Rhode Island Basketball has plenty of questions this offseason surrounding its roster. The good news is that a pair of transfer big men are eligible to play for 2020-21.
It’s been a newsworthy offseason for David Cox and Rhode Island Basketball, having undergone a complete roster renovation. Although star point guard Fatts Russell has decided to return for his senior season, key graduations and several outgoing transfers decimated the rotation.
However, the Rams have been up for the challenge, landing a number of transfers in the past few months. That included former Maryland forwards Makhi and Makhel Mitchell, along with wing Allen Betrand, and guards Jalen Carey and Malik Martin. As great a collective haul as this was, this also is a concern since none of them are graduate transfers and would have to be given waivers from the NCAA to be able to play next season.
The real concern lies in the frontcourt, with junior forward Jermaine Harris as the lone eligible big man on the roster. Although it’s a “mid-major” league, the Atlantic 10 has a bunch of quality big men that Rhode Island has to contend with, including Michael Hughes (Duquesne), Tre Mitchell (UMass), and Osun Osunniyi (St. Bonaventure). But now, the Rams have some bigs of their own to contend with.
Of all of the potential transfers on the roster, getting the Mitchell twins available may be the most important. Of the two, former top-100 recruit Makhi is likely to start at the center position, while his brother Makhel, backs him up. It remains to be seen if they both can play on the court for long periods of time but the roster needs them to soak up plenty of minutes.
At 6’10 and around 240 pounds, the Mitchells bring size and power conference talent potential to a Rhode Island team that needs to take advantage of Russell’s return. The program would love for them to produce at similar levels to Cyril Langevine, who averaged a double-double for Rhode Island before graduating.
With both Mitchell brothers now available to play, the Rams is undoubtedly a top-half team in the A-10 for next season. Quality production from the bigs could bolster them towards a top-4 spot since Russell is a shortlist Conference Player of the Year candidate but they’ll need more throughout the roster to beat out some of the other contenders.
If a couple more waivers can be given to the Rams before the season starts, they’ll be in a great place to truly compete in the Atlantic 10. Despite losing a number of players via the transfer portal, Coach Cox managed to make it work for him, with the Mitchells as the bright example. Let’s see what they can do now as the focal frontcourt pieces on a college team.