Cooper begins overhaul of Miami roster
Following a 9-22 season in the first year of the John Cooper era, the Miami University basketball team will look very different next year, thanks to a slew of transfers, both in and out.
Gone is leading scorer Allen Roberts. Gone is fourth leading scorer and second leading rebounder Jon Harris. Gone are role players Drew McGhee, Jared Tadlock and Josh Sewell.
Roberts and his 12.3 points per game head to Penn State University, where he will be eligible to play right away as a graduate transfer. Harris will go to Cleveland State University, where his uncle once played. Harris will have one year left at Cleveland State, after averaging 8.5 points and 4.2 rebounds last year for the RedHawks. McGhee will play at Kennesaw State as a graduate transfer while Tadlock will suit up for Fort Hays State University. Sewell will remain at Miami to finish his studies, but will not play for the team.
"We appreciate what those guys did and now we're hoping that they are successful and that we are the same here," Cooper said.
Forward Blake McLimans will transfer to Miami from the University of Michigan via the same graduate rule that McGhee and Roberts are using. McLimans did not play much for the Wolverines in four years, averaging less than a point and a rebound during his time north of Ohio, but Cooper is still excited to have him.
"We're excited about him," Cooper said. "He's got size; he's 6-10. He's won. He's played against really, really good players every day in practice; the Michigan team was extremely talented, tough, hard-working team."
In their first full season recruiting at Miami, Cooper and his staff signed a pair of Australians who might have to contribute more than most freshmen, due to the roster overhaul.
"Well, they are freshmen," Cooper said. "I'm expecting them to come in and be lost some. I'm expecting them to make mistakes, but having said that, they have some things that they will bring to this team."
The first, Joshua Oswald, is a 6-foot-7, 210 pound forward who played for the Australian under-19 team.
"Oswald has shown that he is a young man who can knock down some shots and hopefully he will provide that," Cooper said.
The second Aussie, Jaryd Eustace, is a 6-foot-7, 185 pound combo guard who Cooper said can do many different things for the 'Hawks.
"When you look at Eustace, you're talking about a young man who has perimeter skills at his size," Cooper said. "He has the ability to play point and he can play multiple positions because of his size, his savvy and ability to pass."
The 'Hawks return rising sophomore guards Reggie Johnson and Geovonie McKinght, two rising seniors in guard Quinten Rollins and redshirt forward Will Felder as well as rising junior guard Will Sullivan. But the Red and White will also have two players on the roster who did not get to play much last season for different reasons.
Redshirt walk-on sophomore center John Hawkins sat out last season after transferring from Palm Beach Atlantic. Hawkins brings much needed size to Miami, but Cooper said the 7-foot, 260 pounder has struggled with weight issues in the past.
Miami will hope to finally get a full season out of rising redshirt senior forward Bill Edwards. The former transfer from Penn State has only played in 12 games for Miami because of a wrist injury in 2011 and a torn ACL in 2012. Cooper said he is not sure when Edwards will be back, but that Miami and Edwards will attempt to get a medical redshirt that will allow Edwards to get a sixth year of eligibility. However, sixth-years are rarely given out by the NCAA and Cooper said, "You're always at the mercy of the NCAA."
The RedHawk will add a pair of transfer guards who will not be eligible to play this season because of NCAA rules. Eric Washington heads to Miami after two seasons at Presbyterian College and will have two left at Miami.
"He's a kid we're really excited about," Cooper said. "You talk about a kid that averaged 6.5 assists step up. Its still a process, we'lly went and recrutied a bring to this team. Oswald has sholast year on a program that in many ways, were inconsistent offensively. He's a pure point and knows how to play."
Washington's 6.5 assists per game ranked 15th among Division I schools last season.
Willie Moore will return to Ohio, as he leaves the Green and Yellow of Oregon University to don the Red and White of Miami. The former Aiken High School star played sparingly at Oregon in his only year as a Duck, but Cooper said he recruited Moore when Cooper first took over as Miami head coach. Cooper said Moore has not been officially admitted yet, but will be soon.
With the transfers out of Oxford, Miami has only 11 players on scholarship, including the two transfers that won't be able to play next season, as opposed to the 13 allowed by NCAA rules. However, Cooper is encouraging patience, as rebuilding a program that hasn't had a winning season since the 2008-2009 season takes time.
"The number one thing is that we get better," Cooper said. "It's still a process, we're still building. It's not going to happen overnight."
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