Robert Morris University men’s basketball head coach Andrew Toole announced the program’s 2014-15 recruiting class Tuesday, which includes four freshmen, two junior college transfers and one transfer.
Joining RMU for the 2014-15 campaign are freshman forwards Andre Frederick (Detroit, Mich. / Daniel Hand) and Elijah Minnie (Monessen, Pa. / Lincoln Park), freshman guards Jafar Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y. / Jamesville-Dewitt) and Marcquise Reed (Laurel, Md. / Capitol Christian), junior forward Lionel Gomis (Dakar, Senegal / Cloud County Community College), junior guard Rodney Pryor (Evanston, Ill. / Cloud County Community College) and sophomore guard Jairus Lyles (Washington, D.C. / DeMatha Catholic).
“We’re extremely excited about the group of student-athletes we’ve brought into the program,” Toole said. “We’ve identified and addressed our needs for not only next season but beyond with our latest class, and I think we’ve attracted high quality athletes and individuals to Robert Morris.”
Frederick and Kinsey signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) with the Colonials in the early signing period of November 2013, while Minnie, Reed, Pryor and Gomis signed NLI’s with RMU in the spring.
“I’m really excited about the balance our freshman class presents,” Toole said. “There’s good versatility with the group, as well. We have guys that can play multiple positions, and I think we were able to help shore up our frontcourt depth with the size we’ve brought in. Rodney and Leo, meanwhile, are both physically and mentally mature and ready to contribute at the Division I level. Both of them will have the ability to contribute right away.”
Lyles announced his decision to transfer to Robert Morris in May of 2014 and will sit out the 2014-15 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules. He will have three years of eligibility with Robert Morris beginning in 2015-16.
“Jairus is one of the more highly rated high school recruits we’ve gotten, and he’ll fit in perfectly with our system,” Toole said. “I’m confident he’ll use the next year to improve his game, whether it’s through practice or through his routine off the court, and he’ll be ready to step in and contribute in 2015-16.”
The recruiting class joins a group of three returning starters and six letterwinners from a squad that finished with an overall record of 22-14 (.611) in 2013-14 and earned its second straight and 11th Northeast Conference regular-season title overall with a mark of 14-2 (.875) in league play.
RMU advanced to the postseason for the sixth time in the last seven years in 2013-14, advancing to the second round of the 2014 National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Colonials earned an 89-78 victory at St. John’s (3/18/14) in the first round of the 2014 NIT, the program’s first victory against a Big East school, before falling at Belmont (3/21/14) in the second round, 82-71.
Returning as starters for Robert Morris in 2014-15 are forwards Lucky Jones (Newark, N.J. / St. Anthony) and Stephan Hawkins (Gary, Ind. / Bowman Academy) and junior guard David Appolon (Philadelphia, Pa. / Imhotep Charter).
Jones, a 2014 All-NEC Second Team selection, enters his final season of eligibility and senior season in 2014-15 as RMU’s active leader in both points (1,190) and rebounds (662). One of 13 players in school history to eclipse career totals of 1,000 points and 500 caroms, Jones ranks 16th all-time in career points and sixth in career boards and enters next year 90 rebounds shy of becoming the program’s all-time leading rebounder.
Hawkins supplied the Colonials with averages of 6.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in his final 16 games of the 2013-14 campaign after RMU went to an eight-man rotation, while Appolon averaged 6.5 points and 5.2 boards over the same span.
Robert Morris enters the 2014-15 campaign with an overall record of 163-81 (.668) over the last seven seasons, both a school and league record. Over that span, the Colonials rank seventh among mid-major programs in victories, tied with Akron.
Robert Morris 2014-15 Recruiting Class
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year Hometown / High School (Previous College)
Andre Frederick F 6’8″ 210 Fr. Detroit, Mich. / Daniel Hand (Conn.)
Lionel Gomis F 6’9″ 220 Jr. Dakar, Senegal / Cloud County Community College
Jafar Kinsey G 6’1″ 180 Fr. Syracuse, N.Y. / Jamesville-Dewitt
Jairus Lyles G 6’2″ 175 So. Washington, D.C. / DeMatha Catholic (VCU)
Elijah Minnie F 6’8″ 215 Fr. Monessen, Pa. / Lincoln Park
Rodney Pryor G 6’4″ 195 Jr. Evanston, Ill. / Cloud County Community College
Marcquise Reed G 6’3″ 175 Fr. Laurel, Md. / Capitol Christian
Andre Frederick (F) – (YouTube Highlights) – Signed a National Letter of Intent with RMU in November of 2013 … As a senior in 2013-14 averaged 12.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game while shooting 59 percent from the floor at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Conn. … Earned 2014 Southern Connecticut Conference All-Hammonasset Division honors … Earned Class L All-State Second Team accolades from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association … Selected Honorable Mention All-State by the New Haven Register and the Harford Courant … Selected to play in the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Senior All-Star Festival and the JCC Schoolboy Classic, an All-Star game between high school players from Connecticut and New Jersey … Prior to spending a year at Daniel Hand played majority of his prep career in his hometown of Detroit, Mich., at Douglass Academy.
Lionel Gomis (F) – Inked a National Letter of Intent with Robert Morris in April of 2014 … Played in 30 games for Cloud County Community College in 2013-14, including 29 starts … Averaged 5.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in 2013-14 … Scored a career-high 12 points in a 90-84 win over Central Community College-Columbus (11/5/13) and tied a career high in scoring in a 105-56 victory over Midland (11/9/13) … Spent his freshman campaign in 2012-13 at Siena College … Played his prep basketball at Blair Academy in New Jersey.
Jafar Kinsey (G) – (YouTube Highlights) – Inked a National Letter of Intent with Robert Morris in November of 2013 … A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at Jamesville-Dewitt … Two-time captain (2012-13, 2013-14) … As a senior averaged 20.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game … Three-time All-Freedom Conference selection, earning second team honors in 2011-12 and first team accolades in 2012-13 and 2013-14 … Two-time All-Central New York (CNY) All-Star selection (2012-13, 2013-14) … Two-time Zebra Classic All-Star (2011-12, 2012-13) … On his career scored 1,120 points and compiled career totals of 334 rebounds, 192 assists and 97 steals.
Jairus Lyles (G) – (YouTube Highlights) – A transfer from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) … Will sit out the 2014-15 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules … As a freshman at VCU in 2013-14 appeared in 22 games, playing a total of 58 minutes … Played his prep basketball at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md. … As a senior in 2013-14 averaged 13.4 points and 4.3 assists per contest … As a junior in 2011-12 averaged 10.5 points and 2.4 assists per game … Helped lead DeMatha Catholic to the 2012 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference finals … Will have three years of eligibility with the Colonials.
Elijah Minnie (F) – (YouTube Highlights) – Signed a National Letter of Intent with the Colonials in May of 2014 … Helped lead Lincoln Park to both Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class A championships … Contributed eight points, eight rebounds and nine blocks in a 70-66 victory over Math, Civics & Sciences to help Lincoln Park claim the PIAA Class A title … As a senior in 2013-14 averaged 15.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per contest … A 2014 Pennsylvania All-State First Team selection.
Rodney Pryor (G) – (YouTube Highlights) – Signed a National Letter of Intent with RMU in April of 2014 … Underwent season-ending knee surgery prior to the 2013-14 season at Cloud County Community College … Prior to his freshman season at Cloud County in 2012-13 suffered a season-ending foot injury … Played his prep career in Niles, Ill., at Notre Dame Prep.
Marcquise Reed (G) – (YouTube Highlights) – Signed a National Letter of Intent with Robert Morris in April of 2014 … Averaged 31.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as a senior in 2013-14 at Capitol Christian … Earned 2014 All-Met Honorable Mention accolades … Eclipsed the 40-point plateau on five occasions, including a career-high 52 points in his final prep game, a 117-66 victory over Upper Room Christian (3/15/14) … Scored 45 points in an 82-69 win over Bull City Prep (11/30/13) … Converted 20 field goals and went 8-for-11 at the free-throw line for 48 points in a 130-100 win over Upper Room Christian (12/22/13) … In a 115-51 victory over Queen Anne’s County (12/28/13) finished with 41 points … Contributed 40 points in a 105-74 win over MATHS (2/15/14).