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
* 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.