It's Transfer Season for Monarch Basketball
Brittany Reigelsperger | Contributing Writer
Even with just two seniors (Jordan Baker and Denzell Taylor) leaving after the 2016-2017 season, Monarch basketball has had a significant roster turnover this off-season. They will welcome two incoming freshmen Marquis Godwin (Hampton, Virginia) and Michael Hueitt Jr. (Fayetteville, North Carolina).
Hampton High School senior small forward Marquis Godwin committed to ODU in mid-October of 2016. He has a two-star grade on ESPN Scout report and is currently ranked 12th in the state of Virginia. At 6 foot 5 inches and 165 pounds, his body is not physically mature, but he has been acknowledged for his great shooting abilities. Shooting guard Michael Hueitt Jr. from Northwood Temple Academy is currently ranked ninth in the state of North Carolina. He’s 6 foot 3 inches, 175 pounds and had numerous double-doubles last season. The pair offers promise to the Monarchs in future years.
On April 19th ODU Men’s Basketball announced via twitter that they would be accepting graduate transfer forward Greg McClinton from Wake Forest. McClinton will have just one year of eligibility to play at Old Dominion which begs the question of how necessary it was to recruit him in the first place. While he was nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Team in 2013, he only averaged 2.6 points and 2.2 rebounds a game during his three years and 85 games at Wake Forest.
“Greg’s experience and versatile skill set will complement our returning players, and we are excited to have him join the Monarch family,” ODU basketball head coach Jeff Jones said.
In addition to McClinton, the Monarchs will also be welcoming a second transfer from University of Pittsburgh: guard Justice Kithcart. As a freshman at Pitt, Kithcart appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.3 points and less than one rebound a game. Although Kithcart will have to sit out the 2017-2018 season because of NCAA transfer rules, reserve guard Keith Pinckney is readily available and will have a chance to prove himself on the court. Pinckney has been noted to have “energy, focus and grit” as stated by teammate B.J. Stith.
“We are very familiar with Justice, having recruited him out Virginia Episcopal School two years ago, Justice is an outstanding young man and an extremely intense competitor that will have an immediate impact at the point guard position after the transfer redshirt year,” Jones said.
While it seems that Jones has had his eyes on Kithcart for some time now, his focus may be slightly misguided. On March 3, 2017, head coach Kevin Stallings at the University of Pittsburgh announced Kithcart’s dismissal from the team for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
“It is a privilege to play basketball at the University of Pittsburgh and with that privilege comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in the appropriate manner and unfortunately, Justice has been unable to uphold that standard.” Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings said in a statement after Kithcart’s dismissal.
Red flags have been raised as to why Jeff Jones would exuberantly welcome a player who was dismissed for violating team rules when Jones himself has had to release four players in the last two seasons. Those players being Ambrose Mosley, Payton Pervier, Javonte Douglass and most recently, Conference USA Sixth Man of the Year Zoran Talley. It seems that Jones should be looking to add well-rounded and promising players instead of adding an addition to the team’s conduct risk. Fans may also be wondering if Talley’s dismissal was completely necessary when Kithcart poses similar issues.
“Zoran has been a valued member of the Monarch basketball family for the last three years. We appreciate Zoran’s contributions to our program and wish him the very best in his future endeavors,” Jones said.
Talley is the second Monarch who has left since the closing of the 2016-2017 season. Guard Travis Fields has transferred to Radford and Randy Haynes announced he would transfer but untimely decided that he would return to the program.
“Randy and I had a lengthy conversation and came to a mutual agreement that it is in his best interest to finish his academic and athletic career at Old Dominion. Now it is time to get back to work,” Jones said.
Players have elected to transfer in hopes to join a program where they have a better opportunity to showcase their talents. The total number of transfers and dismissals in the past two seasons has become alarming. If the Monarchs are looking to contend, they can’t continue to have such vast roster turnovers season after season.