Tom Pecora is still building the talent base at Fordham. Sure he’s got a couple quality players like Chris Gaston, Devon McMillan and Branden Frazier, but he needs more. That’s why this season’s class has a little bit of everything.
There is size in 6’9″ forward Ryan Rhoomes and 6’8″ forward Travion Leonard. Then there’s a playmaker in 6’1″ point guard Jermaine Myers and a scorer in 6’3″ Mandell Thomas.
All four players are going to be counted on to make an impact at Fordham, possibly even in their first season. One of the key things to note is that all four players did a post-graduate season in 2011-12. These aren’t your typical high school seniors. All four players are also winners. All of their prep and high school teams were competitive over the past few seasons. If winning breeds winning then this seems like a good place to start.
Both of the big men should have a chance to make an immediate impact on the court. The graduation of Kervin Bristol leaves the Rams tenuously short up front. Right now Gaston is the only known options for Pecora. (Updated: Marvin Dominique is transferring to St. Peter’s.) While Ryan Canty played some during his freshman season, the 6’9″ forward doesn’t have too much experience on the court playing after playing 199 minutes in 26 games. At least one of Rhoomes and Leonard will get minutes if they can prove they’ll hold up on the defensive end. Rhoomes, who initially committed to TCU and is from nearby Cardozo in Queens, might have an early leg up.
Even though Fordham does have a bunch of guards, that doesn’t mean that Myers or Thomas won’t also crack the rotation at some point this season. Myers is a pass-first point guard that was considered one of the top players in Canada before spending a prep season at Blair Academy in New Jersey, where he averaged nine assists per game. At Blair Myers spent most of his time setting up teammates for easy baskets, if he can make life better for Frazier and allow McMillan to play off the ball more it would be a win for the Rams. Of course, there’s always the inherent danger of letting a freshman be your primary ball-handler, but Myers — whose basketball IQ is a real strength — should be up to the task.
Overall, it appears that Fordham definitely tried to fill some big voids for the upcoming season and beyond with this signing class. We’ll see what immediate impact the freshman are able to make in just a few months.