HARRISONBURG — As James Madison's Louis Rowe waits for his team to begin returning to campus in about a week, the fourth-year Dukes men's basketball coach has plenty of excitement for the players coming back, but knows there’s somebody he’ll miss as JMU begins workouts later this month.
Assistant coach Rob Summers left Madison to take an assistant coaching job at Cleveland State, close to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. It’s also where his former college coach at West Virginia, John Beilein, is now the coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
Staff changes are a fact of life in the coaching business, but Rowe said he and the Dukes are going to miss Summers.
“When you have turnover on your staff, it’s tough, but Rob, obviously, got a great opportunity,” Rowe said. “He’s a guy who has meant so much to me, a guy that I could bounce stuff off of. The timing of that isn’t great, but the guys are going to come back and we’ll get to working hard when they get back.”
Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby wasn’t particularly happy about the blow his roster received in late June when CAA all-freshman team guard Ithiel Horton suddenly decided to transfer, landing at Pittsburgh.
“I really like our team, even kind of getting thrown a curveball,” Ingelsby told the Daily News-Record earlier this summer. “We’ve got some experienced guys coming back in the backcourt with Ryan Allen and Kevin Anderson, and then we add three really good transfers that sat out last year.”
But if the Blue Hens’ recent trip to the Bahamas is any indication, UD still might come out ahead in the transfer game for 2019-20. The Blue Hens went 2-1 in three games during its international tour with the trio of transfers leading the way.
Nate Darling, a 6-foot-3 guard who transferred from UAB, averaged 20 points per game on the trip while 6-7 forward Justyn Mutts from High Point averaged 17.3 points and was also among the Hen’s top rebounders each contest.
Darling and Mutts are eligible to play as soon as the season begins, but perhaps the most intriguing addition to the roster is 6-9 forward Dylan Painter, who will become eligible in December after transferring from Villanova in the middle of his sophomore season.
Painter, who was a Top 150 prospect coming out of high school, scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Blue Hens’ Bahamas finale.
Delaware will play at least three games this season against local competition. In addition to the home-and-home CAA series with James Madison, the Blue Hens open the season Nov. 5 against Bridgewater at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del.
Tribe's Twin Towers
Smaller, four-guard lineups have become increasingly popular — perhaps even the norm — across college basketball in recent seasons. But first-year William & Mary coach Dane Fischer has inherited a roster that may entice the Tribe to become a bit of a throwback.
William & Mary's backcourt took a hit with a rash of offseason transfers following the firing of longtime coach Tony Shaver, but the Tribe's strength should be under the basket.
Nathan Knight, the 6-10 center who pulled his name out of the NBA Draft and elected to return to W&M in May, averaged 21 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game last season.
But should teams be tempted to focus too much on Knight, he’ll be joined this season by 7-footer Andy Van Vliet. Van Vliet is a native of Belgium who sat out last season after transferring from Wisconsin, where he averaged 2.5 points and 1.4 rebounds per game, but those close to the Tribe say he’s shown significant improvement during his redshirt year.
It’s also worth noting Van Vliet shot 62.5 percent from behind the 3-point line at Wisconsin, meaning he may have the ability to keep opponents from double-down on Knight in the paint.