Transfers, graduates: cause for concern or new beginning for men’s basketball

John Healy

On my way driving back to New Jersey on Thursday evening, our former sports editor, Robin Schuppert, sent me a text saying he broke a big story.

At first I thought maybe we were getting another professional athlete’s kid coming to our school.

Instead, it was news that freshman basketball player Dominique Langston announced through Twitter that he was taking his talents to Southern Connecticut State University, making him the second freshman from the men’s basketball team to announce he’s transferring.

Now this is pretty alarming stuff to any Quinnipiac basketball fan. Langston showed much potential this past season, averaging 7.1 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game.

He also proved he can come through in the clutch when he tipped in the game-winning basket to beat March Madness-bound Boston University on Dec. 29.

With him and Tevin Baskin transferring, and rumors of possibly more, paired along with senior leaders Justin Rutty and Deontay Twyman graduating, it is clear next year’s team will not be the same.

With neither player commenting on why they are transferring, and the possibility of more transfers, speculation has also opened about whether or not there will be changes among the coaching staff in the near future.

Specifically, will Tom Moore leave Quinnipiac to pursue the UConn head coaching position if Jim Calhoun retires?

Moore has previous ties with UConn after holding an assistant coaching position there from 1995-2007.

And at Quinnipiac, he has proven he can take a struggling Division I program and turn it around to be on the brink of clinching an NCAA Tournament bid-attractive to any program in a major conference looking for a new head coach.

But will Moore leave what he’s built at QU?

The men’s basketball program has gained an increasingly large amount of popularity and support from the student body, arguably overtaking men’s ice hockey as the biggest sport on campus.

Plus, Moore just signed an extension on his contract last year, which doesn’t expire until after the 2014-15 season.

And then there’s some unfinished business. The Bobcats have come so close to clinching their first NCAA Tournament bid they can taste it.

James Johnson proved he is capable of being a team leader, hit the big shot, and play tenacious defense. Jamee Jackson matured this past season, filling in for an injured Rutty and displaying dominance underneath the boards. Ike Azotam and Lance Brown demonstrated their potential and should have no problem having much bigger roles next season.

Plus, Quinnipiac has signed two players for next year: Zaid Hearst, who scouts describe as a powerful perimeter player with versatility; and Ousmane Drame, a 6-foot-7 lefty post player described to have good hands and feet (sound familiar?). The Bobcats also have a commitment from a third recruit, Evan Conti, a guard described to be a “throwback” player with good intangibles who can shoot the three.

In addition to the recruits, the Bobcats also add two transfers of their own.

Austin Alexcih will join the team from UNC-Asheville, and Garvey Young, who is coming from University of Vermont where he was named to the 2010 America East All-Tournament, All-Defensive, and All-Rookie teams.

So while Langston and Baskin decided to transfer, and Rutty and Twyman gone after May, Moore still has time to complete his business here because he possesses the tools to keep this team at the top of the NEC and create history at Quinnipiac by taking it to its first NCAA Tournament.