Heading into the holiday season and conference play, the large number of Marist basketball transfers from last season have had various degrees of success at their new institutions.
Some have risen to prominent roles on their team, while others are struggling just to find meaningful minutes.
With the early part of the season in the rearview and teams all across the country gearing up for the games that truly matter, let’s take a look at how the Marist transfers performed last week and evaluate their performances so far this season.
Jao Ituka, Wake Forest
Last Week: vs LSU (2 points, 2 rebounds)
Season Stats: 3.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists per game
Ituka was a star at Marist last season, winning MAAC Rookie of the Year. At Wake Forest in the ACC, he’s struggled to find consistent minutes after sustaining an injury before the season. Against LSU on Saturday, he only played three minutes, getting two points and two boards.
He did see more time in blowout wins over South Carolina State and Hampton a few weeks ago, but it seems like Daivien Williamson, the other guard on the Demon Deacons’ bench, has supplanted Ituka as the first reserve at the position. It probably isn’t doing Ituka many favors that Florida transfer Tyree Appleby has established himself as one of the best point guards in the ACC.
If Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes doesn’t tinker with his rotation ahead of conference play, Ituka could find himself having to show as much as he can in the precious little amount of playing time he does receive.
Braden Bell, Prairie View A&M
Last Week: at Northwestern (5 points, 1 rebound)
Season Stats: 4.9 points, 1.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists per game
Bell has established himself as a solid role player at Prairie View but has seen a reduction in minutes since his time at Marist.
In 2020-21, Bell played over 23 minutes per game for John Dunne. He saw those numbers take a dip last season in Poughkeepsie and now he only plays about 10 minutes per game on a deep Panthers team.
He was right around his season averages in a 61-51 loss to Northwestern on Sunday with five points and a rebound. Bell is shooting 44 percent this season but is still searching for consistency, with a 13-point showing against Rice on 5-for-7 shooting serving as the high point of his season thus far.
He projects as a player who can come off of the bench and provide a spark; we’ll see how he handles his role with the Panthers set to begin conference play in the SWAC in the coming weeks.
Victor Enoh, UNC Wilmington
Last Week: Did not play
Season Stats: 2.4 points, 3.6 rebounds per game
Enoh’s season started quite well when he held his own against Armando Bacot and top-ranked North Carolina. In hindsight, the performance isn’t as impressive as it once appeared to be back in November, as the Tar Heels have plummeted in the polls.
Enoh played 28 minutes in that game but has only played 41 since. In the last two games he appeared in (a heavy loss to Connecticut and a win over Coastal Carolina), Enoh had the same output — eight minutes played, zero points, and one rebound.
He has missed UNC Wilmington’s last two games and it is worth keeping an eye on if and when he does return to the lineup. Enoh’s offensive game doesn’t feature much more than the occasional putback or putback score, but he is a proven rebounder that has shown he can contribute in Carolina.
Matt Herasme, New Hampshire
Last Week: at Boston College (4 points, 7 rebounds), at Saint John’s (14 points, 10 rebounds)
Season Stats: 8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists per game
Herasme has had the best numbers of any Marist men’s basketball transfer from last season. He’s started all of New Hampshire’s nine games and is a key contributor, averaging better than eight points and six rebounds per game while shooting almost 40 percent from three.
He struggled from the floor in UNH’s surprising upset at Boston College on Tuesday but rebounded with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double in a loss to Saint John’s in New York City on Saturday.
At Marist, Herasme was always known for being the glue guy and one of the team leaders while not always showing up on the stat sheet. In his new surroundings, he’s on track for his best season since his sophomore year and it seems like he’ll be on the court for the key moments as he’s played more than 35 minutes four times this season.
Raheim Sullivan, NJIT
Last Week: at Army (7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
Season Stats: 6.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game
The Toronto native has been pretty consistent on a game-by-game basis for the Highlanders this season, putting up about seven points, three rebounds, and two assists per game. The main drawback to Sullivan’s scoring is that he’s only shooting 31 percent from the floor and 29 percent from deep so far this campaign.
In a close loss at Army, Sullivan shot 3-for-10 from the field on his way to seven points. He’s started eight of nine games this season, but his minutes have gone down since the first few games of the season.
Sullivan is a prominent contributor on a struggling NJIT team who still has room to improve in terms of efficiency and production.
Ricardo Wright, SMU
Last Week: vs TCU (0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist)
Season Stats: 0.2 points, 0.3 rebounds, 0.2 assists per game
Like Ituka, Wright is struggling for minutes at a bigger school. On Saturday against TCU, he tied a season-high for minutes played at 11. His only two points of the season came against New Mexico in the middle of November.
In his 11 minutes on the floor against the Horned Frogs this weekend, Wright failed to attempt a shot, registering two rebounds and an assist while on the court. Wright’s season hasn’t been what he envisioned, and if he fails to find his footing, he may be headed back to the portal.
Sarah Barcello, San Diego State
Last Week: vs Sacramento State (0 points, 1 rebound) vs San Diego (3 points, 1 rebound)
Season Stats: 2.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists per game
Barcello transferred to the Southwest to get closer to home and has settled in as a role player for the Aztecs after not playing for Marist last season.
She consistently played 15-20 minutes per game earlier in the year but isn’t quite getting as much time on the court at the moment. In San Diego State’s two games last week, Barcello combined to play just eight minutes, hitting a three in the Aztecs’ win over city rival San Diego.
Garnering a reputation as a shooter during her time in Poughkeepsie, Barcello has struggled to find the hoop, shooting a shade under 30 percent on the season.
Anabel Ellison, Stetson
Last Week: at Tennessee State
Season Stats: 3.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists per game
After missing the first few games of the season, Ellison has found her way into the Hatters’ rotation. Like Barcello, she’s struggling from the field at 29 percent overall and 24 percent from deep.
Ellison went scoreless in Sunday’s win over Tennessee State and her best game of the season came in a 70-point blowout of a non-Division I school. She also had shooting struggles at Marist and despite the change of scenery, she hasn’t found much more success from deep.
Trey Kennedy, George Mason
Last Week: No games
Season Stats: 0.8 points, 0.5 rebounds per game
Last season, Kennedy missed the non-conference slate as they recovered from off-season surgery and just wasn’t the same player when they returned to action. Now, at George Mason, Kennedy has found it difficult to receive minutes.
Kennedy has only appeared in seven of George Mason’s 10 games and they haven’t played double-digit minutes since the season-opener, a heavy loss to Maryland. They only have two made field goals on the season, and it seems like Kennedy won’t feature heavily in CAA play.
And that’s the update on the Marist transfers. For many, the grass hasn’t exactly been greener on the other side. Multiple big names, such as Ituka and Wright, find themselves pretty far down the bench with limited opportunities to make an impact at this juncture.
Herasme has been a pleasant surprise at UNH and several other players are contributing solid minutes off the bench.
With conference play on the horizon, many of the Marist transfers seem to have solidified roles. Those who are spending more time on the bench than they expected will need to make the most of the opportunities they do receive if they want to be a factor on their team in March.
Edited by Luke Sassa
Photo from Marist Athletics