Maryland Eastern Shore, like many basketball programs near the bottom of D-I, is going through is going through turmoil to a degree that pretty much does not exist in the power leagues. Sometimes a bit of that turmoil is self-made, though.
Example: UMES fired head coach Bobby Collins in March, but rather than hire a new long-term guy, they simply promoted assistant Cliff Reed to interim coach, delaying the coaching search a year. For some reason. I’m sure there’s a reason with some logic of some kind.
But it does no good whatever to leave the program in limbo longer than necessary, and while Reed theoretically has a chance to win the gig this season, that seems unlikely, given that the Hawks are in for another long year on the court.
They finished last season at 7-25, lost their second-leading scorer to graduation, and a promising freshman to transfer. The Hawks brought in five junior college transfers during the offseason, and what those guys amount to as a collective is anyone’s guess.
Bothering with the statistical specifics here would be 98.5% more pointless than usual, so I’m not gonna bother much with the team-level numbers. This way it can be a big fun basketball surprise tomorrow, when they do whatever they end up doing. Probably some stuff, what they’ll do, but it’s hard to know.
Bryan Urrutia (6-1, 206) — The juco transfer logged the most minutes for UMES in its season-opener against Georgetown (a 15-point loss). He scored 13, adding five assists and five steals.
Ryan Andino (6-2, 180) — He missed all of last season because of an injury and is a sight for sore eyes given how badly UMES struggled from three last year. Andino is a career 37.9% three-point shooter in 3+ college seasons. He shot 2-11 in the season-opener. He attempted zero two-pointers.
Dontae Caldwell (6-5, 205) — Caldwell also missed 2018 with an injury but showed some promise as a sophomore in 2017. He should be a solid defensive rebounder this season and a decent contributor inside the arc. He’s also willing to step outside, but he’s only a career 31.8% three-point shooter.
Tyler Jones (6-7, 200) — Jones averaged 12.1 points per game last season but was surprisingly absent against Georgetown, attempting only five shots in 25 minutes. The Hawks obviously have a lot to sort through with all the new personnel, but making a habit of forgetting about him is probably a bad idea. Jones is a career 49.4% two-point shooter who hits 71% at the free throw line.
A.J. Cheeseman (6-7, 225) — Another of those aforementioned juco guys, Cheeseman led the team in shots (16) and points (19) against Georgetown.
Bench: Who the heck knows?
UMES was terrible in every conceivable respect at the defensive end last season—except comportment. I felt they comported themselves quite well. You have to give them a lot of credit for that.
The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by 28.