Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.
Up now ....
- Freddie Asprilla, 6-10, 275-pound center, transfer from Kansas State.
Asprilla averaged 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game at Kansas State in 16 games last season before a "mutual decision" was made that it was in his best interest to leave that program. Initially announced that he would pursue professional opportunities in South America before he opted to attend Canisius in order to complete degree work. Due to transfer rules, he is not eligible until the 2012-13 season and has just one year of playing eligibility left.
- Jose Agosto, 6-6 Forward, Gatlenburgh (Tenn.)-Pittman H.S.
He averaged 16 points and 9.6 rebounds per game as a high school senior.
- Josiah Heath, 6-9, 230-pound center, Irondequoit H.S., Rochester, N.Y.
He averaged 21 points and 16.6 rebounds per game as a high school senior.
- Jordan Heath, 6-10, 225-pound center, transfer from Robert Weslyan College of Rochester.
He averaged 14.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game at Robert Weslyan, an NAIA-level school, this past season. He has two remaining years of eligibility, beginning in the 2012-13 season. He is the older brother of Josiah Heath.
- Isaac Sosa, 6-3 guard, transfer from Central Florida.
He averaged 8.0 points per game at Central Florida this past season as a junior. Over three years there he has made 190 3-pointers. He has one remaining year of eligibility beginning in the 2012-13 season.
- Franklin Milian, 6-4 guard, Our Savior New American School of Long Island.
He averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds per game as a high shool senior.
- David Santiago, 6-4 guard, transfer from American University School in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
He averaged 14 points and 5 rebounds per game as a freshman at the Puerto Rico school in the 2009-10 season. He was at Canisius this past season and, as per transfer rules, was allowed to practice with the team. He is eligible to play this season.
- Kevin Bleeker, 6-10 enter, BV Noordkop Club Team of Holland.
He just competed in the under-18 division of the European Championships earlier this month and averaged 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in five games.
- Harold Washington, 6-1 guard, transfer from Cecil (Md.) Community College.
He averaged 13 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game this past season. As a junior college transfer he is eligible immediately.
ANALYSIS: No conference program has more incoming players, and no program needed them more than the Golden Griffins, who graduated five seniors who made major contributions to the team this past season. The problem, though, is that three incoming players are transfers from four-year schools and won't be eligible until 2012-13.
So, let's start with everyone else. Josiah Heath, by most reports, might not be an immediate contributor but has future potential and much needed size. Agosta, a well-built forward, appears capable of contending for early playing time. The others ... Milian, Santiago and Washington ... are guards. Washington, a JC transfer, appears most-likely to get significant minutes early. It should also be interesting to see how Santiago adjusts from playing in Puerto Rico to competing at the U.S. college level, although a year of practicing with the Griffs this past season likely helped. There is no way of knowing if the 6-10 Bleeker can help out right away, but the history of foreign big men impacting programs at this level early in their careers isn't in his favor.
The Griffs' returning strength, though, is perimeter players. While the incoming guards don't hurt, the program needed height. And, most of that height, particularly Asprilla, is a year away.
Asprilla is an interesting newcomer in a lot of ways. First, his size (6-10, 275 pounds) and talent level far surpasses what the MAAC usually sees. Then again, there are reasons why Canisius will be the fifth college he'll attend (one year at Florida International, one semester at Miami-Dade Junior College, one semester at Cloud (Kan.) Community College and a year at Kansas St.). He's a gamble, but he has the type of talent coaches are willing to take that gamble with, even if only for one season. When he graduates (May, 2013), he will be 25 years old.
The elder Heath has nice statistics, but they were recorded at the NAIA level, where the level of play traditionally equates to somewhere between the NCAA's Division II and Division III.
Sosa, if nothing else, is an effective long-range sniper.
This certainly will be an interesting year of transition at Canisius, with the blending of newcomers who can play right away with the addition of the non-eligible transfer players. If everyone stays in place, the Griffs could be a very interesting team to watch in the 2012-13 season.