Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.
Up now ...
- Jimmy Taylor, a 6-foo-3, 180-pound freshman guard: He averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game as a senior at Suwannee (Fla.) High School as a senior there last season.
I'm counting on Jimmy to play significant minutes early at the point guard," said Rider coach Kevin Baggett, in a statement released by the school. "He can score in a number of different ways."
- Kahlil Thomas, a 6-7, 205-pound freshman forward: He averaged 13.4 points per game as a senior at Blanche Eli (Fla.) H.S. last season and was ranked one of the top 20 players in Florida. "(He) can play the four or five for us and we expect him to play a great deal early on for us," Baggett said. "He has a high basketball IQ and is a good defender who can score. By January, I'm not looking at him as a freshman anymore."
- Brandon Channer, a 6-3, 215-pound freshman guard: Originally from Jamaica, he attended high school in Florida and was at Strawberry Crest H.S. in Tampa last season where he averaged about 18 points and nine rebounds per game. "Channer is more mature than most freshmen coming in," Baggett said. "His physicality, his toughness, stands out right away and we're going to need that from him. He'll bring energy on defense."
- Xavier Lundy, a 6-7, 220-pound freshman forward: He averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior and more than 22 ppg. as a junior at Paulsboro (N.J.) H.S. He accumulated 2,135 career points at the high school level and was South Jersey's Player of the Year last season. "Xavier is a scorer," Baggett said. "He has that scorer's mentality and will play the three and four positions for us."
- Matt Lopez, a 7-0, 240-pound junior center: He is an incoming transfer from Utah State and will sit out this season and, then, have two remaining years of eligibility beginning with the 2014-15 season. He played in 23 games at Utah State, averaging 2.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 7.6 minutes per game in the second semester. He sat out the first semester after transferring from La Salle, where he played nine games in the first semester of the 2011-12 season (eight total points, eight total rebounds). He is a 2010 graduate of Washington Township (N.J.) H.S. who sat out his freshman season at La Salle as a redshirt. Your Hoopscribe saw Lopez play several times at the AAU level. At that time he was being heavily recruited by several MAAC schools and, it appears, he tried to play "up" and, now, is returning to the mid-major level where he probably should have played at originally. He is a big presence in the middle and fairly mobile for his size, but is primarily an in-the-post player.
- Teddy Okereafor, a 6-4, 190-pound junior guard: He is a transfer from VCU and will sit out the upcoming season and, then, have two remaining years of eligibility beginning in 2014-15. He played in 32 games at VCU last season, averaging 1.3 points, 1.0 rebound and 8.3 minutes per game. As a freshman he averaged less than six minutes per game. He attended Christchurch Prep School (Va.) prior to VCU and was the Virginia Prep League Player of the Year, averaging 13.1 points and 7.2 assists per contest.
ANALYSIS: A little big of everything is coming in. Thomas will challenge sophomore Zedric Sadler (who really could be a breakout player this season) for time at the point guard spot, although both are capable of playing either backcourt position. Thomas is a physical power forward. Lundy is a flat-out scorer and Channer is a multi-dimensional guard. And, then, there's the future. Lopez and Okereafor both become eligible for the 2014-15 season and both should be significant contributors. Lopez has the size that doesn't often come to the MAAC, while Okereafor is a big guard who uses that size well. The type of talent coming in looks likely to keep Rider in the upper half of the MAAC standings for the immediate future.