Mike Houston was a special guest today at the O’Neill’s Grill Fan & Press Luncheon. He was there to talk about the Dukes’ Spring Football plans and he dropped a few nuggets in the process. First of all, the team’s Spring Game will take place on April 8 in Bridgeforth Stadium. The twist is that there will be a post game ceremony on the field to hand out the 2016 FCS National Championship rings right after the game. So we’re guessing JMU is trying to boost attendance at the Spring Game. That works for us. Nothing wrong with a little April tailgating.
Houston also mentioned that Conor Mitch, has left the JMU football program. As you recall, Mitch joined the team last summer as a graduate transfer from the University of South Carolina (USC). He earned the starting job at USC, only to suffer a season ending injury. While he never made a significant impact on the field for JMU, we like to think that his presence provided that extra bit of motivation Bryan Schor needed to elevate his game. For that we thank Mitch and wish him well.
In other personnel news, Coach Houston officially stated that Terrance Alls, Brandon Hereford, and two other players who were suspended for undisclosed reasons for the semifinals and championship game, are back with the team. Additionally, Marcell Johnson was dismissed from the team. Alls and Hereford were the only players who were ever formally announced as suspended. There weren’t a lot of details about the players’ status, but it’s safe to assume they’re in some sort of “Jimmy Moreland earning it all over again” status. Both guys are studs, so it’s great to have them back.
Houston also reiterated that JMU is ready to make an FBS move, if the right opportunity comes along. Guess it’s always good to have your coach speak directly about such things, but this was much ado about nothing when you think about it. JMU has been pretty clear that it’s not interested in jumping for the first FBS opening that presents itself. That’s a good thing in my opinion. Stay patient and wait for the right fit. That might mean waiting until a total shakeup of the G5 and a move to regional conferences, which seems a little less far fetched given the Liberty waiver and situations with UMass and UConn. Essentially, it’s the same as it ever was, but at least now the Head Coach is the one addressing it head on. There are no options right now, but should one that works for the entire athletics program emerge, JMU will go for it. Lather, rinse, repeat.
PRESS RELEASE: NCAA Approves Liberty’s Waiver Request for FBS Reclassification Process
— Liberty Flames (@libertyflames) February 16, 2017
Earlier this afternoon, Liberty University, the school that hired the ex-Baylor AD Ian McCaw who failed to report an allegation of a 2012 sexual assault involving five football players, announced its intention to move its football program to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The timing was shocking, but it was no secret the school had its sights set on making the move eventually. Liberty University, the school that hired the ex-Baylor AD Ian McCaw who reportedly asked for immunity for football players under investigation for sexual assault, had made a number of public overtures to join FBS conferences. After the school was repeatedly denied, its only option appeared to be getting a waiver from the NCAA to make the jump without an invitation from a conference. The NCAA granted that waiver and now the move to FBS is in the works.
There are a few different ways for the JMU faithful to react to this news. We’re guessing the “FBS or Bust” crew will probably lose their minds and double-down on the sky is falling, Fire Bourne!, Fire Alger! rhetoric that was temporarily put on the back burner during the run to Frisco. The “Pro FCS” folks will probably laugh this off and immediately point out the risk of making the leap without any conference affiliation. And the “Whatever. I’m Rootin Regardless” folks probably have better things to do than read this nonsense. We’re not going to tell you how to feel. We’re not going to light our pitchforks and protest on the quad. And we’re not going to wrap you in a blanket and tell you that everything is going to be just fine. Because we don’t really know. And it’s all up to you to decide.
We will point out a few facts though. First off, Liberty University, the school that hired the ex-Baylor AD Ian McCaw who allegedly helped suppress up to 52 cases of sexual assault by football players, is in a very different situation than JMU. While we all love JMU, it’s not a school with deep pockets. Television contracts for the non-P5 FBS are nowhere near as lucrative as they once were. If JMU were to make a similar move to FBS as an independent, it would need to negotiate its own television deal. BYU and Notre Dame have done that, but it would be tough for an FBS newbie.
Likewise, if JMU were to move up as an independent, it would lack the bowl tie-ins or revenue guarantees that conference members get. Mind you, that doesn’t mean that such a move would be a guaranteed disaster. It would be a substantial risk though, especially if the school didn’t have enough money to sustain itself while it worked toward building the revenue streams required to field a competitive team.
Liberty University, the school that hired the ex-Baylor AD Ian McCaw who failed to report allegations of sexual assault by football players to Baylor’s judicial affairs or anyone outside of athletics, on the other hand has very deep pockets. Enough money in fact that it could afford to pay teams to fill its schedule. And it has its own television network, so it wouldn’t need to negotiate broadcast rights. And it has a vastly different mission, which is to become the evangelical Christian version of what BYU is to Mormans and Notre Dame is to Catholics. This means that going it at alone as an FBS independent actually fits the schools vision for itself. JMU’s vision is different. JMU wants to be a part of a conference of peers and has stated it will make a move if an opportunity to join a conference that fits the school comes about.
Again, we’re not going to tell you if this is good or bad for JMU. We’re no different than anyone else, in that we have no idea what the future holds. It’s undeniable though, that JMU does not have the resources of BYU, Notre Dame, or even Liberty University, the school that hired the ex-Baylor AD Ian McCaw who presided over a football program accused of covering up over 50 instances of rape, perpetrated by as many as 31 players. This very well might be a good move for the folks down in Lynchburg. But that doesn’t mean the exact same move is right for JMU right now. But maybe in a few years, we’ll look back fondly on this move and view it as the thing that enabled JMU to join the always dreamed about hypothetical East Coast conference.
Everyone who loves JMU Football, got quite the Valentine’s gift yesterday. As the DNR’s Greg Madia reported, the school officially signed OC Donnie Kirkpatrick and DC Bob Trott to extensions through 2020. They also reached agreements with assistant coaches Dudzik, Thweatt, Hanson, Weaver, Stinespring, Sims, and Williams to extensions to keep them at school next season. Coach Powell and Bowers were already set to stay next season.
This means Coach Houston’s full crop of assistants will be back to help defend the Dukes’ National Championships. It’s impossible to understate how huge this is for the JMU program. One of the reasons we were most excited about Houston taking the reigns, was because he was able to assemble a staff full of so many talented and experienced individuals. The fact that they all are willing to stick around speaks volumes about their respect for Houston and enthusiasm for the program. And the fact that JMU was able to dedicate the resources necessary to keep them happy, shows how committed the school is to winning (in football at least). Football season can’t get here soon enough.
So we’ve reached that busiest time of the year on the JMU Sports calendar when winter and spring sports are both in action. Here at JMUSB we really can never keep up, but it feels even tougher this year after happily burning ourselves out with the long glorious football season and with men’s hoops in what we can only hope we’re not overly generous in calling a “transitional” period at the start of the Coach Rowe era. Alas, as always we can count on JMU’s women’s teams to rekindle our enthusiasm in the best ways.
First and foremost, Coach Mickey Dean, superstar Megan Good and the 14th ranked softball team kicked off their season in style going 3-1 in a batch of games in Charleston, South Carolina. The trip was a highlighted by a 6-0 beatdown of SEC power and fellow ranked team Missouri in Game 1 and solid, handling-their-business wins of 13-3 and 4-0 over Charleston Southern and an underrated-but-RPI-appreciated USC-Upstate team. The Dukes did drop the rematch with Missouri 8-4 in the final game, but that game featured 5 unearned runs from the Tigers. In other words, what we know the Dukes need when Good isn’t on the mound (strong offense and pitchers stepping up) both seemed off to a good start this weekend with a solid debut in the circle from Freshman Oddici Alexander and some decent work from R-Sophomore Jessica McCabe. Next weekend the Dukes travel to Clearwater, Florida where they’ll get more shots against big names, this time the Big 12’s Oklahoma St., the B1G’s Wisconsin, and a strong AAC squad in South Florida.
In more P5-destroying news, the lacrosse team went up to Ann Arbor and poleaxed Michigan 18-6 this weekend. And that was on the heels of giving #1 and defending National Champion North Carolina all they could handle earlier in the week in a back-and-forth slugfest they just missed in a 16-14 defeat. Next up, the Dukes will be in Blacksburg to take on Steve Bannon’s Hokies (sorry, the fact he’s a VT alum is just too crazy not to mention) Wednesday at 4 p.m. with streaming coverage on ESPN3. Our prediction: 21-16 Dukes of course.
Finally, Ms. Hall and the Precious-ettes sort of reversed their usual roles on a rare day of struggles (at least for three quarters) for JMU’s second all-time leading scorer. The Dukes fought their way through a horrendous third quarter and rode a reading-day crowd to a win over Elon and right back into first place in the CAA with a couple weeks to go. After scoring 41 last time out vs. the Phoenix, Elon made a great effort to slow down Hall and force others to beat them. And beat them they did! Amber Porter took over on offense in the first half on her way to a career high 20 points, Savannah Felgemacher went full Windex-Woman in cleaning the glass with 12 boards, and Logan Reynolds generally did her beautiful hustle/scrappy all over the floor thing. Which all gave Precious Hall time – over three quarters – to hang in there and end up getting hot late to close out the only team ahead of them in the standings.
Ok, ok, so I guess we also have to make some sort of comment on the men’s hoops team losing a heartbreaker (of decidedly non-epic proportions) to fellow CAA cellar-dweller Delaware 58-57 on Saturday. The only real comment is that this loss almost certainly puts JMU back in their customary slot on Pillow-Fight Friday at the CAA Tourney in Charleston in a few weeks. When these games were in Richmond, it “might’ve” been worth it to attend that two-game slate of horrible ball, but a trip to the Holy City is almost certainly out of the question unless they make the weekend.
JMU lost to UNCW 88-73 this evening down in Wilmington. The scoreboard said it was a 15 point margin, but it really wasn’t that close. UNCW is a very talented team, with some outstanding shooters. And those shooters came out of the locker room red hot. The Dukes did not. JMU managed only 24 points in the opening half. UNCW on the other hand, scored 47. JMU put together a few runs after the break. Don’t read too much into them though, because UNCW was in full “first half of the season JMU football season coasting home with the lead” mode. Garbage time “comeback” it was. The loss dropped JMU to 7-20, (5-9) and on a collision course for “Pillow Fight” Friday come CAA tourney time. UNCW moved back into sole possession of first place at 23-4, (12-2). Here are 3 numbers from the game.
That’s JMU’s points per possession in the first half. And if you’re not up on basketball stats, that’s not good. It’s pretty awful actually. The Dukes shot only 9 for 26 from the field and turned it over 10 times in the opening stanza. Out of sorts and ineffective. Just a series of possessions wasted by not taking care of the ball and launching bad shots. UNCW on the other hand scored at an unbelievable 1.31 points per possession rate for the first half. As a result, the game was pretty much over at halftime.
That’s how many shots UNCW missed out its first 15 attempts. Damn. We told you they came out of the locker room red hot and we weren’t kidding. Last time these teams played, we noted that UNCW had a way of scoring so quickly and efficiently that they could extend a lead almost without fans noticing. It was impossible not to notice tonight. The game was over before most players broke a sweat.
That’s the number of different starting lineups JMU has used this year. That’s a slight exaggeration. However, the point is that it’s February and JMU still doesn’t have a locked in starting five. Obviously, injuries have played a big part in this. Tonight, Tom Vodanovich didn’t dress due to his injured ribs. And Yohanny Dalembert’s absence has definitely hurt. But injuries aside, Head Coach Lou Rowe still hasn’t found a core of players he can run out there game to game. The guys play hard for Rowe, even when they’re down big like they were tonight. In order to pick up a W or two in Charleston though, they’ve got to find a core group to lead the way.
We all knew Megan Good was, well, good (sorry). That’s obvious to anyone who’s every seen her play. But it’s not just JMU fans who are so impressed with her abilities. ESPN named Good the sixth best softball player in the country in its annual NCAA softball preview.
Good is the only mid-major player in the Top 10. But she’s far from an unknown. Last year was she part of an impressive one-two pitching punch along with the departed Jailyn Ford. Good went 32-3 from the circle, with a 0.94 ERA. She also got it done with the bat, with a .307/.392/.500 slash line. She’s essentially a threat to take over a game both as a pitcher and a batter.
This year, Good will anchor a team that has its sights set on advancing the the College Softball World Series. Last year, the Dukes hosted the Super Regionals in front of record crowds, but fell to LSU. Coach Mickey Deane needs someone to step up and replace Ford, to form the 1-2 pitching punch every great softball team needs. The Dukes are the odds on favorites to win the CAA and enter the season ranked 16th in the nation. The season gets going this Friday with a game against the 17th ranked Missouri Tigers down in Charleston, SC at the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational.
As long-time readers know, this is one of our favorite posts of the year. It’s also one of our best. And that’s entirely because Rob and I have nothing to do with it. As always, we’re turning this over to our friend, contributor, and recruiting guru Michael Evangelista (@Michael_2Clutch) for some actual analysis of what may be the FCS nation’s best, and one of JMU’s all-time best, recruiting classes. Take it away Mike!
“I have decided to further my athletic and academic career at… James Madison University! #GoDukes #NewBreed”
Does this look familiar? If so, it’s because you’ve seen that exact statement all over the Twitter-sphere throughout the year. It’s stunning how 140 characters have changed the landscape of college football recruiting for not just the players and coaches, but also for die-hard fans like you and I.
After winning the national championship at Frisco (Shout out to the 12,000+ Dukes who were there!), the last month has been a wild one for Mike Houston and his staff. There was no time off and the coaches has been traveling all over the east coast – from New Jersey to Georgia – solidifying commitments and finding new ones. This year’s recruiting class is full of very talented, heavily recruited athletes (will get back to this later) that demonstrated a tremendous amount of versatility. This year, JMU signed 25 football players. Many of these recruits not only dominated at their position, but also showed an ability to impact other aspects of the game, whether it was on offense, special teams, or defense.
While stars are often the indicator of how fans determine how highly regarded or talented a prospect is; it’s typically not the case especially at the FCS level where recruiting is a bit different. JMU will likely never land the five-star athlete with multiple SEC offers (at least, directly out of high school) but given JMU’s premier facilities, beautiful campus, access to recruiting hot beds and fan support, we have the ability to land elite players at our level. Think of the mid-major talents who are targeted by the Toledo’s, the Old Dominion’s, and the Boise State’s of the world – Those athletes have the choice to face obscurity, playing for the National Funding Holiday Bowl for example, or play for championships at a program with a rich winning tradition like JMU.
As we look at this year’s class, try not to look at the stars (which if you do, it’s quite impressive, because there are still a lot), but notice the number of rival universities, schools that provide similar offerings, and FBS programs that James Madison was able to beat out. If you look at this class from that point of view, this may be the best recruiting cl…SIKE, just kidding; I’m not going to dare say it.
Here are the 2017 recruits…
Gage Moloney – 6’2 215lbs
State: South Carolina
High School: Northwestern
Analysis: James Madison landed a top-notch recruit in South Carolina’s Mr. Football, Gage Moloney – not a typo, we actually landed South Carolina’s Mr. Football. Standing at 6’2 and 215 pounds, this southpaw fits Donnie Kirkpatrick’s RPO (run-pass-option) scheme perfectly with his large frame, speed (4.74 40) and impressive arm strength. Initially an Ohio commit, Moloney comes from the same program that produced P5 talents in Justin Worley and Mason Rudolph; he has had some big shoes to fill and certainly did not disappoint. Starting his junior year in Northwestern’s “Air Raid” scheme, Moloney threw for 42 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions and only improved moving forward. Similar to my assessment of quarterback DJ Daniels last year, while Moloney is a great athlete at quarterback, he is still more of a “thrower” than a “passer” at this time. I’d keep a close eye on his development, especially with his footwork on quick timing routes and fitting throws in tight windows. Moloney should develop into the ideal dual-threat quarterback and with Cole Johnson’s impressive true freshman year, the 2018 quarterback competition should be fierce.
CAA Comparison: John Robertson (Villanova Alumnus)
Offers: Appalachian State, Colorado State, East Carolina, Ohio, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Mercer, Miami (OH)
Running Back (2):
Marcus Marshall – 5’10 210lbs
State: North Carolina
Previous School: Georgia Tech
Analysis: In 2013, JMU landed Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee, and, as most would say, the rest was history. With the graduation of Khalid Abdullah, JMU went back to Atlanta and landed Georgia Tech’s leading rusher, Marcus Marshall. The former 3-star running back has purple and gold bloodlines, as his parents are both JMU alums. His father is Warren Marshall, JMU’s all-time leading rusher who was inducted into the JMU Hall of Fame in 2013. JMU is getting a powerful running back that also has breakaway speed. He has all the physical attributes to excel at JMU and should push for significant carries in the fall. While JMU’s offense shares aspects of Georgia Tech’s run-based triple option, Marshall’s ability to be patient with reading blocks will be vital to his on-the-field impact. He’s a downhill, one-cut-and-go back who runs behinds his pads, and I imagine Big John will have him even bigger and stronger come fall. With Cardon Johnson’s nagging achilles injury, JMU was wise in bringing in an older back that can contribute immediately. He will certainly be in the rotation with seniors Taylor Wood and Cardon Johnson in addition to junior Trai Sharp.
CAA Comparison: Terrence West (Towson Alumnus and current Baltimore Raven)
Offers: Army, Boston College, Connecticut, Elon, Furman, Holy Cross, Mercer, NC State, Old Dominion, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Western Carolina, William & Mary, Wofford
Percy Agyei-Obese – 5’11 192lbs
High School: Oakdale
Analysis: James Madison is reloading its backfield with the addition of Maryland running back Percy Agyei-Obese. A late bloomer to the game, Percy did not start playing football until high school but quickly showed that he had all the athletic tools to be an impact player. Growing up playing soccer, he was known for his physical nature, which translates well to the running back, and defensive end positions where he also starred. What also stood out to his high school coaches was his speed (4.47 40), which Percy says is “genetic”. He’s a raw athlete, but is a violent runner and draws comparisons to Khalid Abdullah. While Agyei-Obese’s ability to break away on long runs is impressive, you can see that his first objective is to run defenders over. With JMU’s veteran backfield, you can expect to see Percy redshirt his freshman year and learn behind Sharp, Johnson, Marshall and Woods.
CAA Comparison: Khalid Abdullah (JMU)
Offers: Charlotte, Monmouth, Morgan State, Towson, and Robert Morris
Wide Receiver (4):
Daniel Adu – 6’2 175lbs
High School: West Springfield
Analysis: Daniel Adu is a long, lanky wide receiver from Northern Virginia’s, West Springfield High School. An athlete in every sense of the word, he’s a bit of a late bloomer as well, but has a reputation of taking the “top” off defenses with his 4.4 speed (10.46 100M). Similar to Agyei-Obese, Adu did not pick up football until high school but certainly had the skillsets to excel; his better days on the gridiron are ahead of him. He reminds me of former Ticks receiver Reggie Diggs, who was under the radar out of Surry County, but turned into a dynamic playmaker given his size, length and speed. He fits in perfectly as an outside receiver for JMU’s offense, a la Brandon Ravenel and Domo Taylor, and has the big-play potential you like from a tall receiver. Like most high school wide receivers in the FCS, Adu will need to gain weight and muscle before he can begin contributing at this level. Expect him to redshirt and learn from a deep wide receiver unit.
Style: Outside, Balanced (X or Z)
CAA Comparison: Reggie Diggs (Richmond)
Offers: Liberty (track and field), St. Francis (PA)
Ezrah Archie – 6’1 185lbs
State: New Jersey
High School: Timber Creek Regional
Analysis: JMU swooped into the state of New Jersey to pick up a highly touted recruit in wide receiver Ezra Archie. A late addition to the class, Archie was a former University of Pennsylvania commit before choosing the good guys. He had a slew of offers from the Northeast, including opportunities to play in the Ivy League, but chose to pursue a more balanced college experience. Obviously a smart player, Archie adds good size to the outside, and his game is comparable to JMU receiver, Brandon Ravenel. He has good, but not great, speed and uses his polished route-running skills to beat defenders one-on-one. He displayed impressive hand-eye coordination as well. Similar to the running back position, JMU has veterans that should flourish next year at receiver, but Mike Houston is wise to continue bringing in talented athletes to develop. Archie should redshirt his freshman year to learn the offense.
Style: Outside, Possession (X or Z)
CAA Comparison: Brandon Ravenel (JMU)
Offers: Bryant, Lehigh, Citadel, Colgate, Stetson, University of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Lafayette, Cornell, Elon
Kyndel Dean – 6’2 175lbs
State: North Carolina
High School: Parkland
Analysis: Beginning with Everett Withers and now with Mike Houston, JMU has been very successful at recruiting high-quality athletes from the state of North Carolina. It started two years ago with recruiting Trai Sharp, then continued with Adam Smith and Bryce Maginley last year. JMU continues the trend with the signing of wide receiver Kyndel Dean from Parkland High School. Dean may be one of the better athletes to join the program this year, and JMU had to hold off a number of FBS programs to keep him. He’s a tall, fast, physically imposing athlete who dominated the competition. An explosive player, his 4.47 speed stands out on tape, and he also shows good elusiveness that draws comparisons to current JMU receiver, Terrence Alls. While I’d like to see Dean redshirt his freshman year and mature, I would not be surprised if he contributes on special teams as a returner or gunner on the kickoff unit come fall.
Style: Outside, Speed (X or Z)
CAA Comparison: Terrence Alls (JMU)
Offers: Middle Tennessee State, Charlotte, East Tennessee State, Navy, Old Dominion, Campbell, Appalachian State
Josh Sims – 5’10 150lbs
High School: Eastside
Analysis: When North Carolina native Mike Houston first arrived at James Madison, there was an immediate expectation we would be targeting more Southern prospects, and with the addition of Kyndel Dean, Gage Moloney and now, Josh Sims, it’s certainly coming to fruition. Josh Sims is a wide receiver from Covington, Georgia and committed to JMU fairly early in the process. Don’t let his size and weight fool you; Sims is most definitely a playmaker, and his ability to separate from defenders should make you excited for the future of the program. His skillsets fit well in JMU’s offense where his quickness should make him a target on slant routes and bubble screens from the slot position. He may also line up in the backfield occasionally to take advantage of certain mismatches. His strength today is his elusiveness, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sims line up at punt returner in the near future. He should remind JMU fans of wide receiver (and defensive back) DeAndre Smith, who was a main contributor his true freshman year. Smith came to JMU undersized as well, but his overall speed and quickness was difficult to contain.
Style: Slot, Speed
CAA Comparison: DeAndre Smith (JMU Alumnus)
Offers: Kentucky Christian, Tennessee Tech
Tight End (1):
Clayton Cheatham – 6’3 220lbs
High School: Hanover
Analysis: The younger brother of former JMU tight end Deane Cheatham, Clayton will develop into a big target for either Gage Moloney or Cole Johnson. At 6’3, 220 pounds and ranked the twelfth best football prospect in the 804 by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, he is much bigger than Dean was when he first came to campus, and his strength certainly jumps out on tape. An option quarterback at Hanover High School (which has become a farming ground for JMU football), Clayton will need to learn the ins and outs of the position, but has the frame, speed and mindset to succeed. Well-known in the region as a punishing ball carrier, Cheatham’s physical traits should translate well to tight end and give JMU a potent option near the goal line. Right now, JMU has All-CAA tight end in senior, Jonathan Kloosterman, and a number of unproven prospects like Nick Carlton, Mack Cullen, Zach Polglase and Lawton Riggs returning. While a long shot, Cheatham 2.0 could see playing time in the near future.
CAA Comparison: Jonathan Kloosterman (JMU)
Offers: Richmond, UVA (preferred walk-on), Army, Navy, Old Dominion, Towson
Offensive Line (2):
Jake Glavin – 6’2 300lbs
High School: Malvern
Analysis: One of the first commits back in July of 2016, Jake Glavin fits the mold of what Coach Houston is looking for on the offensive line. A wide-bodied, physical specimen, Glavin should fit perfectly in the interior, either at guard or center. The first thing you notice with Glavin is how violent he is off the line of scrimmage and his desire to finish blocks. Much like how the offensive line was coached this year, he fires off the ball and looks for pancakes in the run game. While big bruisers often get placed in the “less-mobile” bucket, Glavin does have some athleticism, which you’ll notice on outside sweeps and pull plays. I know many will hate this, but he reminds me of Richmond’s starting offensive guard, Thomas Evans, given his style of play. The level of competition increases immensely from high school to college, but true football fans can appreciate the number of defenders on the ground after Glavin piles through. Expect Coach Powell to redshirt Jake Glavin with the emergence of players like Mac Patrick (C), Connecticut transfer Zach Rugg (G), Jahee Jackson (G/T) and Tyree Chavious (T) who will play key roles during the 2017 campaign.
Style: Run Blocker
CAA Comparison: Thomas Evans (Richmond)
Offers: Air Force, Robert Morris, St. Francis
Liam Fornadel – 6’3 300lbs
State: New Jersey
High School: Don Bosco Prep
Analysis: JMU’s 2017 prized recruit comes from New Jersey’s premier program, Don Bosco Prep. For those of you who do not know, similar to Paramus HS (Curtis Oliver’s alma mater) and Depaul (Zaire Bethea’s alma mater), Don Bosco is a national powerhouse that consistently has P5 coaches visiting for athletes. Liam Fornadel, son of JMU football alum Paul Fornadel, is rated as a 3 star linemen by both 247sports and Rivals. While I’m sure many of you remember Mickey Matthews’ speech on how “stars get you fired”, Fornadel is the real deal and an impressive haul. James Madison was able to fend off bigger schools like Rutgers, Connecticut, Colorado State, San Diego State and FAU for Liam’s services. For starters, Fornadel is huge. He has a massive frame that can carry another 30 pounds while not losing any quickness, and he’s an impressive athlete. At already 300+ pounds, what stands out on tape is how Fornadel fires off the ball to the second level, either sealing off the backside or driving ‘backers 10-15 yards down the field. He looks every bit the FBS prospect that he’s been billed to be; he also held his own versus 4 and 5-star competition during Rivals’ camps. Long term, Liam would fit in nicely outside at offensive tackle. With Aaron Stinnie being a senior next season, I expect a healthy competition between Fornadel and Jahee Jackson the following year for the blind-side protector role. Given Fornadel’s abilities, don’t be surprised if Coach Powell decides to insert him in the depth chart as a true freshman.
Style: Run Blocker
CAA Comparison: Chris Durant (William & Mary)
Offers: Buffalo, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Coastal Carolina, Connecticut, Monmouth, San Diego State, Rutgers, Colorado State, Florida Atlantic
Defensive Line (6):
Mike Greene – 6’3 273lbs
High School: Highland Springs
Analysis: Highland Springs had over 20 football players sign to play college football this year, and James Madison was able to land one of its top offensive/defensive linemen in Mike Greene. JMU has been on a hot streak landing Richmond players as of late, and Mike Greene is just another stud that will be sporting the purple and gold. While Greene is up to 270 pounds already, he has long arms and the ability to add another 20-30 pounds; he will be a 300-pounder for the Dukes before it’s said and done. What stands out about Greene is his ability to play both defensive and offensive line, which at this level, is highly coveted. With the emphasis on improving both sides of the ball, both Coach Hanson and Coach Powell have an athlete that will be an asset down the road. Expect Greene to redshirt this upcoming season.
Style: Run Stopper
CAA Comparison: Cornell Urquhart (JMU)
Offers: Marshall, Cincinnati, Delaware State, Navy, Old Dominion, Richmond, Air Force
Garrett Groulx – 6’3 240lbs
State: North Carolina
High School: Davidson Day
Analysis: Garrett Groulx is a defensive lineman from North Carolina’s Davidson Day program. A long, lanky athlete, Groulx can either play defensive end or gain weight and play the interior as a gap-penetrating defensive tackle, also known as a 3-technique. An all-state player, Groulx made some noise as a disruptive force on a dominating defense. Being courted by a number of schools on the east coast like Old Dominion, Elon and Richmond, this is an impressive get for JMU, as Davidson Day was another school heavily recruited by big-time college programs. Groulx’s senior year was cut short due to injury, which may have kept some ACC schools away, but you can bet Coach Hanson is excited to have a talent like him to mold. He should redshirt his freshman year and be fully recovered to contribute soon after.
CAA Comparison: Sean O’Neill (JMU Alumnus)
Offers: Old Dominion, Army, Wofford, Richmond, Furman, Western Carolina, Gardner Webb, Charleston Southern, Eastern Kentucky, Army, Mercer, Elon
Marcus Hawkins – 6’3 250lbs
State: North Carolina
High School: Freeman
Analysis: For the caliber of this recruit, Marcus Hawkins’s early commitment to James Madison had me a bit worried. Typically, when a high-touted prospect commits so early, there’s a higher chance that bigger programs can offer and eventually poach them away (see running back PK Kier as an example), but Hawkins’s injury his junior year may have led some ACC schools to look elsewhere. Hawkins is an early enrollee who is currently working out with the team and will be eligible to participate in spring practice. This is a massive benefit since Hawkins will not only be able to adjust to college life, he’ll have a head start with Big John in the weight room, so he can be ready for the fall. With seniors Robinson and Urqhuart leading the way at defensive tackle, along with unproven talents in Rodgers, Knowles-Tener and Atariwa, the addition of Hawkins will provide us with another talented option on the depth chart. Long term, Hawkins should be a disruptive force on the line of scrimmage a la former JMU greats: Jordan Stanton, Lamar Middleton and Ronnell Brown. He brings a mix of quickness and strength to the defensive line, and you know Coach Hanson will teach him the ins and outs of the position. We should see Hawkins in the rotation come fall.
CAA Comparison: Jordan Stanton (JMU)
Offers: Charleston Southern, ECU, Citadel, William & Mary
Keshaun Moore – 6’3 250lbs
High School: Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
Analysis: With the addition of Coach Bryan Stinespring, any seasoned football fan would anticipate that there would be a rise in JMU’s presence in the Virginia Beach area, and it all starts with NSA’s Keshaun Moore. You can consider Moore a massive fish in a small pond. He dominated the private school ranks and meant everything for the NSA program, whether it was running the ball, playing tight end or shutting down opposing offenses as a linebacker. Keshaun Moore did it all, and JMU fell in love with his versatility. At 6’3 250 pounds, Moore can quickly grow into a disruptive defensive end or stay at inside linebacker as a run stopper; the opportunities are endless. Moore has my pick as the dark horse or sleeper pick of the class. Don’t let his lack of offers fool you; he may be a household name on JMU’s defense in a few years.
CAA Comparison: Tyler Snow (JMU Alumnus)
Julian Freeze – 6’2 188lbs
High School: Landstown
Analysis: Commitment number two from the 757 is defensive end/outside linebacker, Julian Freeze. A lanky, rangy athlete from Landstown High School, Freeze’s commitment marks a re-opened pipeline for James Madison to the VA Beach high school scene. A player who has tremendous potential, Freeze will be a playmaker for JMU’s defense after a few years at E-Hall under a college workout regime. He showcased a knack for getting to the quarterback and being a nuisance in opponent’s backfield. What stood out is his tenacity, length and pursuit to the ball which should place him perfectly in JMU’s KAT position on defense. Former JMU 757 alums like Sage Harold or Arthur Moats may come to mind, but candidly, his tape reminds me more of Brandon Lee, who was actually a former HS quarterback/defensive back. Lee came to JMU undersized for the position (just like Freeze), but transformed into a quality pass rusher. I believe Freeze possesses this same potential; his ceiling is certainly higher than Lee’s, and he will have the next five years to prove it.
Style: Pass Rusher
CAA Comparison: Brandon Lee (JMU Alumnus)
Offers: Albany, Elon, Youngstown State, East Carolina
Isaac Ukwu – 6’3 215lbs
High School: Wise
Analysis: Maryland’s Wise High School has been very kind to JMU lately, producing talents like DeAndre Smith, Trevor Brown and John Daka. This year, their stud defensive end, Isaac Ukwu, has decided to join the pack as well. Ukwu transferred to Wise for his senior year,filling the vacancy left by current Duke, John Daka, and was a difference-maker. An absolute menace in the passing game for opposing quarterbacks, his productivity mirrored Daka’s from the year before. While not as explosive and/or fast, Ukwu displayed a better all-around game and may be more suited for college football today. Nonetheless, it’s hard to talk about Ukwu without comparing him to his predecessor. On and off the field, Isaac Ukwu is an impressive addition to James Madison and may see playing time this year, spelling the likes of Ezeagwu, Ankrah, Carter and Daka. After having to play with limited depth on the defensive line this year, JMU now has a slew of athletes to mold and develop for years to come.
Style: Pass Rusher
CAA Comparison: Aaron Harper (JMU Alumnus)
Offers: Furham, Delaware, Florida A&M, Cornell, Yale, Dartmouth, Coastal Carolina, Columbia, Albany, Army, Bucknell, Air Force, Towson, William & Mary, Robert Morris, Navy, University of Pennsylvania
Gus Little – 6’3 230lbs
Previous School: University of Maryland
Analysis: In 2015, Gus Little was one of the most sought-after linebackers in the state of Virginia, garnering offers from a number of FCS and FBS programs, but ultimately committing to the University of Maryland. With the firing of Randy Edsall and a new scheme in place at Maryland, Mike Houston and Bob Trott were able to convince Little to transfer to James Madison. It was well documented that Coach Trott recruited Little heavily while at Richmond and it’s too no surprise we were able to use his existing relationship to our advantage. Gus is a big, aggressive linebacker who can cover ground quickly in the run game. It’s obvious with the graduation of Gage Steele and the uncertainty surrounding Brandon Hereford’s eligibility that finding an instant impact linebacker was key to the defense. Little is a read-and-react player, similar to Steele, in the sense that as long as the defensive tackles keep blockers off of him, he can use his speed to track down ball carriers. Little should fight for playing time alongside junior Dimitri Holloway come fall.
Style: Run Stopper
CAA Comparison: Austin Calitro (Villanova)
Offers: Richmond, VMI, Toledo, Old Dominion, NC State, Elon, Marshall, Charlotte, Boston College, Army, UVA, VMI
Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey – 5’10 250lbs
High School: Lake Taylor
Analysis: Coach Houston and Coach Stinespring struck gold in the 757 in Lake Taylor linebacker Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey, a dynamic football player who is tough as nails and embodies everything Houston wants in a defensive prospect. It is well known throughout the Hampton Roads area that Tucker-Dorsey is a tackling machine and his head coached even dubbed him, “the best tackler I’ve ever coached” – mind you, Lake Taylor is the same school that produced current Ohio State Buckeyes and former All-American recruits, defensive end Jalyn Holmes and defensive back Wayne Davis. Underrated in the recruiting process given his size and stature, Tucker-Dorsey was one of the most productive players against top competition in the Eastern District. Given that, it is difficult not to compare Diamonte to former JMU linebacker great, Stephon Robertson. Both were dominant players at running back and linebacker, but P5 schools shied away given their size. Like Robertson, Tucker-Dorsey displays fantastic instincts, speed and is a ferocious hitter. His head coach, Hank Sawyer, said it best, “All the college coaches were talking about how small he was…If he was 6’feet James Madison wouldn’t have been able to touch him. That’s OK, he’s going to make an impact up there (JMU) and the other schools are going to be upset they didn’t get him.” Considering the depth concerns at linebacker and how it will affect special teams, we could see Tucker-Dorsey on the gridiron in the fall.
Style: Run Stopper
CAA Comparison: Stephon Robertson (JMU Alumnus)
Offers: Norfolk State, Elon, Delaware State, Youngstown State, Towson, Maine, Robert Morris, Delaware, Buffalo
Joe Hunt – 6’3 220lbs
High School: Cosby
Analysis: James Madison lands another big, fast and versatile athlete in Cosby linebacker and running back Joe Hunt. Ranked the ninth best football prospect in the 804 by the Richmond Times-Dispatch – Hunt is a force on both sides of the ball (a theme we’ve seen in this class) and will add a tremendous amount of speed to Coach Trott’s defense. Already weighing 220 pounds, I see him either keeping his weight and improving his quickness or adding another 20 pounds and being a weapon for shutting down the run game. His versatility makes him an interesting prospect for JMU fans; there’s certainly a possibility he could end up playing a jack-of-all-trades role like safety Jordan Brown. He may also be used as a weak side linebacker behind Dimitri Holloway. Hunt should redshirt this fall and see playing time early on special teams. With the linebacker position growing long in the tooth quicker than we think, we will need guys like Hunt and Tucker-Dorsey to hit the ground running.
CAA Comparison: Jordan Brown (JMU)
Offers: Army, Navy, Maryland, East Carolina, Coastal Carolina, Kent State, Chattanooga
Defensive Back (3):
Taurus Carroll – 6’0 167lbs
High School: Benedictine Prep
Analysis: The addition of Taurus Carroll was not only a surprise to me personally, but it also was an eye-opener for the level of athlete Coach Houston could bring to JMU. I’ve had my eye on Taurus Carroll since he was at Hylton High School two years ago, and once offers from schools like Maryland and Toledo started rolling in, I was positive he was out of our league. For one reason or another, Carroll transferred to prep schools like Fork Union and, more recently, Benedictine, but he is now going to be a Duke. Carroll is a tremendous athlete who plays with the same swag and confidence that reminds me of none other than Jimmy F%#@ Moreland. What immediately grabs your attention is Carroll’s length, which is key for jamming receivers off the line (watch our defensive back play during the Sam Houston/JMU replay). You’ll also notice he’s an absolute rocket; he has great speed and will allow JMU to continue to play man-to-man on the outside. JMU is currently stacked at corner, but getting older quickly. Tutt, Moreland, Oliver and Robinson are all coming back as juniors, and we need to begin grooming the next group of savages for Bridgeforth Stadium.
Style: Coverage, Ball Hawk
CAA Comparison: Jimmy Moreland (JMU)
Offers: Maryland, Toledo, Towson, Colorado
Wesley McCormick – 5’11 180lbs
High School: Northwest
Analysis: McCormick committed to James Madison over the summer and has been solid on his decision ever since. Like other recruits, he brings speed and size to the position and is a true defensive back, having flourished at the position at Northwest for a number of years. He attacks the ball in the air and has good hips to mirror wide receivers. His current tape reminds me of Raven Greene, but I think he has the potential to be more like former JMU defender Leavander Jones on the outside at corner, given his ability to turn and run. He is listed as having 4.4 40 speed which is certainly an asset on defense – I’d expect McCormick to redshirt this fall to learn the scheme and mature.
CAA Comparison: Leavander Jones (JMU Alumnus)
Offer: St. Francis, Towson
MJ Hampton – 6’0 188lbs
High School: Stafford
Analysis: Hailing from the Fredericksburg area that has given us talented players like Brandon Ravenel and Reggie Collins, James Madison lands safety MJ Hampton. Hampton is like a heat-seeking missile and an absolute headhunter in the defensive backfield. He will bring a nasty, physical demeanor a la Vidal Nelson, who used to punish players like former VT quarterback Tyrod Taylor. One opposing player called Hampton the “strongest player he’s ever played against” and his highlight, full of knockout hits, backs this up. What impressed me most about MJ is his aggressiveness and speed to the ball – he may not always make the right read but he’ll never miss a play due to lack of effort. Hampton did a lot of his dirty work close to the line of scrimmage, so he’ll need time to learn how to play the safety position effectively in our scheme. I’m not sure whether he’ll redshirt or play right away on special teams, but I will not be surprised if Coach Trott uses Hampton early in some of his third-and-long blitz packages.
CAA Comparison: Vidal Nelson (JMU Alumnus)
Offers: Towson, New Hampshire, Richmond, Liberty, UT-Martin, Villanova, Monmouth, ETSU, Furman, Tennessee Tech
Athlete/Special Teams (3)
Noah Beckley – 6’0 190lbs
High School: Salem (Roanoke)
Analysis: A high school quarterback who will likely end up at wide receiver at JMU, Beckley was a surprise on national signing day. An under-the-radar prospect given his light recruitment as a quarterback, Coach Houston and the offensive staff saw something special in this kid to take a chance on him. More importantly, I hope this signing signifies a greater JMU presence in the Roanoke area where schools like Liberty, Richmond and Virginia Tech have dominated in the last few years. The addition of Stinespring should continue that momentum, and I’d love to see JMU add more players from this part of the commonwealth. Players like Beckley’s teammate, linebacker Riley Fox (committed to William & Mary/formerly Richmond), should be no-brainer pickups for JMU.
CAA Comparison: Kevin Gulyas (Villanova)
Offers: VMI, William & Mary
Kyle Davis – 6’0 210lbs
State: North Carolina
High School: Marvin Ridge
Analysis: Kyle Davis is another North Carolina native who will be joining the Dukes as a long snapper. With fan favorite Brett Siegel a senior next year, Coach Bowers will need to begin grooming his replacement, and Davis adds similar qualities to the position. A good athlete who’ll be able to get down the field in coverage, he also offers good velocity on his snaps to ward off incoming defenders. We probably will not hear about Davis for awhile, but let’s hope that remains the case since long snappers, like kickers, are typically off-the-grid unless there are negative plays. The signing of Davis symbolizes Houston’s want and ability to continue to recruit his hometown state. Expect to see that as a trend throughout his tenure.
CAA Comparison: Brett Siegel (JMU)
Harry O’Kelly – 6’1 180lbs
Previous School: Iona College
Analysis: Well, this is a first for me… JMU landed a punter from Australia. There isn’t much to find on him but you bet that he must be good since we offered him a scholarship position. Coach Houston said there would be other special teamers joining the program in the coming months, and with the graduation of all-world punter, Gunner Kane, this position battle will be one to keep an eye on throughout the offseason.
If you think about the areas of need for JMU (linebacker, defensive line, wide receiver, etc.) – our staff came away winners. This is the first class that Mike Houston was able to hand pick and each one of these players exemplifies his personal style of play. Whether it’s having a dual-threat quarterback option with Gage Moloney, building a physically dominant offensive line around Jake Glavin and Liam Fornadel, or continuing to shut down opposing wide receivers in man-to-man coverage with Taurus Carroll and Wesley McCormick – you can see Coach Houston’s personality reflected in each of these additions.
While we will not reap the benefits of this class’ true worth for another 2 to 3 years, we can all collectively get excited about how successful Mike Houston was in landing premier talent in his first year at JMU. The national championship was key in placing JMU back on the map but I imagine we will see even greater dividends in future recruiting classes for years to come.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s recruiting recap. JMU signed 25 recruits with even more joining the program as preferred walk-ons – so I know this had to be a lot to take in. Mike Houston landed a number of quality players and I wouldn’t hesitate to say this class was FBS-esque quality. Big shout outs to my friends Ryan Schnur, Poof and Taylor Bittner for their contributions to this year’s write up, “Fight for Glory” (you know who you are) for being fantastic all season long and being open to listening to my over-the-top football rants, the “JMU Twitter Mob” for all the epic trash talk in the playoffs, and last but not least, the rest of JMU nation for rooting their hearts out this fall!
Let’s pack Bridgeforth Stadium on September 9th and remember…you have to stand up on third down!!!
BREAKING: JMU coach Louis Rowe has suspended assistants Mike Deane and David Kontaxis for two games.
— Josh Walfish (@Josh_DNRSports) January 27, 2017
If you haven’t been paying attention to JMU (and odds are you haven’t), let us bring you up to speed. JMU lost a lot of games in the OOC/pre-season part of the season, going 2-11. Then the Dukes somehow got off to a perfect 3-0 start in CAA play, making some fans think the pre-season didn’t matter and this team was ready to compete. Since that time JMU has gone 1-6. And they lost Yohanny Dalembert for the season due to an undisclosed injury. Oh, and to top it off, assistant coaches Mike Deane and David Kontaxis were both suspended two games.
Neither Rowe nor the school have explained why Deane and Kontaxis were suspended. All that was said was that the suspensions weren’t related to NCAA or legal issues. The pair apparently ran afoul of some sort of team rule or standard. You might recall that Deane was Matt Brady’s top assistant prior to him moving on. It struck a lot of folks, including us, as odd that Rowe kept him on staff. Well, this just makes the entire situation weirder.
Meanwhile, the Dukes actually had another game over the weekend. They lost. To Delaware, the worst team in the CAA. The game wasn’t broadcast, which might have been a blessing in disguise. After a solid shooting performance in Thursday’s loss to UNCW, the Dukes shot only 34% overall and 25% from long range. There’s no real point to dig into this. Delaware was 1-8 in CAA play heading into the game. It’s clear JMU isn’t really in the mix for the CAA title. But Delaware? No team should lose to Delaware. We’re trying to be optimistic and focus on the long term, but fear the highpoint of this season might have been Thursday night when the Dukes went into halftime down only 3 to UNCW.
W&M 96 – UNCW 78
Goodness. Just when folks across the country started to take notice of UNCW and it’s undefeated CAA record, the Tribe stepped up and ruined everything. In all seriousness, this was a heck of a statement win for the Tribe. There’s a lot of talent down in Williamsburg and until this game, Shaver’s crew had failed to meet expectations. But they absolutely crushed the cream of the CAA crop on Saturday. Omar Prewitt and Daniel Dixon scored 28 and 27 points respectively. Devontae Cacok did what he does in the loss, scoring 21 and pulling down 16 boards.
CofC 90 – Drexel 76
The Cougars are 8-2 in CAA play and not going anywhere. They went on the road to Drexel and shot lights out from the stripe, knocking down 30 of 31 attempts. They also shot an impressive 51% from the floor. Freshman Grant Riller dropped 30 points in the win. Along with Joe Chealey and Jarrell Brantley, he forms a heck of a 3 headed scoring monster for CofC. They could make some noise come CAA tourney time. Drexel on the other hand, is struggling. The loss dropped them to 2-7.
Elon 84 – Hofstra 70
We still can’t believe Elon is in the CAA. Yes, we realize we say that constantly and swear we’ll stop whenever the addition makes sense to us. Which is to say, we’ll never stop. Anyway, the Phoenix won again thanks to Tyler Seibring and Brian Dawkins. The pair scored 23 and 22 points respectively. Our misgivings and lack of respect for Elon aside, Seibring is a nice ballplayer. No clue how he ended up at Elon. And Hofstra? Well, let’s just say this isn’t what the school had in mind when it decided to drop football and focus on hoops. The Pride is 10-13 overall and 2-8 in CAA play. There’s always next year.
Northeastern 69 (nice) – Towson State 62
This was a win Northeastern sorely needed after dropping four straight heading into the game. On the other end of the spectrum, the loss snapped Towson’s 5 game winning streak. Neither team is a realistic threat to win it all in Charleston, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see either squad knock out a contender. The Huskies put together a 15-5 second half run. It ended up being enough to overcome their 25% shooting from downtown.
Golf has been a sport which has risen in popularity and this trend is surely not going to stop for a long time from now on. Sport is a great way to stay in shape and completely remove stress from one’s life and irrespective of the fact that whether one plays golf on a professional level or is just a beginner looking to spend some quality time with friends over the weekend, it is a great way to stay in both physical and mental health.
No matter how competitive one can be, it is always a good idea to improve at a certain sport. A good shape and technique will go a long way in improving one’s scores but what is perhaps the most essential item in terms of making or breaking a game of golf is the equipment used when playing the game.
Enthusiasts from around the world are conscious of the fact that a great golf kit is essential in winning the game. Irons are the best investment to have in mind when acquiring a golf set and one has to bear in mind that they are the most expensive parts of the kits. Golf game improvement iron reviews have recently begun to surface the internet in order to give both novice and experimented players a good idea over the best ones to choose from.
The type of gear one chooses to use ranges a lot when it comes to one’s game knowledge and skills but even professionals have stated that an expensive set of irons will not only last a lifetime if taken care of but also will improve anyone’s game regardless of their skill levels. A good way to start playing the game is with three woods and eight irons and one detail which should be taken into account is that they are to be chosen in accordance to one’s strength and posture.
A correct iron is an essential part of playing the game and it should be noted that the iron will be the most used piece of kit during a game of golf. The best ones will also yield the best results as irons are the key to success in one game of golf. There is no written rule on what is the best iron but make sure when deciding to make the purchase, one takes into account that investing into an expensive set of irons will not only come with great game results but they are also durable and are guaranteed to last a long time for one to enjoy countless games and a lot of wins.
JMU fell to UNCW by the score of 87-76 in the Convo tonight. Losses are never super fun, but it was actually a pretty entertaining game. We’re still in January, but UNCW is looking like one of the best teams in recent CAA history. And in their first game since learning Yohanny Dalembert was done for the season, the Dukes played tough and at least made the Seahawks earn it. We’re not big “moral victory” guys, but JMU looked far better than the 6-15 team it was entering the game.
The fact is JMU played well enough to beat most CAA teams tonight. UNCW is just really good. The Seahawks have shooters galore and they move the ball very well. And they seem to have a real knack for hitting a few shots in a row, every time their opponent threatens to go on a run. They certainly did that tonight. It went from close game to double digits so quickly, it was almost hard to notice. Jackson Kent lead all scorers with 23 points. He was one of 5 Dukes, and 11 players overall, who reached double-figures. Here are three random numbers on the game.
That’s the number of turnovers for JMU. UNCW had 11. There weren’t many people who expected JMU to win the turnover battle tonight. The Dukes had the CAA’s worst turnover margin coming into the game. They’d averaged over 15 turnovers a game. UNCW on the other hand, had the CAA’s best turnover margin, forcing 16 a contest. Pretty much everyone expected UNCW’s pressing defense to rattle JMU and lead to easy points for the Seahawks. It didn’t. JMU had one of its strongest games of the season, ball control wise.
That’s how many more points in the paint JMU had than UNCW. Yes. Playing without YoYo, JMU scored 38 points in the paint versus only 28 for UNCW. It really was a game that defied expectations in a lot of ways. Everyone expected JMU to struggle against UNCW’s press, turn the ball over, and suffer down low with YoYo out. Instead JMU won the turnover battle and poured in points down low. It kind of makes you wonder how they lost by double digits. Which brings us to the next number.
That’s how many more three pointers UNCW attempted than JMU. Glancing at the box score and the standard shooting percentages, it looks like a pretty even contest. JMU managed to hit 41% from three, while UNCW was even better at 46%. Overall, both squads had great shooting performances. UNCW shot 55% from the field, while JMU hit 51%.
The difference was that UNCW launched 35 from behind the arc, compared to JMU’s 17. Dig a little deeper into the shooting numbers to compute the effective field goal percentage (FG + .5 * 3P)/FGA), and we see some serious separation. UNCW had a ridiculous 69% (nice) EFG tonight compared to JMU’s 57%. That’s a good night for JMU, but an outstandingly efficient night for UNCW. The teams appeared to be trading baskets all night. They were, sort of. It was really more a case of the Dukes hitting twos, and then UNCW matching with threes. That’s how it looked like a back and forth game, but suddenly became a double digit loss for the Dukes.