring (16.3 ppg) and first in rebounding (8.6 rpg). 
* Connected on 41% of his three-point attempts (44-of-108) and 46% of his field goals overall. Shot well at the free throw line (78%, 86-for-111).
* Also registered 30 blocks, 20 steals, 30 assists, and 47 turnovers in 28 games.
* He ranked 2,004th in NJCAA play in total fouls with 50. That stat is completely meaningless, but I rarely get a chance to say someone's ranked 2,004th in anything.
* Exploded for several big games at FCC, including 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting vs. Globe Institute of Technology and 27 vs. Prince George's Community College. (Side note: Much to my chagrin, Globe's nickname is the Knights, not the Trotters. Probably a copyright infringement thing. But check out Globe's home gym in this photo. Old school for sure!)
* Scored 20+ points in 11 games.
* Scored in double figures the last 13 games of his juco career, including 24 in FCC's season finale loss to Hagerstown Community College in the NJCAA Region XX semifinal. 
* This game writeup says that Talley scored 17 points, but the real reason I'm sharing it is for Chesapeake College's nickname: the Skipjacks.
* FCC teammate Markee Mazyck, a 6-foot-5 forward who averaged 22.5 ppg, will play at Austin Peay next year.
* At Montgomery, Talley averaged 14.9 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.1 assists, and an outrageous 3.8 blocks per game.
* Hit on 46% of his field goals, 33% of his threes (18-for-55), and made 66% of his free throws (66-for-100).
* The only stat of his at Montgomery that will make Gannon fans frown is 3.2 turnovers a game.
* At Tuscarora (Md.) High School, Talley was named first-team all-area by the Frederick News-Post and first-team all-Chespeake Conference. He was also MVP of the Frederick County Roundball Classic.
* This game article from 2008 references Talley as a "backup center" who hit the game-winning free throws as a sophomore. 
* According to this web page, he was also as wide receiver/defensive back on the Tuscarora football team.
* This compilation of video highlights from his high school and AAU days shows he's not afraid to go after the basketball. You have to watch the whole video to see a thundering slam dunk by Talley.
* You only have to wait 7 seconds to see a putback slam by Talley in this video.
* If you want to see complete games of Talley at Frederick, click here for the videos. We don't have another Gannon game for six months, so you have plenty of time to watch them between now and late November.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Knight: Girbran Smith G 6-4 175 jr.

Gannon is going international. The PSAC Letters of Intent web page confirms that Girbran Smith, a 6-foot-4 guard from Nassau, The Bahamas, will be a member of the GU program this fall. Among the other non-American newcomers he'll join at Gannon will be Raphell Thomas-Edwards (United Kingdom), Marcus Jones (Brantford, Ont.), and Nolan Woodward (Montreal).

But it's not like John Reilly grabbed a bottle of sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses to recruit Smith. The soon-to-be junior starred last year at Kankakee Community College in Illinois and played scholastically at Seton Academy near Chicago. Here's all the info I could dig up on Smith:

* Named second team all-region at Kankakee after leading the club in scoring (14.2 ppg), three-pointers made (59), and steals (2 spg).
* Was second on the team in rebounding (5.5 ppg) and in blocks (1 bpg) while shooting 46.7% from the field (158-of-338), 41.8% on threes (59-for-141), and 65.7% from the foul line (65-of-99).
* Played in 31 games, starting 30, and posted a decent 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio (78 assists, 50 turnovers).
* So statistically speaking he seems to be an all-around player offensively. He can shoot the three, but fewer than 50% of his field goal attempts were from beyond the arc. And he made it to the free throw line about 3 or 4 times a game.
* Erupted for 29 points in back-to-back games in early December, making 22-of-37 field goals and 12-of-23 three-pointers. Partway down this web page from South Suburban College, Smith's exploits vs. the Bulldogs on Dec. 6 are detailed. I'm amused that all field goals behind the arc are described as "3" point shots. Never seen the number in quote marks before.
* Eclipsed the 20-point mark six times during his sophomore season at KCC.
* In the Region IV championship game, a 91-81 loss to Malcom X College, he led the Cavaliers with 17 points.
* Kankakee finished the season a deceptive 14-18. On the court they won 20 games, but had to forfeit 6 or 7 victories because of an ineligible player.
* And if you still can't get enough of Kankakee Community College basketball, this will link you to their 2012-13 media guide that includes a few photos of Smith. The quote from his coach describes the kind of guy I like seeing in a Golden Knight uniform: "Girbran has a smooth game. He can do everything on the floor and works really hard both on and off the court."
* Gannon will be Smith's third college in three years. After his freshman year at Rock Valley College, Smith and three of his teammates followed coach Julian Springer to Kankakee. (Let's hope that story doesn't motivate any players on the Gannon women's basketball team to follow suit.)
* Was a highly productive frosh, averaging 11.5 ppg and 4.1 rpg. Made 37% of his three-point attempts (28-of-76), 51% of his overall field goals (132-for-260), and 75% of his foul shots (64-for-85). He recorded 42 steals (1.3 pg) and 63 turnovers in 31 games for the Golden Eagles.
* Smith scored 25 points in a win over Harper College (Ill.) according to this web page. To be honest with you, the main reason I'm sharing this link is because I think I'm the only human in Erie who owns a long-sleeved T-shirt, hooded sweatshirt, pennant, and bumper sticker from Harper College. It's a long story as you might imagine.
* I searched every corner of the internet for data on Smith at Seton Academy High School but couldn't find anything. So here's a link to the school. That's the best I could do. Sorry. Let me know if you'd like a full refund.
* As far as photos, here's a head-and-shoulders shot of Smith and a picture of him defending during a Kankakee game at Danville (Ill.).

Saturday, May 11, 2013

New Knight: Raphell Thomas-Edwards F 6-6 240 jr.

When Duke legend Bobby Hurley was named head men's basketball coach at the University of Buffalo in late March, it never crossed my mind that his hiring could benefit the Gannon hoops program. But according to CBSSports.com, 6-foot-6 forward Raphell Thomas-Edwards is transferring from Division I UB to GU.

Thomas-Edwards, a native of Leicester, England, will be the answer to several Gannon basketball trivia questions:
* He's only the fourth Knight with a hyphenated last name. The others include Zaid Al-Khas (1998-2001), Mikael Ibanez-Lavesson (1995-96), and Clinton Springer-Williams (2011-12).
* I believe he's Gannon's first-ever player from the United Kingdom. The Knights have had their fair share of international players -- Al-Khas (Jordan), Ibanez-Lavesson (Sweden), Yoav Kadman (Israel), Akol Tong (Sudan), and Nick Rovis (Croatia) -- but never one from England as far as I know.
* But he is not the first University of Buffalo player to transfer to GU. Big man Kris Roets was Street & Smith's MAC preseason player of the year for the 1993-94 season, but ended up at Gannon for two campaigns (1994-1996) where he recorded 243 points. Updated 5/12/13: An astute Gannon fan just shot me an email saying that Al-Khas transferred from UB as well, which is 100% correct. So half of all Gannon players with a hyphenated last name are Buffalo transfers.

I'm guessing Thomas-Edwards will compete for playing time on Gannon's front line with the Knights graduating all-everything Darrell Blanton, T.J. Wilson, and Tanner Furno. Here's all the info I could dig up on Thomas-Edwards:

* Played in 30 games for 14-20 Buffalo last year, starting one game and logging just over 11 minutes per contest. Averaged 1.8 ppg and 2.4 rpg, making 34.7% of his field goals (17-of-49), 31% of his threes (9-for-29) and 11-of-16 free throws (68.8%).
* Tallied a season high 10 points in UB's MAC first round tournament win over Central Michigan, drilling 4-of-5 field goals including a pair of threes in the first half. You can see the box score here and watch highlights of the game here. The postgame writeup said, "Struggling to get into an offensive groove, the Bulls got an unlikely spark from Raphell Thomas-Edwards. The sophomore swingman scored all of his career-high 10 points in the first half. His second three-pointer of the half gave UB a 28-24 lead."
* Followed that up with 8 points in 31 minutes of action during UB's upset of Ball State in the MAC tourney second round at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Complete game writeup here.
* UB and Gannon had two common opponents last year: Notre Dame College and Mansfield. During the Bulls' 20-point win vs. NDC, Thomas-Edwards had 3 points and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes of action. In a 19-point rout of the Mounties, he played 19 minutes, totaling 5 points and 3 rebounds.
* For a complete statistical recap of his sophomore season, check out this page from CBSsports.com.
* As a freshman, played just 29 minutes over 8 games, registering 5 points and 4 rebounds.
* The only valuable info in this two-year old press release on Thomas-Edwards signing with Buffalo is former coach Reggie Witherspoon's comments: "Raphell is a very versatile player who has the potential to help us in a number of different ways. He has quick feet and is explosive. His international experience will accelerate his development."
* This article from HoopsFix.com provides some more info on his signing with Buffalo. The comments section is vastly different from what we're used to. Almost all the fans are encouraging! (Side note: HoopsFix touts itself as "The #1 British Basketball Community." Is there a second British basketball community?)
* This article from the Leicester Mercury newspaper quotes Thomas-Edwards extensively about his journey to the U.S. to play basketball. He talks about hard work, which you know John Reilly has to love.
* I'm not sure how the academic/athletic scene works in England, but his UB bio says he "attended The Gateway School and played for the Leicester Warriors," averaging 25 points and 14 rebounds per game. His Gateway College bio says he also attended Barking Abbey and St. Paul's. I'm not sure what any of that means, but any time I have the chance to say "Barking Abbey" I go for it.
* Was the leading scorer (10.0 ppg) and rebounder (7.9 rpg) for England in the under-18 European Championships in 2011. Exploded for 20 points and 13 rebounds against Luxembourg and 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting in 36 minutes vs. Switzerland. He didn't score in 17 minutes vs. Denmark or in 11 minutes vs. Georgia, so I'm not sure what England's substitution pattern was for that event.