Victor Enoh’s journey to becoming a Red Fox was a seamless transition for both the former Memphis Tiger and the coaching staff.
As Marist took on Quinnipiac University for the second straight night, a 6-foot-8 pair of reflective, metallic aviators sat in the stands, studying the floor, supporting his teammates, and waiting once again for his opportunity to compete. This wasn’t how he imagined his first season as a Red Fox.
When John Dunne took over the Marist men’s basketball team as head coach three years ago, his first objective was to change the culture that had been plaguing the team for so many years. Dunne, who has had success in the MAAC before coming to Marist, quickly brought in players that he felt embodied the system he wanted to put in place.
“From day one, we just wanted to instill a culture where we were going to compete,” said Dunne. “We just wanted to be competitive.” After years of unsuccessful seasons prior to Dunne’s hiring, the goal of the new coaching staff was to bring in players that were coachable and hungry to win games.
Enter: our towering pair of sunglasses. Redshirt junior Victor Enoh, a soft-spoken, powerful big man, was one of the key pieces that Dunne brought in to build this new, competitive culture.
Originally from Decatur, Georgia, Enoh was a three-star recruit coming out of high school and caught the attention of some of the nation’s top basketball programs, including Vanderbilt, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State. “Around tenth grade I started getting looks from schools,” said Enoh. “That’s when I knew I could play basketball at the next level.” It is not hard to see what he brings to the table at 230 pounds.
His size was ‘the missing piece’ that coach Dunne and assistant coach Serge Clement, who handles much of the recruitment for the team, felt they needed on their roster. “The one thing we were missing was brute force, someone who can challenge [redshirt senior center] Jordan Jones in practice, and the different body type as well,” said Clement.
The team’s three centers, Enoh, senior Zion Tordoff, and Jones, all supply unique skills and provide a variety of uses to the lineup, giving Marist the chance to compete with every team in the MAAC and even higher ranked programs around the country.
Before transferring to Marist in the summer of 2019, Enoh played for two years at the University of Memphis. Former coach Tubby Smith ran a similar system to what Enoh had been used to in high school, which ultimately led to his committing to the Tigers. “It was almost the same system,” said Enoh. “When he left, that’s when I started thinking of transferring.” The Memphis program was left in the hands of coach Penny Hardaway.
Coach Clement first heard about Enoh and his possible departure from Memphis from trustworthy sources in Georgia that had previously coached the center. “He could have a great opportunity being in a Marist Red Fox jersey,” Clement thought after first watching Enoh’s game tape. The assistant coach knew that Enoh’s 12–15-foot shot would fit right into the Red Fox offense.
When it comes to recruiting the right players from around the country, Dunne compared the process to the Wild West, “There are 1,200 players in the transfer portal every year now and the old way of recruiting is gone,” said Dunne. “I think you have to keep every avenue open, high school, prep school, junior college, transfer. The goal is still to find good character guys.”
Dunne makes sure that all of his recruits understand the type of staff they will be playing for. “We tell them when we’re recruiting them that we’re going to be fair, and open and honest,” said Dunne. “You’re going to play for a staff, not just myself, that cares about you as a person and will push you to reach your potential.”
These were some of the messages that made Enoh feel that Marist was the best place for him to continue his basketball career. “The coaching staff at Marist told me what they wanted me to come do,” said Enoh. “Which was just play hard, get rebounds, hit jump hooks, and that’s all I really wanted.”
More than just his physical presence and style of play, both coaches Dunne and Clement could not speak more highly of Enoh’s character. “He fit right in because of his high character and his ability to be succinct with what’s going on,” said Clement. “He’s a good kid, he’s a hard worker and relishing in his opportunities at this level.” It takes more than just impressive size to be successful in Dunne’s system.
Coach Clement described Enoh’s transition to Marist as seamless. Enoh became a sponge the moment he stepped onto campus for the first time during that summer. “He was very low maintenance,” said Clement. “And that was one thing that we really appreciated about him.”
Enoh’s first time at Marist came before his first semester got under way. That summer, his teammates toured him around campus, giving him the rundown of life as a Red Fox, and Enoh immediately felt comfortable in his new environment. “I love the campus and I love the atmosphere,” he said.
It didn’t take long for Enoh to get adjusted to his new team either. The team had been working out together before practices officially started, so chemistry was not hard to build. “The first full practice was pretty fun,” said Enoh. “There was a lot of energy in the building.” He felt they instantly gelled as a group, although it did take a little longer to get to know the man he’d be guarding in practice, Jordan Jones.
In his first season with the Red Foxes, Enoh played 16 games averaging 3.9 points and 5.1 rebounds, shooting an efficient 58 percent from the field. He played just over 18 minutes a game, serving a crucial role in Marist’s most successful season since the late 2000’s.
Unfortunately for Enoh and his teammates, the center suffered a torn MCL, cutting his season short. Enoh underwent surgery in late February and was looking forward to beginning his rehabilitation process so he can get back on the floor as soon as possible. He was excited to log more hours playing with his teammates, building chemistry, and continuing to improve as a unit.
Edited by Bridget Reilly and Nicholas Stanziale
Photo Credit: Marist College Athletics