With the exception of the last five days, March was a tough and disappointing month for the University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team.
They were outplayed against the University of Dayton twice, fell from atop the Atlantic 10 standings, missed the NCAA Tournament and lost to Stanford University in the second round of the NIT Tournament. Outside of game action, they said goodbye to seniors Gilvydas Biruta and T.J. Buchanan, and rumors about head coach Dan Hurley taking the open St. John’s position spread through social media.
Five days later, that crisis was over.
On Sunday, head coach Dan Hurley agreed to a six-year contract extension that will keep him in Rhode Island through the 2020-21 season. Per sports information director Mike Laprey, Hurley’s “compensation package” will reach $1 million per season guaranteed by 2017-18. His current figure of $630,000 is among the bottom four in the Atlantic 10.
Then on Tuesday, the Rams landed graduate transfer Four McGlynn, who led Towson University in points, assists, minutes and free throw percentage this past season. Â His 91.7 percent free throw mark qualified him for top five in the country. McGlynn gets the chance to play immediately with one year of eligibility left.
College basketball fanatics might remember McGlynn from the University of Vermont team that made the NCAA Tournament three years ago. Â He led the team in scoring as a freshman with 12 points per game and carried Vermont through the play-in game with a game-high 18 points only to lose to the University of North Carolina (who fell in the Elite Eight) in the second round.
At the end of the season McGlynn transferred to Towson, forcing him to sit a year due to NCAA eligibility policies. This past year he averaged 12 points, including seven games of at least 20 points, and shot 40 percent from the field.
McGlynn is the sharpshooter Rhode Island desperately needs. Â Over the last two years, he shot about 91 percent from the free throw line and around 40 percent from beyond the arc.
In both 3-point and free throw percentage, Rhode Island was in the bottom four in the conference last year. Â They averaged just 66 percent from the line and lost six games by five or fewer points where they averaged more than seven missed foul shots. Â Opponents took advantage of Rhode Island’s poor 3-point shooting last season by playing zone and forcing the Rams to connect from beyond the arc.
Providence Journal’s Bill Koch reported the connection between McGlynn and Rhode Island was through Rhode Island’s assistant coach Luke Murray, a former Towson assistant coach.
With the addition of McGlynn and the talented 6-foot-9 forward Kuran Iverson, along with Hurley’s extension, the Rams will likely be favorites to be on top of the conference standings next season. Â 6-foot-7 forward Leroy Butts and 6-foot-4 guard Christion Thompson, both three-star recruits, will also be joining the Rams next season, according to Yahoo! Sports.