By Mike Meiler
Niagara Gazette — Former Niagara basketball players Juan'ya Green and Ameen Tanksley completed their transfers Friday, officially signing with ex-NU coach Joe Mihalich at Hofstra University.
Green and Tanksley join NU recruit Jamall Robinson as players to follow Mihalich to Hofstra, and the list could grow. Mihalich's replacement, Chris Casey, said senior Malcolm Lemmons, sophomores T.J. Cline and Lawrence Johnson, and graduate student Scooter Gillette were all granted transfer releases.
The NCAA requires that schools give written permission to players seeking to transfer, regardless of the reason. The schools have the ability to block the transfer by refusing to give permission, but Casey said the school only blocks transfers to teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference or Big Four rivals Buffalo, Canisius and St. Bonaventure.
The exits leave Casey with five only returning players from last year's team — leading scorer Antoine Mason, senior guard Marvin Jordan, sophomore guard Tahjere McCall, sophomore swingman Rayvon Harris and 6-foot-7 junior forward Joe Thomas.
"It is what it is," Casey said. "We were hoping everybody would stay, they decided not to and I wish them the best. They contributed a lot to Niagara basketball and the Niagara community, but they decided it was time to move on."
Casey recently inked 6-foot-1 guard Karonn Davis out of Friends' Central School in Philadelphia, leaving seven open scholarships for next season.
Casey said the door remains open to Lemmons, Cline, Johnson and Gillette should they choose to return to Monteagle Ridge, but added that he wasn't waiting for them to make a decision to recruit replacements. The NCAA doesn't allow coaches to comment on recruits, but Casey said he believes there are still quality players available.
"In general, there's obviously a number of guys that already signed, but there's guys out there still who can help a team," he said. "You just have to turn over a few more stones to find them."Follow Gazette sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on all your local teams.