The University of Rhode Island men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley and his staff have secured verbal commitments from four current high school seniors who will start their Rhode Island experience in the fall of 2018. Spoiler alert: this is the best recruiting class in the Hurley era.
What happens at the end of the 2017-18 basketball season for URI? Ideally for Rhody fans another Atlantic 10 Championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament. But, after that? Hopefully a couple more banners will be raised into the rafters of the Ryan Center. What about Rhody in the 2018-19 season and onward?
At the end of this season five seniors will depart the program and move onto their professional careers and so on. Andre Berry, Jarvis Garrett, Stanford Robinson, Jared Terrell and E.C. Matthews will all be gone at the end of this season. A tough reality to face for Rhody fans as they all, in someway shape or form, have left their mark on the program.
The program will continue to move forward, however. Key players like Jeff Dowtin and Cyril Langevine become the faces of the team and the new, young recruits become the stars of tomorrow.
The recruiting class that Hurley and his staff have comprised from the high school class of 2018 is very impressive. The class of 2023 is the best recruiting class to come through Rhode Island under Dan Hurley.
According to ESPN, of the four recruits URI has received verbal commitments from, two of them are three-star players, while two of them are four-star athletes.
One of the three-star prospects is guard Tyrese Martin. Martin, from Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia turned down offers from Utah, Minnesota, and Seton Hall amongst others to join Rhode Island.
The second three-star is Brandon Adams. Adams is the brother of current St. Bonaventure guard, Jaylen Adams. Adams choose URI over schools such as Georgia, Georgia Tech, and St. Joseph’s, just to name a few.
Dana Tate, one of the recruits listed as a four-star small forward according to ESPN, is originally from Springfield, Massachusetts. Tate’s final four schools were Northeastern, Massachusetts, Richmond, and Rhode Island.
The biggest recruit the Rams landed is Jermaine Harris. Harris is a four-star recruit and ESPN top 100 recruit in the nation. Harris is the first ESPN top 100 to commit to Rhode Island since Terrell did in 2014. Harris had fielded offers from Kansas, Xavier, West Virginia, Miami, South Carolina, and Maryland. That is a great group of schools to be associated with.
For Rhode Island, this recruiting class continues to build them a national identity. They will be able to compete next year in the Atlantic 10 despite losing five seniors.
As a mid-major, I hate to break it to you, but a national championship is a far cry. However, there are advantages to both the players and program. The advantage for the new players are it gives them the opportunity to play meaningful minutes the second they get on campus. For the program, it allows Hurley and staff to continue trending upward as an elite mid-major program.
Losing five seniors is not an easy task to overcome. But, with the emergence of current sophomores and juniors and a top 25 recruiting class in all of college basketball, Rhode Island will compete for an Atlantic 10 Championship for the next five years.
Since Hurley arrived in Kingston, recruiting has been his area of expertise. Recruiting players like Hassan Martin, Matthews, Terrell, etc. have been some of the best players in the A-10 during the past four years. The staff that Hurley has assembled is strong. Assistant coaches have come and gone under Hurley. Coaches like Luke Murray, who is now an assistant at Xavier, and Antonio Reynolds Dean, who has departed for Clemson, have used Rhody as a platform to get bigger jobs. The assistants not only help with coaching but also recruiting.
The 2017-18 assistant coaches will continue to do just that. David Cox, who is Hurley’s associate head coach, is assigned the Maryland, Delaware, Virginia region of America. Cox’s region is well represented in this year’s class. Adams and Harris are from Maryland, and Tyrese Martin is from Virginia. Cox knocked this year’s recruiting process out of the park.
Hurley also added Tom Moore to the staff this season. Moore spent 13 years under then head coach Jim Calhoun at UConn. The Huskies won two national championships with Moore on the staff.
For Rhode Island fans, losing hope at the end of this season was certainly an option. Losing five seniors and being a mid-major does not add up to anything less than an unsuccessful future. However, Hurley and his staff came to play this offseason. They have the best team in the A-10 for 2017-18, and have placed themselves in a great spot going forward. Rhode Island continues to build a program. Mid-major teams do not last. But, mid-major programs? Well, those are established for years.