In need of reinforcements for its frontcourt, the Radford men’s basketball team is adding two transfers.
Devine Eke, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward at Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference member Rider, has decided to join the Highlanders as a graduate transfer. He will be able to play for the Highlanders in the 2019-20 season.
Dravon Mangum, a 6-9, 200-pound forward at Conference USA member Charlotte, has also opted to transfer to Radford. Mangum was a freshman this year, so he will have to sit out next season.
Radford coach Mike Jones needs to replace both of the starting post players on this year’s team, which won 22 games and tied for the Big South regular-season crown. Forward Ed Polite Jr. averaged 13.4 points, 1.2 blocks and a league-high 9.5 rebounds as a senior. Center Mawdo Sallah averaged 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds as a graduate transfer this year.
Eke visited Radford two weeks ago.
“Radford has a great program,” he said in a recent phone interview. “Coach Jones … was telling me how much he thinks I can help them out.”
Eke said he was also contacted by Oregon State, Grand Canyon, Wagner and UMass-Lowell after entering the transfer portal.
Eke averaged 3.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 11.6 minutes as a fourth-year junior reserve for Rider, which is in his home state of New Jersey. He scored a season-high 12 points against Saint Peter’s.
He is on track to graduate from Rider next month.
“I wanted to go somewhere [else] and be more impactful,” he said.
He averaged 2.1 points and 9.4 minutes as a third-year sophomore reserve in the 2017-18 season, when he blocked 25 shots in 31 games.
“I enjoy blocking shots,” he said. “I actually got offered to play [club] volleyball at one point in high school, but I turned that down.”
Radford will be Eke’s third college. He was a freshman starter at America East member Maine, averaging 9.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in the 2015-16 season. But he transferred to Rider after that season because he wasn’t thrilled with Maine’s weather and hoped to play in a better conference.
Mangum averaged 4.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 19.3 minutes as a Charlotte freshman this year. He scored a season-high 12 points against Western Kentucky. He started 13 games, but only once after Jan. 10.
He averaged 17.7 points and 8.4 rebounds as a senior at Person High School in Roxboro, North Carolina.
Mangum signed with Charlotte in November 2017, back when Mark Price was the 49ers’ coach. But Price was fired the following month.
Charlotte was coached this year by former Virginia assistant Ron Sanchez. Mangum said he decided to transfer because he didn’t like the 49ers’ style of play under Sanchez.
“I felt like I could reach my full potential playing somewhere else,” he said. “They play a little bit different than the staff that recruited me. … I’m used to that fast pace.”
Mangum visited Radford this month. He said he also talked to East Carolina, Towson, Winthrop and other schools after entering the transfer portal.
Radford was one of the schools that had recruited Mangum when he was in high school.
Signee Miller receives release from Hokies
Virginia Tech men’s basketball signee Emanuel Miller has been granted a release from his letter-of-intent, said his former AAU coach, Dwayne Washington.
The Toronto native was rated the No. 32 small forward in the 2018-19 recruiting class by ESPN this month.
Miller’s decision means all four of the recruits who signed with then-Hokies coach Buzz Williams last fall have been given their releases. The other three have already picked new schools.
Virginia Tech women add transfer from USC
Asiah Jones, a 6-3 forward, announced on Twitter that she has decided to transfer from Southern Cal to Virginia Tech.
Jones averaged 4.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 14.2 minutes as a third-year sophomore backup this year. She scored in double figures in five Pac-12 games. She also blocked a team-high 24 shots in 26 games. She started four games.
Jones graduated from Woodmont High School in South Carolina.
She averaged 2.5 points as a USC freshman, when she started seven games. She missed the 2017-18 season because of an injury.
Hokies recruit on “Today” show
Elizabeth Kitley, who signed with the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team last fall, has been rated the No. 31 high school senior in the country and the No. 6 post player by ESPN. But that’s not why she was on the “Today” show on Friday.
The 6-4 Kitley and her mother appeared on the fourth hour of “Today” with Jenna Bush and guest co-host Meredith Vieira as the subjects of an “ambush makeover.” Kitley’s father and sister were also in the six-minute segment, applauding the new looks of Kitley and her mom. The family lives in North Carolina but was in New York City, where the “Today” show originates, on a family trip.
Radford women sign JUCO forward
Aiden Rainford of ASA (Junior) College in Brooklyn, New York, has signed with the Radford women’s basketball team.
The 6-1 forward averaged 6.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 12.7 minutes as an ASA College freshman in the 2017-18 season, when the Toronto native blocked 29 shots in 23 games. But her team played only two games in the 2018-19 season because its coach exited, so the players were awarded another year of eligibility. Rainford will have three seasons of eligibility with defending Big South champ Radford.