Barclay Radebaugh does not rebuild, he reloads. That seems to be the case in North Charleston this spring as the head man for the Charleston Southern Buccaneers has reeled in an impressive haul that will vault CSU into contention once again in the Big South this year.
In mid-March things weren't looking to great for the Bucs. After winning the Big South regular season title with a 13-5 mark, the Bucs fell to a shorthanded Longwood team 68-60 in the Big South quarterfinals and later also lost to Old Dominion 65-56 in the first round of the NIT. The Bucs were losing 80% of their scoring in, arguably, the best class in school history behind Saah Nimley, Arlon Harper, Will Saunders, Cedrick Bowen, and Paul Gombwer. Things looked even worse when it seemed like Radebaugh himself may not be back as his names swirled with coaching vacancy rumors including Big South rival Liberty and Radebaugh's alma mater East Tennessee State.
Charleston Southern looked destined to be a team that would rebuild behind the expected success of High Point, Coastal Carolina, Winthrop, and Longwood in the 2015-16 season. Radebaugh has changed that though with a tremendous entering class.
Leading the way for the Bucs' additions are Division I transfers Demetrius Pollard and Patrick Wallace, both of whom will be immediately eligible. Pollard makes his way to North Charleston after spending the last four seasons at Northeastern. Pollard sat out last season for the Huskies but averaged 8.9 points per game two years ago while making more than half of his converted field goals from beyond the arc.
"Demetrius is a very talented and skilled scoring guard. We love his ability to put the ball in the basket. He is obviously a very experienced player. His experiences in the CAA will benefit our team greatly with the loss of some of the best guards to every play at CSU. Demetrius knows how to win and we are very excited about the opportunity to coach him next year." Radebaugh said in a release from the school.
Patrick Wallace isn't as experienced as Pollard after only appearing in 11 games for North Carolina State the past two seasons, but he certainly brings a high level of talent and is expected to fill the very big shoes of Saah Nimley.
Away from the Division I transfers there is still plenty to talk about for CSU. 6'7 forward Melvin Brooks may be the biggest steal for any team in the Big South this season. Brooks originally committed to play in the Mountain West for Air Force but dropped his commitment and eventually found his way to North Charleston. Brooks was also heavily pursued by Longwood before committing to Air Force. Brooks average 10 and 10 this past year in high school and don't be surprised if you see numbers like that in the Big South either.
Also joining the fray in the frontcourt is JUCO transfer Ugo Mmonu who averaged 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds for Chattanooga State this past season. Mmonu is a stretch four that will be able to step out and make big shots from the perimeter. He is sure to be a match up problem for many teams in the Big South. Mmonu also has D1 experience playing his freshman year at Tennessee State.
Add all these pieces in with returning starter Aaron Wheeler, who averaged 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds this past season, and you have a reason to be excited in the Buc Dome for what was originally expected to be a down year. Radebaugh certainly hit a home run with the dynamic frontcourt of Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper and he is seemingly parlaying the success of the past four years into a promising future.