The Niagara Purple Eagles recruit talented players, but have had some trouble keeping them on campus for their entire careers in the past couple of seasons.
At the end of the 2013-14 season, leading scorer Antoine Mason opted to transfer out of the program. Mason was the top returning scorer in the entire NCAA, and chose to transfer out of Niagara and play elsewhere for his final year of eligibility.
When it came time to decide, Mason enrolled at Auburn and played for the Tigers under new bench boss Bruce Pearl.
Fast-forward to the end of the 2014-15 season, and once again, the Purple Eagles say goodbye to one of their key contributors from the previous season.
Coming off a season where they went 8 – 22 overall, and 7 – 13 in MAAC play, changes were much-needed for the Purple Eagles. Niagara is looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007, but the biggest change of the off-season for their team does more bad than good for their chances.
Star forward Ramone Snowden opted to transfer from the program, and committed to the James Madison Dukes.
Snowden was a star for the Niagara Purple Eagles last season, recording a team-high 6.0 rebounds per game over the course of the year. He also added in 10.7 points and 2.3 assists per game, both of which were good for second-best on the team.
Snowden is a 6’5”, 210-pound forward out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. The transfer to James Madison brings him closer to home, as he is now comfortably back in his home state of Virginia.
For the next couple of seasons, the future is very bright for the James Madison Dukes. Coming off a season where they finished 12 – 6 in the CAA and earned a share of the regular season title, the Dukes look ready to contend once again.
In 2015-16, the Dukes return all five of their starters from a season ago, and return 89% of their scoring and 92% of their rebounding from last year. With the level of familiarity and talent the Dukes have on their roster, expect to see James Madison near the top of the standings again this season.
Snowden will sit out the 2015-16 season, but will be able to practice with the team. He will be eligible in 2016-17 as a redshirt-junior.
The Dukes will add Butler-transfer Devontae Morgan to their already talented roster in 2015-16. Morgan sat out last season due to the transfer following the 2013-14 campaign.
Over the course of the next two seasons, don’t sleep on the James Madison Dukes. They are top contenders in the Colonial.