Busting Brackets

Rhode Island Basketball: 2022-23 season review, looking ahead to offseason

URI coach Archie Miller motivating his team to hold their lead against the Dayton Flyers in the second half.
URI coach Archie Miller motivating his team to hold their lead against the Dayton Flyers in the second half. /

The Rhode Island Basketball season came to a close on Tuesday evening in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, ending a 9-22 campaign in Archie Miller’s first year.

When Archie Miller was named the head coach of Rhode Island Basketball back on March 18th, the future was bright in Kingston. And nearly a year later… it’s still bright. But the uphill climb is maybe a bit steeper than some thought last spring. Rhody finished off Miller’s first season at 9-22 (5-14) — including the A-10 Tournament — in what’s proving to be a full rebuild for the seasoned head coach. And the rocky season makes this coming offseason a big one for the URI staff.

The primary storyline for the Rams this season was offense… or lack thereof. Out of 363 Division I teams, Rhody finished 358th in the nation in effective field goal percentage, 352nd in two-point percentage, and 341st in three-point percentage. The mid-year dismissal of Brayon Freeman didn’t help things, but it’s not like Rhody was shooting the lights out even when he was at his best. The Rams also lost arguably their best big man in Josaphat Bilau to a torn ACL in mid-December. Overall, it was an amalgamation of bad luck, a struggle to integrate a ton of new faces, and the lack of a full recruiting cycle for Miller.

There were some bright spots, however. URI was able to log a couple of nice wins over UMass-Lowell, Fordham, and Dayton. They were also on the wrong end of a buzzer-beater against VCU. Only seven of their 22 losses came by double-digits, so despite the record, they weren’t exactly getting run off the floor. Third-year sophomore (yeah, the COVID year is still weird) Ishmael Leggett had an absolute breakout season, posting career highs across the board. He’s going to be a key building block for next year and beyond.

As for the rest of the roster, Miller has a lot to fill in. In addition to the shooting woes, Rhode Island could certainly use a little more depth, especially in the front court. Alex Tchikou and Rory Stewart filled in admirable at the five-spot, but both were playing outside of their normal positions. The Rams also finished the season with just one true point guard in Sebastian Thomas.

The good news is that Rhody can hopefully retain some roster continuity. Only Malik Martin will be gone next year, although Jalen Carey has not committed to returning for his sixth collegiate season. It’s also fair to assume that a player or two will hit the transfer portal — virtually every NCAA team can say that.

Atlantic 10 Tournament preview. dark. Next

So Miller will have some open spots to add to an incoming class that includes freshmen Connor Dubsky and Cam Estevez. He knows what upgrades need to be made via transfer. If Rhode Island can add the right pieces, they should be much improved in 2022-23.