Greener pastures: Four former Purple Eagles find landing spots
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • May 13, 2013 @ 10:38am
When Niagara basketball stalwarts Ameen Tanksley and Juan’ya Green announced their intentions to transfer after the departure of Joe Mihalich, it was logical that the Philadelphia duo—both Mihalich recruits—would follow the footsteps of their former head coach. In this instance, logical predictions quickly became reality.
The Hofstra University athletic department announced that former Purple Eagles Green, Tanksley and recruit Jamall Robinson have transferred to the Pride, filling some of the voids left by the dismissal of four players from the program after last season’s burglary saga.
Though Green and Tanksley will be forced to sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Mihalich—who spent 15 years on Monteagle Ridge—will be well stocked to contend for the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title the following season. Robinson will be eligible immediately.
We’ve praised Green’s ability and production in our Buffalo.com All-Big 4 basketball team, while Tanksley experienced a bit of a sophomore slump—he fell in love with deep jump shots—before heating up in the postseason.
Don’t let Robinson’s measly eight points per game at Paul VI Catholic in Fairfax, Va., fool you—according to this Washington Post article, the recruit’s gifts do not necessarily appear on the stat-sheet.
Robinson is a four-year varsity player who averaged eight points per game last season and stands as the winningest player in Paul VI history with 96 victories. Along with his leadership ability, Robinson is a strong defender who can excel at multiple positions with his mid-range game and physical play.
Robinson regularly faced high school powerhouses like DeMatha, Montverde Academy and Oak Hill, elite foes that consistently churn out high-major Division I players. Unfortunately, Paul VI Catholic did not finish inside the AP’s Top 25 high school basketball programs for the 2012-13 season.
To rub salt in the wound, MAAC All-Rookie Team selection T.J. Cline announced that he’ll transfer to Richmond University, according to a tweet from ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla (see below).
Nancy Lieberman’s son, T.J. Cline, is transferring to Richmond after successful frosh year at Niagara. Great kid. Self-made player!— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) May 13, 2013
(First off, aren’t all successful athletes technically “self-made”?) Cline has his supporters and detractors in regard to his ability—Mihalich raved about his development and improved grittiness as last season unfolded, noting in a MAAC Tournament press conference that Cline deserved MAAC Rookie of the Year honors, even though the award eventually went to Fairfield’s Amadou Sidibe and Manhattan’s Shane Richards.
The media—including The Buffalo News’ Bob DiCesare—wasn’t particularly high on Cline, who was viewed as a “gunner” who shot whenever he touched the ball and a liability on the defensive end.
Like Green and Tanksley, Cline will have to sit out a year under Richmond’s Chris Mooney. By the time Cline is eligible to play, Richmond will have graduated four of its top five scorers from the 2012-13 season.
His bloodlines—he’s the under-recruited son of Naismith Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman—make for an inspiring story, but his departure doesn’t qualify as a devastating loss for the Purple Eagles.
While Niagara’s current students and alumni probably won’t find this amusing, I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw this tweet responding to Fraschilla’s:
@franfraschilla I hear the purple eagle is also transferring from Niagara.— Nick Cacchione (@nickcacchione) May 13, 2013
(All photos courtesy of Buffalo.com photographer Robin David Brown from last year’s Niagara vs. Iona regular season clash—see the full gallery).