#HLMBB Starting Five – Copy Cat Edition

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Photo courtesy of Cleveland State Athletics

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, the old saying goes.

This is the end result of watching Kyle Rossi publish the women’s hoops version of the Starting Five, starting last off-season and going into this one. You would think that with Kyle’s Starting Five, updates on the Transfer Tracker and the ongoing publication of feature articles (which, of course, you can get early access to by becoming a Patron) would be enough for me that I’d sit back and watch people enjoy what we have.

Naturally, you’d be wrong.

I’ll admit it, I’ve gotten bored pretty easily in the off-season, so when I read what Kyle posts in his Starting Five, I think to myself, “Hey! That might be fun!” Also, we tend to pick up a lot across social media, and like Kyle, I thought it would be something to expound upon some of that.

So enough of me jabbering on. Here we go.

The Eligibility Thing is Confusing

The NCAA has apparently been taking a look at the eligibility rules constantly, specifically for players who thought they had run out, yet somehow may have it back. This was likely what DJ Burns initially thought when he entered the portal after a year with Youngstown State, then later opted to go pro. But one person that isn’t confused about it is Drew Lowder. Like all of us, he thought he was done after playing for two years at Cleveland State.

Now, it appears, that’s not the case.

It’s not clear how the process will work out here when Lowder finds a landing spot, but it is possible that he does find his way home to Michigan, even perhaps to a Horizon League school. After all, Oakland still has a scholarship spot available (not to mention provides an opportunity for Lowder to reunite with his CSU teammate Jayson Woodrich), and Detroit Mercy, which has loaded up on high school talent during recruiting, has two. In the case of UDM, Mark Montgomery probably wouldn’t mind getting an experience shooter to complement Mak Manciel, not to mention that Lowder was one of Cleveland State’s primary ball handlers (along with Tevin Smith and Chase Robinson), something the Titans could certainly use as well.

Green Bay’s Gott A Coaching Staff

Green Bay may still have four scholarship spots available, but that’s not to say that head coach Doug Gottlieb (and yes, I’m still getting used to writing that) hasn’t been busy behind the scenes. His coaching staff, which included (sort of) holdover Jordan McCabe (who was hired by Sundance Wicks not long before Sunny headed home to Wyoming), has expanded.

Aerick Sanders was the first new assistant on board to join McCabe, coming over from UM-Kansas City. Damon Archibald, who was at Tarleton State, was next to come in, being officially announced on June 6th. Thursday, Gottlieb added his DOBO, Dennis Harrington, who spent last season as a special assistant to Johnny Tauer at St. Thomas.

Gottlieb stated several times that his DOBO is going to have a lot on their plate, specifically keeping the coach’s schedule in place, which, Gottlieb readily admits, he’s not the best at. In any event, whether this is the last hire to the Green Bay staff is unknown, but it’s clear that the core is now officially in place.

6 Foot, 7 Foot (And We’re Not Talking About Recruits!)

Oddly enough, it wasn’t Gottlieb filling out his coaching staff that turned heads this week. It was a video endorsement from none other than hip-hop icon Lil’ Wayne.

As was pointed out to us by our Phoenix writer Eric Fischer, the Weezy co-sign isn’t completely out of left field. Lil’ Wayne is a long-time unabashed Packers fan, plus he’s contributed music to Gottlieb’s other employer, Fox Sports. We’re not sure if we’ll see any of that YMCMB money heading towards the Green Bay NIL offers, but with this out there, if we don’t see Tunechi at the Resch Center for a game this season, we’re going to be a little disappointed.

The Curious Case of the Robert Morris Coaching Staff

Andy Toole, by all accounts, is in a make-or-break year at Robert Morris. The first move was to make some changes with his coaching staff, and at the start off the Colonials’ off-season, David Fedor and Vince Johnson departed, with Fedor eventually taking the head coaching job at Division II Georgian Court University in New Jersey.

Then, in May, Mike Iuzzolino, Toole’s associate head coach, also headed for the exits, leaving Robert Morris to take the head coaching job at Sewickley Academy. That left Toole with only his DOBO, Matthew Sweet, left on his staff. We were starting to think that we were going to have to start using that old Will Smith meme from the final episode of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for a moment.

But fear not, Colonial fans. Toole now has an assistant again.

Kim Lewis, the long-time assistant whose recent stops included Mercer (2019-2024), Richmond (2011-2019) and his alma mater Tulane, has been hired to give Toole some much-needed help with shaping the Robert Morris roster and plan of attack for next season. With the Colonials having a pair of spots open, both on the coaching staff and on next year’s roster, this won’t be the last news out of Moon Township this off-season.

Get Used to the New Name

IUPUI doesn’t officially change its name to IU Indianapolis until July 1st. But that’s not really stopping anyone from the university, including Athletics, to get every acclimated the the new moniker. Already, all of the sports teams have switched over IU-Indy on their respective social media accounts, including men’s basketball, which surprised everyone by being the first Horizon League team to release its non-conference schedule (for a breakdown of this schedule, check out Johnathan Barnes’ article).

While the official Athletics and university sites have no yet switched over (both Web addresses still say IUPUI), there’s no doubt the IU Indianapolis/IU-Indy name is everywhere online now. We’ve trying to stay ahead of the game in easing into the name change, so you’ll forgive us if we slip and still call it IUPUI every once in a while.

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