As the 2023-24 America East men's basketball season approaches, let's dive into what's in store for the UMBC Retrievers under the guidance of Head Coach Jim Ferry. The Retrievers are gearing up for a season full of promise, embracing the transfer portal to build a strong and dynamic roster.
Last season, UMBC made significant strides, finishing with an 18-14 record, including an 8-8 mark in conference play. They kicked off the season impressively but faced challenges in February, resulting in a late-season dip. Their journey concluded in the #AEHoops Quarterfinals.
Coach Ferry's approach is remarkable, as he has once again leveraged the transfer portal to bring in new talent with the goal of reaching the conference championship game for the second time in three seasons. The Retrievers have welcomed a total of 11 new players to their ranks, emphasizing the importance of not just acquiring players but finding the right fit for the team.
"I think my staff has done an unbelievable job of picking the right kids, like we did last year," Ferry explained. "We have such really good people. Competitors but really unselfish guys. For an experienced coach like myself, it brings back the excitement of what coaching is all about."
The roster features one key returner from last year, Dion Brown, who played a significant role on the team. Brown, a freshman, appeared in 22 games last season, averaging 7.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in 19 minutes of play. Coach Ferry anticipates an expanded role for Brown this season and is impressed by the leadership qualities he has displayed as a returning player.
Among the newcomers who are expected to make an immediate impact, several standout players are worth noting. Bryce Johnson, Marcus Banks, Jr., Khydarius Smith, and Max Lorca-Lloyd are poised to contribute significantly to the team. Johnson, who played his first two seasons at Chicago State, averaged 9.6 points, shot 38.8 percent from beyond the arc, and made 57 three-pointers. Banks Jr. hails from Odessa College, where he averaged 7.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Smith, arriving at UMBC from USC Upstate, averaged 7.8 points per game, while Lorca-Lloyd transferred from Penn, where he contributed with 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.
The Retrievers are set to kick off their season on November 6, facing Louisville on the road. They will then return home for four consecutive games, including a matchup with local rival Loyola on November 19. UMBC's schedule features notable games against Maryland on November 21 and Towson on December 9. The team will also take on Iowa and American before commencing conference play at home against Bryant on Saturday, January 6.
UMBC Retrievers at a Glance:
- Head Coach: Jim Ferry
- 2022-23 Record: 18-14, 8-8 (4th)
- Scoring Offense: 74.3 points per game (3rd)
- Scoring Defense: 72.8 points per game (7th)
- 3PT Field Goals: 257 (2nd)
The UMBC Retrievers are poised for an exciting season, with a blend of experienced returners and promising newcomers, as they aim to make a significant impact in the 2023-24 America East men's basketball season. Stay tuned for their journey as they chase success on the court.