Nightmare at Niagara: Green, Tanksley to transfer
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • April 29, 2013 @ 4:32pm
According to Buffalo News’ Niagara basketball beat writer Bob DiCesare, the Purple Eagles’ worst nightmare is about to come true.
Niagara confirms Juan’ya Green, Ameen Tanksley granted releases to transfer— Bob DiCesare (@tbndicesare) April 29, 2013
When head coach Joe Mihalich surprisingly bolted campus for the Hofstra job, the Niagara’s chief concern was whether newly-hired coach Chris Casey—in his first Division I gig—could lure back Mihalich’s core of players. Monday’s news is the first sign of discontentment, but the two departures are program-altering.
Without question, the 6’3 Green was the Purple Eagles’ best all-around player—he could defend, facilitate, handle the ball, score in the lane, rebound and occasionally knock down shots from outside. He earned All-MAAC First Team honors as a sophomore after picking up MAAC Rookie of the Year as a frosh.
Green posted 17 points per game and ranked second in the conference with 5.0 assists per contest. Moreover, his late-game exploits helped propel the Purple Eagles to the regular season conference title and a berth in the National Invitational Tournament.
Tanksley—close friends with Green, as DiCesare alluded—averaged a respectable 11 points and six rebounds per game, peaking in important games. The 6’6 forward registered 14 points in the MAAC semifinal loss to Iona before sinking four threes and scoring 18 against Maryland in the first round of the NIT.
The nasty rumor had been circulating on the Purple Eagles’ Voy message board for the past week, but the suspicions ran counter to Green’s public affirmation that he’d remain a part of the Niagara program.
There’s been no indication that Tahjere McCall, T.J. Cline or Antoine Mason have expressed interest in leaving, although DiCesare suggests that a new destination is possible for the former two.
Assuming that Green and Tanksley are a package deal in transferring—they were a package deal when they were recruited to Niagara—it wouldn’t be surprising to see them transfer closer to their hometown. While their link could limit suitors—Green is a high-major talent while Tanksley is comfortably mid-major—this news is devastating for Purple Eagles basketball.
(Photos courtesy of Robin David Brown from the Niagara vs. Canisius game—see the full gallery).