After a disappointing 17-13 season (8-10 in conference play), the NKU Norse men's basketball team looks to return to the top of the GLVC with a entirely re-shaped roster of D-1 transfers and several key returning players.
Although the Norse will be without David Palmer and Scott Bibbins (graduation), Dustin Maguire (medical setback - quit team) and Dennis Gagai (torn mcl - out majority of the season), the team has much to look forward to with four transfers, three from D-1 programs, including:
Josh Tabb (6-4, Sr.) - Tabb comes from the University of Tennessee. He started 11 games last years for the Volunteers and saw action in 33 games where he primarily served as the sixth man. He averaged just over three points and nearly two assists per contest. Volunteer coach, Bruce Pearl, suspended Tabb last year and gave no reason for Tabb’s suspension, other than saying he “hadn’t taken care of his business like we expect him to.’’ It was reported that Tabb withdrew from Tennessee to be with his ailing mother.
Malcolm Eleby (6-3, Sr.) - Eleby comes to the Norse from the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure, an A-10 powerhouse…Eleby started 57 games in three season for the Bonnies racking up nearly 6 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds per contest.
James Cotton (6-8, So.) - Cotton is a transfer from Maryland-Eastern Shore. He played in 19 games last season as a freshman, starting three times. He averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds per game last year.
Bobby Shannon (6-5, Jr.) - Shannon is a JUCO transfer who led the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference in scoring with an average of 23 points per game for Southern Maryland. In high school, Shannon led all Washington, D.C. area players in scoring during his senior year at Potomac High School. He averaged 27 points and led his team to a share of the Prince George's 3A/2A league title and the Maryland 2A South Region postseason championship. He originally signed with Marshall out of high school and was recruited by some big schools, including: Arkansas, Georgetown, Maryland, Villanova, Memphis, UTEP, George Washington and Iowa State.
The Norse also return:
Chris Knight, a 6-7 senior who averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds per game last season.
Corey Sorrell, a 6-5 sophomore who averaged 8 points and 3 rebounds per game.
Ethan Faulkner, a 6-1 sophomore who averaged 4 points and 3 assists last season.
Tony Rack, a 6-0 junior who averaged 4 points and shot 52% from 3-point range last year.
Although the team may be small, I feel they could put together a good showing in the GLVC this year. Team chemistry could be a problem early on as it may take some time for players to get used to all the new transfers and the changing in the offensive scheme due to the graduation of Palmer (averaged 17 points per game last season as the teams go-to guy in the post).
It's always tough to project a roster with so many new players, however, this is how I think things will pan out:
F - Chris Knight
F - Bobby Shannon
G/F - Corey Sorrell
G - Josh Tabb
G - Malcolm Eleby
F - James Cotton
G - Ethan Faulkner
G - Tony Rack
F - Eric Stenger