HATTIESBURG – Southern Miss males’s basketball head coach Jay Ladner spent the offseason giving a forthright pitch.
At 7-26, the Golden Eagles hadn’t put collectively an excellent season in 2021-22. 5 of their prime six scorers had departed by way of the switch portal after the season. Acknowledging these info throughout discussions with potential additions, Ladner offered them on alternative.
Eight incoming transfers have been keen to purchase. The Golden Eagles accomplished an in depth rebuild over the span of just some months, retaining solely 5 scholarship gamers from final season’s roster.
“We have to win,” Ladner mentioned. “My boss hasn’t informed me that. We will make all the justifications on the planet, I am not into excuses. We’re going into our fourth season and we’re coming off two fairly tough seasons. The primary 12 months was what it was, we obtained in right here late. The final two years have been powerful by way of win-loss file, and that is not acceptable. ”
The headline addition for Ladner this offseason is Mercer switch Felipe Haase. Listed at 6-foot-9, Haase scored 14.8 factors per sport final season and shot 40.6 p.c from 3-point vary.
He arrived at Southern Miss because of his relationship with new assistant coach Juan Cardona, who additionally got here from Mercer.
“Actually, actually shoots it at a excessive degree,” Ladner mentioned. “To have a [6-foot-9] man who has the flexibility to stretch the protection at his measurement is only a weapon that we have not had. ”
Guard Neftali Alvarez is one other addition from Mercer. He posted 12.6 factors per sport and averaged 3.4 assists final season, and was a third-team All-Southern Convention choice the 12 months earlier than that.
Ladner additionally added Nick Williams to his employees this offseason, and he helped the Golden Eagles land Ole Miss switch guard Austin Crowley. As soon as a four-star prospect, Crowley began 11 video games for the Rebels final season and contributed slightly below 5 factors per sport.
“We simply sort of obtained fortunate,” Ladner mentioned. “I would say, it is a mixture of luck and perhaps some strategic luck in the truth that they’d relationships with guys within the portal.”
Donovan Ivory, a 6-foot-6 double-figure scorer from Inexperienced Bay, is becoming a member of the fold, too. Six-foot-eight FIU addition Victor Hart will present some essential measurement. Guard Cobie Montgomery has joined the Golden Eagles from the junior school ranks, whereas guards Nico Aguirre and Marcelo Perez will make the step up from Division II.
Ladner made it clear that he does not take care of the brand new school basketball panorama created by the one-time switch rule. He would like to construct his program with a basis of highschool prospects.
However, adjusting to the brand new circumstances, the Golden Eagles have made scouting Division I transfers their first precedence, Ladner mentioned.
“I am not saying we do not recruit highschool gamers, but it surely must be a particular state of affairs,” he mentioned. “If we recruit a highschool participant, and so they are available in and do actually, rather well, whether or not they’re within the portal or not, they’re getting recruited. That is a actuality. It is a unhappy actuality, but it surely’s a actuality, and we have now to simply accept that. ”
The Golden Eagles misplaced prime scorer and main rebounder Tyler Stevenson to the portal after he was elected to maneuver onto UIC. A handful of different key contributors departed, too.
Among the many seven outgoings, Ladner mentioned there have been some contributors who he’d prefer to have again and others who seemingly wanted a recent begin because the Golden Eagles sought to alter issues up following a 1-17 displaying in Convention USA play.
Scouring the portal to fill out his roster, Ladner prioritized expertise. Every participant he introduced in has at the least two seasons of school basketball underneath his belt. The 2022-23 roster won’t characteristic a single freshman.
“There can be instances we have been warming up, and I would look down at our staff and I would look down there on the different staff and assume, ‘Gosh, they’re males,’ and we simply had a bunch of young- trying guys for essentially the most half, ”Ladner mentioned. “We’re coming off of a troublesome season that was unacceptable and I believe a part of us getting previous was to present us some extra expertise, and let’s examine if we are able to get this factor rotated.”
Attain Southern Miss author David Eckert at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ davideckert98.