While Hoops Transfer Portal Chaos Ensues, NKU Makes “Minor” Roster Move

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The boys of summer are here as crisp spring breezes, sporadic rain and the smell of fresh cut grass fill the air. Sure, baseball season is now upon us, a sport teeming with rich history and witty quotes from characters that will forever live in the landscape of sports.  Matter of fact, Opening Day festivities still linger closely behind in our proverbial rearview mirrors.

HOOPS NEWS IN APRIL…WAIT, WHAT?

But, pump the brakes for a moment. These are new times in which we live, where many sports fans are listening to their local baseball team on the radio while following college basketball via social media.  College basketball…in April…that’s a thing?  It is and it isn’t.  The impact Covid-19 has had on the enigmatic Transfer Portal makes it is hard to ignore the day-to-day goings-on of college basketball’s “offseason.”  Pittsburgh Pirate great Willie Stargell was once quoted as saying, “Trying to hit Sandy Koufax was like drinking coffee with a fork.”  Some would say trying to keep up with the hour-to-hour activity of the college basketball transfer portal is almost as daunting as facing the old Dodger lefty. 

So what does this all have to do with basketball in Norse Nation, you ask?  While the continual scrum that is the transfer portal fills our Twitter feeds, April 13 also marked the first day of college basketball’s official Spring signing period.  No rest for the weary, it seems. We’ve been positively aching for recruiting news from the University.  Outside of the announcement that the Norse have lost three rostered players (Adrian Nelson, Seybian Sims and David Bohm) in the portal, the coaching staff has been playing their cards extraordinarily close to their chest. 

“MINOR” MOVE BRINGS MUCH NEEDED PG DEPTH

But alas, all is not lost as the men’s basketball program has reportedly received a commitment recently from a player whose last name will be recognizable to many.  Senior point guard Mitchel Minor (5’11”, 170 lbs.) from Scott High School (Taylor Mill, Kentucky) will be continuing his basketball career with the Norse at Northern Kentucky University.  Minor, the son of former Norse Hall of Famer Shannon Minor (David Lee Holt NKU Hall of Fame – 2011, scored 1,230 career points/529 assists), will be joining the program as a walk-on athlete. The National Honor Society honoree was already offered an academic scholarship to attend school in Highland Heights, so this move allows the team to retain an available hoops scholarship.

What the Norse program will get in Minor is a solid ball-handler who will add depth at the point guard spot where decisive distribution of the ball is crucial.  In his three years as starting point guard for the Scott High School Eagles, Minor averaged 8 points per game, along with 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals while garnering 10th Region Honorable Mention his senior season.  Minor admits that while his primary role in high school was not as lead scorer, he is most proud of his ability as a leader in guiding the offense and distributing the ball to the tune of a 4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

The younger Minor was coached by the elder Minor at Shining Star AAU, a Cincinnati-based select basketball program led by former UC Bearcat player Alex Meacham, who serves as Director of the organization. Shining Star AAU has been operation for 21 years now and prides itself on teaching life skills through training and developing members to be competitive basketball players and loyal team members.  According to Meacham, Shining Star’s success is measured by how many of its players matriculate to colleges and universities and how many members are afforded that opportunity through scholarships based on their basketball skills.  When asked what kind of player Minor is, he stated that for his three years representing Shining Star on the court, Minor was always the glue that kept his team together, often serving as the leader of the team and an extension of the coaches.

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“He (Mitchel) is a tireless worker and refuses to be outworked, and that has led him where he is today…he outworks everyone,” Meacham said.  “(Mitchel) understands his role as a walk-on, and that he will be there to make everyone better and prepare them to play in games.” Minor agreed strongly with Meacham’s assessments by echoing much of what the Shining Star AAU Director said, taking the assessment a step further by stating “What I believe I can offer from Day 1 at NKU is my high energy and work ethic.  I believe I can come in and make an impact by pushing others and making others around me work harder.”

The feeling you get about Minor when speaking with those who raised him, coached him and watched over his AAU career is that he is going to be a very smart, tough, unselfish player who will score when his opportunity comes, but may be even happier to break the defense down and feed the ball to the most likely scoring threats.  At the end of a tied game, 5 seconds on the clock and the ball in his hands, Meacham said Minor would “most likely penetrate the lane and dish the ball out to his teammates for the open shot.”    

THAT ALL SAID…

With the return of starting point guard Bryson Langdon as a massive question mark for next season, at this juncture the Norse would return walk-on sophomore Jake Evans (2021-22: 7.3 minutes per game) as the only true point guard on the roster.  Returning Horizon League Freshman of the Year Sam Vinson was been listed as point guard in the past, but he most often played wing as an attacking playmaker.  There is a reasonable chance that the Portal could yield either a Division I/II transfer or Junior College player at the point guard position.  Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, as Norse Nation fans will be patiently waiting to hear details on the newest players filling out the upcoming season’s roster.  

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