Colonials look to move past an underwhelming Horizon League debut
Robert Morris’s entry into the Horizon League was met with promise that the Colonials would compete in the best of the conference, given their status as the top team in the Northeast Conference the previous year and armed with talented players like AJ Bramah and Dante Treacy. But a string of fits and starts cause by COVID protocols, the late start for transfer Khaliel Spear, and the early departure of Bramah spelled doom for Robert Morris. Now, with Treacy joining Bramah at the exits, the Colonials look to their new transfers to pick up the load and return to there they were in the NEC.
Fortunately for RMU, those transfers may very well be up to the task. Rasheem Dunn, Michael Green and Ferron Flowers have all averaged double-digits over the course of a season and seemingly have a chance to make the Colonial backcourt signifcantly stronger than it was last season. Finding a way to replace consistent 20 point, 10 rebound production from Bramah in the frontcourt will be much more difficult; but multiple promising post players mean the unit could end up about as strong over the course of 40 minutes.
Rasheem Dunn – Dunn’s journey as a collegiate athlete has not been boring. After two years with St. Francis (NY), he was originally set to play at another Horizon League school, Cleveland State. However, he opted out after the firing of Dennis Felton and landed back in New York with St. John’s. Last season, he averaged 9.4 points and 4.0 assists per game.
Ferron Flavors – As long and winding a road as Dunn’s trip through college hoops has been, Flavors’ has taken a few more turns. Starting in junior college, the 6-3 guard from Federal Way, Washington found himself in a starting role with Fairfield before hitting the West Coast to spend two seasons starting at Cal Baptist. His last stop, Oklahoma State, was less notable, only starting seven games. Now at RMU, he will look to get back to where he was before his stint in Stillwater.
Michael Green – Colonial fans may recognize Green from the NEC days, where he was lighting it up with Bryant. The former NEC Rookie of the Year and second-team all-conference player is now bringing his talents to the UPMC Events Center. And having averaged 16 points and 3.7 assists per game last season, he’s well-positioned to make an impact.
Justin Winston – Winston began his career at St. Bonaventure, but in early 2021, decided that the Bonnies were not a good fit for him. That’s when he arrived at Robert Morris and enrolled for the spring semester. Now that he’s with the Colonials, he will likely be looking for an opportunity to get some notice in the frontcourt.
Matt Mayers – Mayers took the juco route and became one of the best players in those ranks, becoming a first-team NJCAA All-American while at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. Having tallied 17.8 points and 9.4 boards per game, his new mission will be to complement Khaliel Spear and fill the hole that Bramah left when he transferred.
Michael Green – With the accolades that were bestowed upon him by the NEC while he was at Bryant, coupled with Treacy’s departure, Green’s appearance in the starting lineup is the logical move. The most likely scenario is that he’ll pick up where he left off.
Rasheem Dunn – As good as Green’s upside is in the backcourt, Dunn’s bonafides look just and impressive. And as a super senior with mid-major and high-major experience, he should certainly play a starring role as a starter. Dunn averaged double-figure scoring and over three assists per game over two seasons in the Big East. Don’t be surprised if he’s an All-Horizon League performer in his first year at Robert Morris.
Kam Farris – Farris has the distinction of being one of only two starters left from last season, having cracked the lineup as a freshmen and staying there for 16 games during RMU’s campaign. With his freshman year under his belt and a core of transfers at his side, he may have to compete for minutes, but his starting job is secure.
Khaliel Spear – The Bucknell transfer had to wait until December to get his chance to play for the Colonials. When that happened, he made his presence known on the glass, getting better as he became more familiar with the RMU system. He also took advantage of being in the unenviable position of being looked to for productivity after Bramah transferred, and he cashed in, even notching a double-double against Oakland. As a senior, he is now in a position to become one of the better forwards in the conference.
Justin Wilson – While there are plenty of transfers to choose from in the frontcourt, the smart money is on Wilson to take the starting spot. There, he and Spear should equate to what Colonial fans had hoped Spear and Bramah would produce last season.
Robert Morris coach Andy Toole has been in this position before, where he’s had to replace what he’s lost in transfers and make do. With the rest of the Horizon League, specifically the top half of the conference, beefing up, the Colonials face a pretty steep climb. Ultimately, their success will depend upon how quickly the new transfers can get up to speed. That likely means the beginning of the season could be pretty rough, but underestimating them as the year wears on could be very costly to a league contender.
Prediction: 10th Place
Miss anything from Preview Week? Check it all out below:
Cleveland State • Wright State • Milwaukee • Detroit Mercy
Northern Kentucky • Oakland • Purdue Fort Wayne • Youngstown State
UIC • Robert Morris • Green Bay • IUPUI
Green Bay (WBB) • Cleveland State (WBB)