Updated Fri, Nov 8, 2013 9:51 am
Four returning players and 11 new faces. That is the makeup of the 2013-14 Rio Grande men’s basketball team. It would be an understatement to say that this RedStorm team is young, but despite its youth it is all also very energized and full of potential.
Nine players on the RedStorm roster are listed as guards, and out of those nine, four are returning players. However, out of all six players listed as centers and forwards, not a single one of them played for Rio Grande last year. There are four transfers and two freshman that make up the center and forward positions, and they come various backgrounds including Denmark, Virginia, and several parts of Ohio.
With head coach Ken French entering his eighth season, Rio Grande looks to win early and often. Veteran guards and young post players highlight the RedStorm’s roster as their first game is set for Nov. 9 against Miami-Hamilton.
No. 2 Ricky Tisdale: (Senior; Bolivar, Tenn.)
The 5-foot-8 transfer from William Jewell College will provide experience to a youthful RedStorm team during the 2013-14 season. Tisdale joins Jermaine Warmack as the second senior on the RedStorm roster.
No. 3 Bird McNeal: (Freshman; Logan, Ohio)
McNeal played a key role for Logan High School during his senior year. He led the Chieftains in assists, and was second in scoring and rebounding. Bird is deadly from behind the arc, and proved that at Logan after he hit eight 3-pointers in a game to set a school record. McNeal netted 52 total 3-point buckets last season, and his talent from behind the arc will add a spark to the RedStorm’s offense.
No. 4 Jermaine Warmack: (Senior; Orange, N.J.)
Last season, Warmack led the RedStorm with 126 assists and 68 steals. The 5-foot-9 point guard serves as one of only two seniors on the RedStorm roster. Look for the four-year starter to put up big numbers in his final season for Rio Grande.
No. 10 D.D. Joiner: (Sophomore; Columbus, Ohio)
Joiner looks to rebound off of his success from his freshman year. Last season, he was named the Mid-South Conference Freshman of the Year, while also being named to the All-MSC Second Team. The 6-foot-4 standout led the RedStorm in scoring with 15.3 points per game, including a career-high 42 points in a double overtime win at the University of the Cumberlands. Joiner appeared in 28 games for Rio, including 24 starts and averaged 4.6 rebounds per contest. He connected on 45.7 percent of his overall field goal attempts, while shooting 32.7 percent from the 3-point range and shot 76.1 percent from the free throw line.
No. 11 Evan Legg: (Junior; Piketon, Ohio)
Two seasons ago, Legg earned the Mid-South Conference Freshman of the Year award for the RedStorm. In his sophomore season, Legg shot 80.8 percent from the free throw line, making him a valuable asset in crucial game situations. Legg also earned Academic All-MSC honors last season.
No. 12 Gabe Davila: (Sophomore; Rocky River, Ohio)
Davila, a 6-foot-1 point guard, will be making a return to the hardwood after a two-year hiatus. Gabe played high school basketball at Beachwood High School in Cleveland. He last played at Delaware Technical Community College during the 2010-11 season where he helped lead the Hawks to the NJCAA Division II national tournament. Davila averaged 6.4 points, two rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game at Delaware Tech, ranking 26th nationally in assists.
No. 21 Travis Elliot: (Junior; Ironton, Ohio)
Elliot played in 24 games during his sophomore year for the RedStorm. He executed on 44.3 percent of his overall field goal attempts and shot 66.7 percent from the free throw line. Last season, Elliot earned Academic All-MSC honors.
No. 40 Kyle Rollins: (Freshman; West Jefferson, Ohio)
Rollins played a pivotal role for the West Jefferson Roughriders during his senior season and led his team to a 17-7 finish. The 6-foot-1 guard was named to the All-Mid-State League Cardinal Division First Team, in addition to earning First Team All-County and Honorable Mention All-District honors during his senior year of high school.
No. 44 Jalen Harris: (Freshman; Stephens City, Va.) Despite this being his first year in college basketball, Harris has shown that he has what it takes to lead a team. Harris was the captain of the Fork Union Military Academy basketball team last year, and led his team to an 8-4 league record. Coming in at 6-foot-5, Harris is behind three other forwards that transferred to Rio Grande this year. However, if he shows leadership qualities early on, look out for Harris to get some minutes at the small forward position.
No. 20 Phillip Hertz: (Sophomore; Rungsted Kyst, Denmark) After playing his freshman season at Clark College in Washington, Hertz transferred to Rio Grande for the 2013-14 season. At Clark College, Hertz played all 24 games and averaged 14 points a game as well as 5.5 rebounds. The RedStorm will need his rebounding and scoring ability, as they do not return a single forward from last year’s squad. Hertz is also is a frontrunner for the starting small forward position because of his ability to stay healthy and make the most of his minutes while he is on the court.
No. 33 Josh Reagan: (Junior; Cleveland) As the oldest forward on the RedStorm’s roster, Reagan will be able to use his experience to benefit the younger forwards for Rio Grande. Reagan is a transfer like Hertz, but is coming from Cuyahoga Community College where he played center and led the team in points per game with 25. Reagan also led Cuyahoga with 11 rebounds a game and shot 63.4 percent from the field, which was another team best. With all of his past success, Reagan is the projected starter for the RedStorm. That projection could change, however, as he must adjust to the forward position after playing center last year and also faces stiff competition from Phillip Hertz.
No. 5 Bilal Young: (Freshman; Gahanna, Ohio) At 6-foot-6 and one of six freshmen for Rio Grande, it will be difficult for Young to stand out. However, Young is a player that is motivated by challenge, and sets out to have an impact for the RedStorm this year. In the depth chart, Young is behind transfer players Hertz and Reagan. Although Young isn’t a starter, he fits into the roster because Rio has no returning players that play the forward position, and will be needed to give quality minutes off the bench.
No. 34 Dwayne Bazemore: (Junior; Columbus, Ohio) After playing only seven games last year at Cincinnati State Technical Community College, Bazemore decided to transfer to Rio Grande. Bazemore also decided to redshirt this year which will put a majority of the workload on Sterling Smoak. This also means that a forward like Josh Reagan may be asked to play some center, which isn’t too much of a problem because he played that position last year for Cuyahoga Community College.
No. 50 Sterling Smoak: (Junior; San Antonio) Smoak played 27 games last year at Motlow State Community College, but he did not start a single game. Things will be much different this year at Rio Grande because he is only one of two centers on the team. After only playing 1.4 minutes a game at Motlow, Smoak will see much more playing time this year. Averaging one minute and one point a game will not be in Smoak’s future, and the RedStorm need this 6-foot-9 center to step up to the challenge.