UMaine men’s basketball team undergoing significant roster shakeup

Admittedly, math was never my thing. But you don’t have to be Einstein to see that there are major roster changes coming for the University of Maine men’s basketball team.
Apparently, any thoughts that coach Bob Walsh and his staff were going to sit around and wait for the roster they inherited to undergo natural turnover through graduation were mistaken.
Instead, Walsh appears committed to a full-blown overhaul this offseason.
So let’s do the roster math.
The Black Bears finished the 2014-2015 season with 13 players including 12 scholarship athletes, one shy of the NCAA Division I men’s maximum of 13.
Senior Ethan Mackey bailed in December, which opened up a scholarship that subsequently was awarded to walk-on freshman guard Garvey Melmed of Greenbush. All else being equal, the only other scholarship available for 2015-2016 would be that of Zarko Valjarevic, the only remaining senior.
The other scholarship players this year are juniors Shaun Lawton, Till Gloger and Stefan Micovic, sophomores Garet Beal of Beals Island, Troy Reid-Knight, Marko Pirovic, Christian Ejiga and Erik Nissen, and freshmen Kevin Little and Aaron Calixte. Sophomore C.J. Ward was a walk-on who suffered a broken ankle early in the season.
That appears to leave Walsh and his staff with two available scholarships for next season.
However, UMaine already has at least four players coming into the fold.
According to published reports, UMaine has received verbal commitments from four players: 6-foot-6 forward Devine Eke of Plainfield, New Jersey, 6-7 forward Ilija Stojiljkovic of Serbia, 6-2 shooting guard Levar Harewood of Brooklyn, New York, and 6-5 forward Issac Vann of Stratford, Connecticut.
This week,Lee Academy point guard Walter King also reportedly agreed to join the team as a nonscholarship player.
So with two known scholarships available and four incoming scholarship players, UMaine has to make room for two newcomers.
Walsh last week said the scenario surrounding what personnel moves might occur is not yet clear.
“We always have to be prepared in recruiting for guys that might leave,” Walsh said. “The way it works is, they don’t really have to tell us.”
Clearly, such decisions are forthcoming in the not-too-distant future.
The most likely player to wind up on the outside looking in is Micovic. The Serbian did not appear in a regular-season game last season and has not been a factor in his first three years.
That leaves one scholarship that has to be freed up. Possible departures could include Nissen, who averaged 5.8 minutes in 20 games, former walk-on Melmed, the injury-prone Pirovic or Ejiga.
Most of the current scholarship players played significant roles last season and would appear to figure in Walsh’s future plans.
Reading between the lines, it is obvious Walsh is recruiting aggressively based on whatever roster changes are coming. After a full preseason and season in Orono, he knows whether they can help the Black Bears bounce back from the worst season in program history.
If you do the math, it is clear UMaine men’s basketball will soon bid farewell to a few players to make room for newcomers. And there could be even more changes.

Pete Warner

About Pete Warner

Pete is a Bangor native who graduated from Bangor High School, Class of 1980. He earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He has been a full-time member of the Bangor Daily News Sports staff since 1984. Pete lives in Bangor with his wife of 35 years, Annia. They have two adult sons, Will and Paul. Pete is fluent in Spanish and enjoys visiting his in-laws and friends in Costa Rica. His hobbies including hunting, fishing and listening to jazz.