Last season, the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks had one of their best seasons on the hardwood. The 2014-15 edition of the Hawks compiled an 18 – 15 record overall, and advanced to the 2015 CollegeInsider.Com Tournament due to their strong play in MEAC action.
New head coach Bobby Collins turned around the program in just one season, but the 2015-16 season will provide the second-year bench boss with a tougher challenge.
Stars like Ishaq Pitt, Devon Walker, and Mike Myers, Jr are all graduated, which means the program is without two of its top three scorers. Devin Martin is back to lead the charge, but he will need support from others on his team to keep the Hawks in contention in the MEAC.
One player who was expected to step up and take on a bigger role in 2015-16 was Iman Johnson. However, the forward decided to graduate from Maryland-Eastern Shore and hit the transfer market.
His new home: Samford University.
The junior forward out of Milwaukee, WI chose to transfer to the Samford Bulldogs after graduating, where he will be eligible to play right away.
Last season, the 6’5”, 215-pound Johnson saw limited action for the Hawks. He averaged 17.7 minutes per contest, which was down from his 18.3 minutes per game in 2013-14. This past season, Johnson averaged 3.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
One area of his game that is cause for concern is his free throw shooting. For a smaller guy, in terms of height, he doesn’t shoot the ball well from the charity stripe. This past season, Johnson was 22-of-40 (55.5%) on free throws. If he can improve his free throw shooting over the course of the off-season, Johnson should see an improved level of production with Samford.
The addition of Johnson for the Bulldogs is a significant pickup, considering the year they had in 2014-15 and the players they are losing from a year ago.
Seniors Tyler Hood, Brandon Hayman and Michael Bradley are all gone. Throw in the likes of freshman Evan Taylor and sophomores Brandon Roberts and Nnamdi Enechionyia who are transferring, and there will be a lot of new faces for the Bulldogs in 2014-15. Iman Johnson should be able to slide in right away and fill the void left by Hood, which means meaningful minutes and a chance to produce right from the outset.
Samford is looking to improve on their 13 – 19 record from a year ago, and their 6 – 12 record in Southern Conference action. Adding a player like Johnson will definitely better their chances.
The Bulldogs also added Auburn-transfer Alex Thompson. The 6’9” forward will sit out the 2015-16 season, and have two years of eligibility left.