Dan Hurley was building something special at Wagner. Last October he even landed Dwaun Anderson, the former Mr. Basketball in Michigan, who began his career at Michigan State before returning home due to family matters. Anderson was ranked in the top-100 by Rivals, which is the type of talent you don't often see in the Northeast Conference.
But, as so often happens, Hurley's tenure was short (two years) and now he's stepped up to coach the University of Rhode Island. The Seahawks maintained some sort of consistency by promoting assistant coach Bashir Mason into Hurley's spot, and Mason is now the youngest head coach in the nation.
And today some great news came - to help with the on-court elevation of the program, the NCAA has ruled that Anderson is eligible to play at the beginning of this season.
Wagner was 15-3 in conference last year, finishing a game behind eventual NEC Tournament champion Long Island. And of the nine players who played at least 30% of the team's minutes, seven return, including the top two scorers. That would have been enough to have the Seahawks fans cautiously optimistic for another solid year - even with a 1st year head coach - but now they'll start thinking about conference titles, and possibly even with good reason.
There aren't any stats to analyze Anderson's game with, but he's an athletic wing who has grown to 6-4. And he'll turn 20 in November, so he's older than your typical freshman. He immediately brings high-major talent to a solid and deep club. Just having him cleared will be a confidence boost for the team.
Don't expect him to star right away. But he doesn't need to. He needs to play defense. He needs to rebound. And he needs to exploit his athletic advantage around the rim. If he does that, LIU's two-year run atop the conference might be coming to an end.