The Morehead State basketball team has been stuck in neutral for the past few seasons, in search of a spark to return to the promise that surrounded the program back in 2011 -- the year they shocked the No. 4 seed Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA tournament. The program even churned out a first-round NBA Draft pick in two-time Ohio Valley Conference player of the year Kenneth Faried, who has since gone on to have an excellent NBA career in Denver. Since 2011, Morehead State has hovered around the .500 mark in search of a return to the big dance, instead of just dancing in the dark.
Shortly after the start of the new year, head coach Sean Woods and the Eagles seemed to be the only people in America who actually made true on their new year’s resolution of "new year, new me."
Following a rocky patch in December that saw the Eagles lose six of seven, Woods and the Eagles looked themselves in the mirror and created a "new me" by finishing off the season on an impressive 17-7 run and ending the season with a formidable 23-14 record to create optimism for the program moving into next season.
However, Woods had the rug pulled out from under him again when the Eagles' leading scorer, Corban Collins, announced he was leaving Morehead State to play for Avery Johnson at Alabama as a graduate transfer. The Eagles also lost four other seniors to graduation, but Woods' system tends to spread the offense among his players, without one true star anyway.
Woods was busy on the recruiting path this off-season as well and brought in four new players who will be expected to provide an immediate impact to the Morehead State roster. Some key players include:
6-7 forward Demetrius Levarity, who had a season-high 38 points while playing for Southeastern Illinois College and will be counted on to provide an immediate outside shooting presence for the Eagles.
6-6 forward Soufiyane Diakite from Cowley County Community College can shoot the three and rebound and will provide an option off the bench for Morehead.
The major question heading into next season will be if Woods has secured the right talent to replace Collins and to help bridge the ever-widening gap between conference powerhouse Belmont and the rest of the OVC. Bruce Springsteen explained to us a long time ago that you can’t start a fire without a spark. Just who that spark will be for the Morehead State Eagles remains to be seen.