We put together our all-breakout team, and now it’s time to put together our all-newcomer teams.
Reaching the Summit Newcomer of the Year
G Raheem Anthony St. Thomas
Honestly deciding on newcomer of the year in this era of college basketball is a challenge. With so many transfers, many of which played sparingly at a Power 5 program or in Anthony’s case excelled at a lower level. What will translate? What kind of opportunity does the player have? In some cases which of 3 different transfers will take the biggest role? This is probably the hardest “award” to predict given all that was said above. However, it wouldn’t be much of a column if someone wasn’t chosen. So why Anthony? The grad transfer seems ready to step in and immediately contribute at a high level. Yes, Anthony is taking a major jump in the level of competition but although he is jumping up from the division 3 level he is not a 5’10 170lb division 3 guard. Anthony comes in at 6’4 220. The Division 3 all-american did everything at the Division 3 level. Last season Anthony averaged 24.6 pts, 9.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. Anthony did not shoot often from the outside and only took less than 3 shots a game from out there but did show some ability to make the outside shot, hitting more than 40% of his 3 point shots last season. Not only will his game likely translate to the next level but the opportunity is there as well. St. Thomas needs to replace the output lost with the transfer of Andrew Rohde and the graduation of Riley Miller. Anthony likely steps in very nicely.
Reaching the Summit 1st Team All-Newcomer
G Eli King North Dakota
King joins the Summit League with some fanfare. Out of high school, King was a 3* prospect with plenty of high major attention. King signed with Iowa State. In his lone season at Iowa State King played in only 9 games averaging 3 minutes a game. King is a touted shooter and ballhandler and should provide an immediate upgrade for North Dakota. There is a clear path to minutes and opportunity for King and combining that with his talent leads to his inclusion on this list. Absolutely a newcomer of the year candidate as well, especially if Tyree Ihenacho does not get his waiver and is unable to play this year.
G Jaxon Brenchley Denver
One has to go all the way back to 2019-20 to get a real feel for what Brenchley might be bringing to the table for Denver. The grad transfer from Utah brings a similar power 5 pedigree as King from North Dakota and like King played sparingly his last 3 years in the Pac 12. However, if you go back to Brenchley’s freshmen campaign there may be some glimpses of what he brings to the table. Brenchley played more off the ball but does have the ability to take the lead guard spot. This is desperately needed for a Denver team that had really only Tommy Bruner as a consistent lead guard last season. Brenchley started 7 games and averaged 4.2 points and 2.4 rebounds his freshman year shooting 36% from behind the arc. The departures of Tevin Smith and Justin Mullins should open up plenty of opportunity for Brenchley to shine this season for Denver.
G Khristion Courseault Kansas City
It makes sense to add a Kansas City guard to the first team. There is so much opportunity there, one of the newcomers is going to shine. Last season in the backcourt Coach Menzies relied on veteran guards in the backcourt and young players in the frontcourt. Returning guard Anderson Kopp will play a major role in the backcourt but will be joined by two other major contributors. Courseault seems the most likely of the available candidates. Courseault originally signed with Nevada and then made stops and Houston Christian and Chattanooga. Courseault showed some ability to score especially at Houston Christian. Some of this picked is based on Menzies’s ability to turn middling mid-major scorers into Summit League stars as we saw last year with Allen and Mitchell.
F Nick Davis Omaha
Davis joins Omaha from Southern Nazarene at the Division 2 level for his last year of college basketball. Last season Davis averaged 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds. He also averaged over a block a game. At 6’9 and 220lbs Davis has been described as a clear division 1 athlete. With the size, skill, and athleticism to translate to this level, one could envision similar numbers at Omaha this season. In fact, there are whispers out of Omaha that they have a gem in Davis. Davis may be a name that Summit League diehards don’t know right now but will be finding his name on all-league ballots at the end of the year. Davis should immediately join Marquel Sutton in the starting frontcourt in Omaha.
F Lahat Thioune South Dakota
Thioune joins South Dakota from UCF but his connection with South Dakota Head Coach Eric Peterson goes back much farther than that. Peterson worked with Thioune when Peterson was an assistant coach at Utah and Thioune was a player there. Thioune averaged a career-high 13 minutes a game last season at UCF. Showed power 5 athleticism and his per 40-minute rebounding numbers are what jump out when digging into the statistics. With the trust level on a team filled with new additions, it seems likely that Thioune starts day one and is a legit candidate to lead the Summit League in rebounding.
Reaching the Summit 2nd Team All-Newcomer
G Kaleb Stewart South Dakota
Stewart made the all-conference freshmen team in his first year. and was a consistent contributor during his second season at Louisiana Tech. So Stewart joins the Coyotes with a lot of high-level college basketball experience. Another player Peterson has a past connection with, it seems likely Stewart will jump right into the starting lineup in Vermillion. Stewart was more than willing to put up shots from behind the arc last season, averaging more than 4 attempts per game, but shot at only a 26% clip. In watching some replays of Stewart last season it seems he will be a plus athlete at the guard position in the Summit League. With two years of eligibility remaining there’s reason to get Stewart in as an integral part of the Coyotes rotation as soon as possible.
G Jalen Miller Oral Roberts
Another Power 5 transfer into the Summit League has made our list. It’s possible we are putting too much stock in the ability to jump right in of the Power 5 players but most including Miller played in many games at a higher level during their career. Miller played in 47 games over 2 years at Rutgers. When you ask around Oral Roberts which newcomers are showing at practice. Miller is a name that consistently comes up. The staff is excited about his experience and time played at a higher level. One of those players that the game isn’t too fast for, which gives him an advantage over younger players. There’s a good chance Miller joins Issac McBride and Kareem Thompson in the Oral Roberts backcourt.
G Artese Stapleton Kansas City
The debate was between Stapleton and Courseault over which Kansas City guard has a bigger impact. It’s very possible the two should have been switched. In fact, Stapleton may step in on day 1 as the lead guard in Kansas City. At Radford Stapleton started 10 games on his way to averaging over 7 points and 2 assists per game. In fact, Stapleton’s addition may give the Roos a more natural lead guard than Coach Menzies had last season. Stapleton could join Courseault and Tyler Andrews in a revamped Roos backcourt.
F Isaiah Carr Denver
Carr is mostly a division 1 unknown. Carr played in 9 games as a freshman at Grand Canyon but did start 6 of those 9. At 7 feet Carr certainly has the size to compete at the Division 1 level but it remains to be seen what that translates to with an increased role. With Lukas Kisunas last year Denver proved they are willing to play through a big man with some skill but it remains to be seen if Carr is ready to take the next step in his career. Carr will likely compete with holdover Pedro Lopez Sanvicente to log major frontcourt minutes and may share the minutes but his size and rim protection are an intriguing option for the Pioneers.
F Amar Kuljuhovic North Dakota
The thing that makes Kuljuhovic an intriguing option for major minutes is his high-level rebounding. At the junior college level Kuljuhovic averaged double figures in rebounding and North Dakota will be looking for size and rebounding to put next to Tsotne Tsartsidze. While Kuljuhovic may be somewhat limited offensively he should bring toughness and rebounding which may land him frequently in the Fighting Hawks starting lineup.
So we didn’t name any freshmen as it seems the path for newcomers goes through vet transfers but here’s a quick blip on some Freshmen to Watch
G DeAndre Craig Denver
A true point guard on a team in search of true point guards. Denver also has a history of throwing freshmen right into the mix. Craig has the clearest path of Denver freshmen to immediate minutes.
G Shey Eberwein South Dakota
Eric Peterson initially was recruiting Eberwein when he was at Utah. Eberwein has fallen down the rankings as a recruit since then but a talented wing on a team full of new faces gives him a great path to early career success.
G Malik Olafioye Kansas City
A great athlete and a true point on a team full of wings. Could find a path to minutes but has two veteran transfers to pass on his way there.
G Darik Dissette North Dakota State
One of the most dynamic recruits to ever come out of the state of North Dakota is staying home. If the recent success of North Dakota prep players Grant Nelson and Boden Skunbert and NDSU is any indication, it could be a good sign for Dissette in his first season in Fargo.
F Josh Jones Oral Roberts
Dynamic size and athlete combo. However, Oral Roberts has had these types of athletes before and they had trouble finding their way on the court behind a logjam of veterans. It’s a new coach and some losses may open the door for Jones to have an impact sooner than other freshmen bigs in Tulsa.
F Jake Brack South Dakota
Maybe a reach with this one but South Dakota will be trying to find the right mix of big men and Brack may be able to find himself in the mix for frontcourt minutes along with multiple transfers.
F Jamal Ambrose Omaha
Great size at 6’10 250. Sat out last year with an injury. May find himself behind some more veteran bigs but also is a building block the Mavs coaching staff is counting on in the future. In spite of his injury last year, has a year in the system under his belt which may help him find a bigger role in the rotation.