The Manhattan men's basketball team got an early Christmas present that came in a sizeable package.
How big? Try 6-foot-8, 240-pounds. Whew.
That's the size of Demetrius Jemison, a transfer from the University of Alabama who played three seasons there and, then, sat out what would have been his senior season with an injury.
Johnson got his undergraduate degree and, then, transferred to Manhattan to attend graduate school. NCAA rules allow for students transferring for graduate courses to play immediately at the new school, rather than sit out the usual one-year requirement, if the previous school's graduate division does not (and the new school does) offer the course of study the student intends to pursue.
Jemison, though, was forced to stay off the court until the NCAA was satisfied with the conditions of his transfer waiver. That favorable ruling didn't come in until just prior to the Jaspers' game at Binghamton on Dec. 11.
Jemison was immediately used as a starter and had 13 points and 7 rebounds in his first game. He followed that up with games of 7 points and 13 rebounds (vs. Hofstra) and 10 points and 7 rebounds (vs. Bowling Green).
Jemison's addition to the roster couldn't have come at a better time as the Jaspers have been left woefully thin on the front line after a season-ending Achilles injury to forwards Roberto Colonette and a sprained MCL suffered by Robert Martina, which kept him out of several games earlier this month.
Jemison, a native of Birmingham, Ala., averaged four points and four rebounds in his three active seasons with the Crimson Tide. After being named co-winner of the Tide's Defensive Award in his freshman season, Jemison averaged 5.6 points and 5-3 rebounds with 20 blocks in his sophomore season while also earning Academic All-SEC honors. He played a more limited role as a junior in 2008-09 before sitting out last season with an injury.
Jemison earned his bachelor's degree in consumer science from Alabama last spring with a season of eligibility remaining. He will complete his eligibility at Manhattan while pursuing a master's degree in the school of education.
Even with Jemison in the lineup, though, the Jaspers are struggling. After opening the season with victories over Penn and NJIT Manhattan has lost 10 straight to fall to a 2-10 overall record.