As multiple Division I men’s basketball coaches have remarked this season, recruiting has turned into a year-round job. For Binghamton’s coaching staff, the trend is no different.
With two scholarships vacated after the transfers of guard Jordan Reed and forward Nick Madray, head coach Tommy Dempsey was able to sign on two recruits in the past two weeks. The first to sign was Everson Davis, a combo guard out of New Jersey. Then, last Wednesday, Bucknell transfer guard J.C. Show signed with the Bearcats. Show will have to redshirt the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but will have three years of eligibility remaining after that.
Davis signed his National Letter of Intent on April 20. The 6-foot-3 point guard gone shooting guard played for the Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey and made first-team All-Mid-Atlantic Prep League in the 2014-15 season. He averaged 15.2 points per game as a senior at Peddie, including 1.7 made 3s across 24 games. Davis also received offers from University of Tennessee and Tennessee Temple University.
Show signed his National Letter of Intent to play for Binghamton last Wednesday after receiving his release from Bucknell the day before. In 34 games for the Bison in 2014-15, the 6-foot-2 guard averaged 6.9 points and 1.6 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per contest. He shot 39.5 percent from the floor and 36.6 percent from 3-point range, and was a 71.4 percent free-throw shooter.
Prior to his debut year at Bucknell, the Clarks Summit native was named Pennsylvania “Mr. Basketball” and Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year in 2014, his senior season playing at Abington Heights. Show is the high school’s all-time leading scorer after recording 1,950 career points.
So Binghamton picked up two solid guards in the offseason, presumably working to replace former star Jordan Reed, who was granted his release from the program on Dec. 5. But Binghamton doesn’t have a gaping hole in its one and two (and even three) spots like it does in other roles.
Primarily, BU has made no headway in replacing 6-foot-9 stretch four Madray. The big man out of Mississagua, Ontario, was granted his release from the program on April 13 and announced via Twitter his commitment to Eastern Michigan University on April 29. While the Bearcats still have 6-foot-9 freshman sharpshooter Dusan Perovic and will benefit from incoming freshman Thomas Bruce — a 6-foot-8 rim protector who signed his NLI in November — BU was the worst shooting team in one of the most obscure conferences at the Division I level.
Binghamton trailed the America East with 39.6 percent shooting from the floor and averaged a second-worst 57.7 points per contest en route to a 6-26 finish, 5-11 in conference play. Of course, worth mention is that both Madray and Perovic suffered season-ending injuries in late December and early January, respectively, and Reed — the team’s leading scorer the past two seasons — played in just five games. For Perovic, before tearing his ACL in practice, the Montenegrin was the team’s leading scorer. He was shooting a team-best 44.2 percent from the field and 45.3 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers are better than Madray’s were.
Defense produces offense, as some saying somewhere goes, and Binghamton has fielded good defense. However, the Bearcats will need to utilize a variety of shooting means and not score just in transition or off the dribble if the team wants to take the next step.
One of the Bearcats’ biggest weaknesses this season was their inability to break out of a scoring drought. With opponents able to crowd the paint and oversize them (Binghamton’s roster is gratuitous in listing so many players at 6-foot-6), the team needs more guys who can post up and also stretch the floor.
The Bearcats will clearly have the option to go small. If Perovic recovers adequately and if Bruce is the low-post scoring, shot-swatting player that he’s made out to be, then Binghamton will have the capacity to go relatively large, too. Unfortunately, without another actual big man to back up either one of them, injury could plague the Bearcats for yet another year.
Fortunately for fans, Binghamton should have one more scholarship to offer. And with the recruiting season spanning four seasons nowadays, and over 600 transfers so far this year (according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman), it shouldn’t be too problematic to pick someone up.