By Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
There’s been a lot going on with the Big 5’s men’s and women’s programs (including two more local programs being officially added) in the weeks since the college basketball season ended. Here is a check-up on some of the big offseason news thus far:
The Owls made the biggest news thus far this offseason when former Penn State assistant Adam Fisher officially took over as head men’s basketball at the start of this month. Michael Huger, who served the last eight seasons as the head men's basketball coach at Bowling Green, officially became his first hire when he was announced as associate head coach April 14. The university announced the return of assistant Chris Clark, who has been on staff since 2016, on Tuesday.
Junior guard Hysier Miller will be back at Temple next season. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
Along with recruiting new players to the program, Fisher’s tasks include re-recruiting those who entered the transfer portal. Damian Dunn (Houston), Jamille Reynolds (Cincinnati), Khalif Battle (Arkansas) and Nick Jourdain (Memphis) have all announced their new homes.
However, junior guard Hysier Miller (8.6 ppg, 3.8 apg) announced his decision to return after testing the portal. The Owls’ point guard and Neumann-Goretti product started all 32 games last season. Junior stretch forward Zach Hicks (9.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) still hasn’t made a decision on if he will return. The Inquirer’s Javon Edmonds reported that Georgetown, Temple, UTEP and Penn State as the four schools he is choosing between.
The Owls also announced Monday that UMBC transfer Matteo Picarelli accepted an aid agreement to attend Temple University. Picarelli, who has two years of eligibility, averaged 10.1 ppg last season off the bench for UMBC. The 6-2 guard was fourth in the America East in made threes (67) and 3-point percentage (.394).
The Wildcats have had a busy offseason after Kyle Neptune’s first-year as head coach. After 15 years on the Wildcats’ bench, assistant George Halcovage left to become the head coach at Buffalo. Also off the court, the Inquirer’s Mike Jensen reported that former La Salle head coach Ashley Howard is set to return as an assistant on Neptune’s staff.
There’s been plenty of big news for the Wildcats’ roster as well. Star freshman forward Cam Whitmore (12.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg), the Big East Freshman of the Year, unsurprisingly entered the NBA Draft on April 11 after playing in 24 games this past season. He’s a projected lottery pick, so there wasn’t much reason to head back to the college ranks.
A little more uncertain heading into this offseason was the status of graduate guard Justin Moore, who announced on March 31 that he’d be back for a fifth year and add to his 105 career games in a Villanova uniform. Moore quickly worked his way back from a tear to his right Achilles tendon to play in the team’s final 13 games, averaging 13.5 ppg. He was a second team All-Big East selection in 2021-22 before suffering the injury in the Elite Eight.
Moore and the likes of second team All-Big East forward Eric Dixon have some help incoming for next year as well. Washington State transfer TJ Bamba, considered one of the top talents in the portal, announced his commitment to Villanova on April 14, choosing the Wildcats over a host of other high-major suitors. The 6-5 guard/wing averaged 15.8 ppg to earn All-Pac 12 honorable mention honors this past season.
Following two seasons with the Explorers, Josh Nickelberry entered the transfer portal and committed to Florida State on April 14. Nickelberry was the A-10 Sixth Man of the Year this past season, averaging 10.9 ppg and shooting better than 40 percent from three. The former four-star recruit at Louisville heads back to the ACC. Graduate forwards Fousseyni (8.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Hassan Drame (6.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg) also found new homes after one season at La Salle. They’ll stay in the A-10 at Duquesne.
Quakers star senior guard Jordan Dingle will enter the 2023 NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported April 5. Dingle was the Ivy League Player of the Year, averaging 23.4 ppg, which ranked second in the country. He still has another season of eligibility at Penn and two more overall. Graduates Jonah Charles (4.0 ppg) and Lucas Monroe (4.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg) entered their names in the portal during the season. Despite having eligibility, the Ivy League doesn’t let graduate students play.
St. Joe’s added a fourth member to an already-exciting class with a commitment from Camden (N.J.) forward Dasear Haskins. He joins local prospects Xzayvier Brown (Roman Catholic), Anthony Finkley (Roman Catholic) and Shawn Simmons, who enrolled this winter.
The Hawks also had three names enter the portal in freshman guard Quin Berger (Westtown), junior wing Louis Bleechmore and junior center Anton Jansson. Bleechmore, who recently announced his commitment to Fairfield, came to Hawk Hill after two seasons at Harcum College, averaging 8.7 mpg in 30 games this past season.
Former Hawks assistant John Griffin also left the program in late March to take over as head coach at his alma mater Bucknell.
Other than the addition to the Big 5, news has been quiet for the Dragons.
Former Drexel forward Kylie Lavelle is headed to Penn State. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Drexel said goodbye to star guard Keishana Washington as she heads to the pro ranks after a terrific career. Washington wasn’t selected in the WNBA Draft, but the All-American honorable mention signed a training camp contract with the Minnesota Lynx.
The Dragons took a surprise hit when Kylie Lavelle, who committed to Penn State on Wednesday, entered the transfer portal. The 6-2 forward averaged 11.1 ppg and 3.7 rpg to earn a CAA all-rookie selection. Senior guard Tori Hyduke is also in the portal, according to Heat Check CBB’s Talia Goodman.
Drexel will also have to replace assistant Jillian Dunston. She spent three years as an assistant with the Dragons before heading back to her alma mater Michaigan, the school announced Monday.
The Explorers only have four returners not in the transfer portal or graduating. Senior guard Claire Jacobs (12.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and freshman forward Mia Jacobs (9.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) are among the key contributors to transfer, Mia committing to play at Fresno State. Sophomore guard Jaye Haynes recently announced her commitment to Monmouth and senior Jordon Lewis, freshman Gabriella Falcao and freshman Fiona Connolly are also in the portal.
La Salle announced a pair of Division II transfers on Tuesday, a pair of big pieces on what will be a very new-look roster next season. San Francisco State 6-foot guard Jolene Armendariz averaged 11.2 ppg and 7.6 rpg this past season. Saint Anselm (N.J.) 5-10 guard Gabby Turco, a Wildwood Catholic product, averaged 16.2 ppg and 5.7 rpg this past season. The Explorers had success adding Charity Shears (West Virginia State) from the D-II level last season.
The Owls announced a pair of additions to the 2023-24 squad this week. Vanderbilt transfer Demi Washington, a 5-10 guard, has signed an aid agreement to attend Temple University after playing 95 games (41 starts) for the Commodores in four seasons. In 2021-22, she averaged 4.8 ppg and 3.7 rpg and started 27 games before seeing her role slightly reduced this past season as she averaged 4.0 ppg and 1.8 rpg and started just three of the 31 games she played.
Temple also announced the addition of the third member of its 2023 recruiting class in 5-5 guard Tristen Taylor. The Duncanville (Tx.) product joins Jaleesa Molina (Netherlands) and Sheyenne Swain-Price (Dexter Southfield School, Mass.).
The Hawks announced the addition of Davidson transfer Chloe Welch on Tuesday. Welch, a sixth-year redshirt senior coming off injury, played in 115 games, starting 83 of them during her career with the Wildcats but she played just seven this past season (9.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg) before going down with an injury. She averaged 10.7 ppg and 4.9 rpg along with 1.2 spg the season prior.
St. Joe’s has two players in the transfer portal in junior guard Olivia Mullins (8.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg), a starter last season, and senior forward Jaden Walker.
The Ivy League doesn’t let graduate students play, so first team All-Ivy League guard Kayla Padilla (17.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.5 apg) will have to finish her career elsewhere along with Mandy McGurk (8.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg).
The Dallas Wings selected Villanvoa forward Maddy Siegrist No. 3 overall in the WNBA draft on April 10 to headline the offseason news after a historic season that ended in the Sweet 16. Siegrist’s classmate Brooke Mullin (3.5 ppg) is in the portal along with sophomore guard Anahi Lee-Cauley (1.9 ppg).
La Salle MBB
Fousseyni Drame (8.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg) — Duquesne
Hassan Drame (6.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg) — Duquesne
Josh Nickelberry (10.9 ppg) — Florida State
Jonah Charles, Sr., G (4.0 ppg)
Lucas Monroe, Sr., G (4.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg)
Zach Hicks (9.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
Hysier Miller — Temple
St. Joe’s MBB
Quin Berger, Fr., G
Louis Bleechmore, Sr., F (1.9 ppg) — Fairfield
Anton Jansson, Sr., C
*Angelo Brizzi, Fr., G (2.0 ppg)
Tori Hyduke, Sr., G (2.8 ppg)
Kylie Lavelle, Fr. F (11.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg) — Penn State
*Moriah Murray, Fr., G (DNP) — Penn State
La Salle WBB
Fiona Connolly, Fr., G (1.2 ppg)
Gabriella Falcao, Fr., C (1.5 ppg)
Jaye Haynes, So., G (3.7 ppg) — Monmouth
Claire Jacobs, Sr., G (12.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
Mia Jacobs, Fr., F (9.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) — Fresno State
Jordon Lewis, Sr., F (DNP)
Mandy McGurk, Gr., G (8.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
Kayla Padilla, Gr., G (17.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.5 apg)
Faye Parker, Gr., F
St. Joe’s WBB
Olivia Mullins, Jr., G (8.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
Jaden Walker, Sr., F (1.9 ppg)
Aniya Gourdie (4.8 ppg)
Caranda Perea (5.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
Anahi Lee-Cauley, So., G (1.9 ppg)
Brooke Mullin, Sr., G (3.5 pg)
*Denote transferred during season
Tag(s): Home Contributors Owen McCue College Division I Women's Temple Drexel La Salle Penn St. Joe's Villanova