All the height that the USI men’s basketball team added during its most recent spate of signings looks great (for background, read my story here). A 6-foot-7 and a 6-11 and a 7-1 are a combination the Eagles have not had at any point under coach Rodney Watson.
But will any of these guys turn out to be dominant players? Or even just plain good players?
Start with the 6-7 Emmanuel Audu. Watson admits — and Audu admits — that’s he’s not exactly a scorer (he averaged 3.9 points per game at Carl Albert State College). But he can rebound (he averaged 5.1 boards in junior college) and, supposedly, block shots. But he has a lot of work ahead of him to get used to USI’s playing style. The upside may be that he has three years of eligibility to do that.
As for 7-1 Davis Carter, he said he STARTED playing organized hoops his senior year in high school. He then went to a prep school, Bridgton Academy in Maine. After that, he signed with a junor college that, he said, was more focused on guards than post players. He realized his mistake and decided that maybe going to USI — which had seriously considered signing him when he was still in high school — would be a good idea. But Watson said he may be redshirted and that Carter is cool with that, so we may have to wait awhile to see exactly what Carter, who has three of years of eligibility, can do.
Them there’s the 6-11 Macam Macam. Watson said he was offered a scholarship by Syracuse. But, in the end, he didn’t end up at any Division I school, instead going to a junior college in Kansas. I understand the holdup may have had something to do with academics related to his deafness. In any case, he has the respect of at least one online recruiting service, Rivals.com, which rated him a four-star recruit, with five stars being the top rating. On the other hand, we’ll apparently have to wait until after school starts in August to see what he can do; Watson said he’s at home in Lynn, Massachusetts (Macam is a native of Sudan), and will not arrive at USI until the start of the fall semester.
That’s not a great sign. Working out with his future teammates on campus over the summer would allow him to get to know them and help him start to figuring out how he will fit in to the Eagles’s offensive and defensive schemes. I understand that he is sensitive about his deafness. But he’s going to have a fairly steep learning curve when he does show up and only a couple of months to climb it. And don’t forget that everybody will have to acclimate themselves to communicating with him, either through sign language or an interpreter, adding another level of adjustment.
At least give Watson credit for finding not one, not two, but three bigs. We just won’t know if they’re any good until after the season begins. If then.