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 a very good season in 2021-22. 5 of their high six scorers had departed through the switch portal after the season. Acknowledging these details throughout discussions with potential additions, Ladner bought them on alternative.
Eight incoming transfers had been prepared to purchase. The Golden Eagles accomplished an intensive 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 instructed 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 yr was what it was, we received in right here late. The final two years have been robust when it comes to 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 % from 3-point vary.
He arrived at Southern Miss due to 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 dimension is only a weapon that we’ve 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 yr earlier than that.
Ladner additionally added Nick Williams to his workers 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 just below 5 factors per sport.
“We simply form of received fortunate,” Ladner mentioned. “I might say, it is a mixture of luck and perhaps some strategic luck in the truth that that they had 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 dimension. 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 would not look after 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 and do actually, very 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 now have to just accept that. ”
The Golden Eagles misplaced high 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 probably wanted a contemporary 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 faculty basketball below his belt. The 2022-23 roster won’t characteristic a single freshman.
“There can be occasions we had been warming up, and I might look down at our staff and I might look down there on the different staff and assume, ‘Gosh, they’re males,’ and we simply had a bunch of young- wanting guys for probably the most half, ”Ladner mentioned. “We’re coming off of a troublesome season that was unacceptable and I feel a part of us getting outdated 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 email@example.com or on Twitter @ davideckert98.