The recruiting regular signing period for the 2014-15 basketball season ends today, and the Rhode Island Rams have a few new faces. Sure, there still may be some minor roster wrinkles to iron out, but fans have a pretty good idea of what Rhody will look like next season.
And the word that keeps coming up is “better”. There’s virtually no doubt about that. But how much better? URI fanatics have been burned before when it comes to expectations… as recently as last year, in fact. So let’s take one more look at the newcomers and what they can bring to next year’s team.
Jarvis Garrett (Guard, 6’0″, 175 lbs)
The Terrell hysteria has kind of pushed Garrett talk to the back burner, but let’s not forget how good this kid is. He was a three star recruit according to both Rivals and 247Sports, and was one of the top available point guards in the country when he committed to URI. His unique blend of quickness and aggression (on both ends of the floor) could make him a game-changer for the Rams. Also, he’s a “pass first” point guard. So a pass-first guard on a team with E.C. Matthews, Hassan Martin, Gilvydas Biruta, and the guy below? Sounds pretty good.
Jared Terrell (Guard, 6’3″, 220 lbs)
Ah yes, the pièce de résistance of Rhody’s 2014-15 recruiting class. While Garrett was one of the best available point guards, Terrell was one of the best available players, period. The shooting guard is a consensus Top 100 player, and is the only one on this list who seems like a lock to start from day one. Terrell already has the build to play at the collegiate level, and there’s not much that he doesn’t do well. One overlooked aspect of his game is his defense, which is stellar by all accounts. He’ll still be a freshman next year, but it may not look like it on the floor.
Earl Watson (Forward, 6’7″, 250 lbs)
Last but not least is JuCo transfer (and physical specimen) Earl Watson. With Dan Hurley publicly committing to a three-guard offense, there may not be an opportunity for Watson to start next season, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have an impact. With his size and strength, Watson is a presence down low. And being a JuCo, he has a little more experience than the current high school seniors. Watson can score a bit, but his real strength is in rebounding and shot-blocking. He’ll add to URI’s front court depth and looks to be a big asset coming off the bench.
Of course, expectations right now are at an all-time high in the Dan Hurley era. Should we be tempering them a bit? After all, neither Matthews nor Martin were in the starting lineup on opening night last season, and each suffered their fair share of growing pains a year ago. It’s easy to remember how solid they were down the stretch, but don’t forget the bumps along the road, however minimal. Are these new players talented enough to gel right away? Or is it going to take some time? Let us know your thoughts!