Richie Riley went into the transfer portal & returned with another intriguing talent headed to Mobile. South Alabama, in recent seasons, changed the complexion of their roster from acquiring transfer. A notable one is headed to South Alabama, — it’s VMI guard Greg ‘Alden’ Parham. The 6’4 true PG put on a show for the Keydets this past season, scoring 18.4 PPG, 4.0 APG, and displayed a shooting percentage slash line of 48-43-79. An efficient bucket-getter from all three levels while setting up teammates at a consistent level.
Parham’s one of four transfers entering the fold. The others are Tyrell Jones (Auburn), Charles Manning (LSU), Diante Smith (TCU), Marshall Kearing (State College of Florida) & Lance Thomas from Memphis. Coach Riley did a tremendous job filling holes, adding Parham to replace Michael Flowers, but a sneaky one is adding Marshall Kearing to protect the rim. A major bugaboo for the Jaguars was post-defense. Adding a guy like Kearing bolsters the defense, as he’s proven to be an immense shot-blocker during his Junior College Career.
We’ve seen it time & time again. A sure-fire way to build a talented roster at the mid-major level these days is by visiting the transfer portal frequently.
SOUTH ALABAMA LINEUP PREDICTION:
PG: Alden Parham
SG: John Pettway (Free year, if not Tyrell Jones slides in)
SF: Charles Manning
PF: Kayo Goncalves (Free Year, if not slide Lance Thomas in)
C: Marshall Kearing
Bench: Lance Thomas (Memphis), Diante Smith (TCU), Tyrell Jones (Auburn), Jamal West, Andrew Anderson
Before adding Parham, I envisioned Richie Riley’s team enter the season as favorites to win the conference, but now, they’ll likely be overwhelming favorites.
This is an experienced team with four-guys that played at a high-major level in other programs, now transitioning to the Mid-Major ranks. With the Sun Belt already seeing many teams lost vital pieces, seeing how other teams fare by the bloated transfer portal, nearing 1,000 names in total entered.
LSU transfer Charles Manning–could be the ultimate prize if it works out. Manning started at Florida Southwestern but chose LSU succeeding his JUCO career. Manning’s first season in Baton Rouge showed why so many tried getting the talented scorer in the first go-around, dropping 7.9 PPG–from the bench, but didn’t have a role during 2020-21 with the emergence of Cam Thomas taking a lion-share of the shots. When going right, Manning could be an All-Sun-Belt player. He’s a true high-major talent that’s produced in the SEC.
The fifth-year senior Lance Thomas never found a landing spot. Coming into College listed as a top-100 recruit but lasted 12 games at Louisville before opting to move on to Memphis. In two-and-a-half seasons at Memphis (sitting one because of NCAA transfer rules) showed flashes but sat behind Precious Achiuwa in year one, getting 14 MPG. Thomas showed flashes as a stretch-forward and looked poised for a significant role in 2020-21, then Moussa Cisse entered the fold, and Thomas transferred in January. Richie Riley will provide Thomas chances to play an ample role.
If South Alabama can get over-the-hump, defensive improvement will be imperative. The defense was the ultimate downfall for the Jags, but there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic with new additions. This season, finishing at 294th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency, didn’t get it done, improvement is on the horizon, and Marshall Kearing’s a significant piece of the tide changing.
Want a mid-major to eye-in on early next season? South Alabama.