Thanks to the presence of MAC player of the year candidate Javon McCrea and promising guards Jarryn Skeete and Jardo Oldham, new Buffalo coach Bobby Hurley has a chance to contend for a league championship right away this upcoming season.
Hurley is also doing his part on the recruiting trail, however, to ensure the Bulls will also be contenders for years to come.
Buffalo received a commitment on Tuesday night from Lamonte Bearden, a talented point guard from Germantown, Wisc., whom many recruiting analysts believe could have been an impact player at the high-major level. The 6-foot-1 senior has a quick first step to the rim, excellent court vision and a knack for finishing at the rim that will only improve as he gets stronger.
Bearden chose Buffalo over a handful of higher profile schools including Saint Louis, Oregon State and San Francisco. A source familiar with his recruitment said Wednesday that concerns about Bearden's grades likely dissuaded more high-major programs from recruiting him.
"He is a tremendous get for Buffalo," the source said. "If he does get eligible, he will tear that league up."
That Hurley's first significant recruiting coup is a point guard should come as no surprise considering his own background. The former Duke point guard earned first-team All-American honors in 1993 and led the Blue Devils to three Final Fours and back-to-back national titles during his college career.
Buffalo should be in great shape at point guard both now and in the future if Bearden manages to get his academics in order.
Oldham led the MAC in assists two years ago, but the senior played in just 11 games last season as a result of a wrist injury. Skeete thrived in his place, earning All-MAC freshman honors after averaging 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. And now Bearden will arrive this time next fall to replace Oldham and serve as a complement to Skeete.