With a revamped squad, Vikings men’s basketball aims higher in 2022-2023

Daniyal Robinson was named head coach of Cleveland State men’s basketball following Dennis Gates’ exit from the University of Missouri after the 2021-2022 season – Photo Credit: CSU Athletics

A wave of change has come to CSU’s men’s basketball program following their 2021-2022 campaigns as players and coaches moved onto new chapters.

Following back-to-back regular season championships, the Vikings men’s basketball team could not reach the 2022 NCAA tournament after falling short of their ultimate goal in the opening round of the NIT Tournament to Xavier.

Perhaps the most significant loss for the program was the departure of the men’s head coach after the season ended. Coach Dennis Gates accepted an offer from the University of Missouri after guiding Cleveland State to three of the most successful years in program history and winning the Horizon League Coach of the Year award in 2020 and 2021.

Coaching Staff

However, it was announced in April that Daniyal Robinson would take over as the head coach of the men’s squad. Robinson joins the Vikings as a veteran of the coaching ranks with over 21 years of experience at the NCAA Division I level. Most recently, an assistant coach, he concluded his second term at Iowa State, where he saw the Cyclones win two Big 12 Tournaments and advance to the NCAA Tournament four times, which includes runs to the Sweet 16 in 2016 and 2021.  Over his two stops with the Cyclones, Robinson has helped coach 12 student-athletes to the NBA, including lottery pick Tyrese Haliburton in 2020 and 2019 second-rounder and NBA Champion Talen Horton-Tucker.

The CSU Athletic Department and coach Robinson have also added assistant coach Jermaine Henderson as Robinson’s first coaching staff member. Henderson returns to the program after spending the past five seasons at Kansas State University, where he most recently served as an assistant coach. He previously served as CSU’s assistant coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons under former head coach Gary Waters.

The staff continues to round out with the elevation of Travis Lewis to assistant coach. Lewis had spent his first season in the program as director of video operations. Jay Shunnar spent the past two seasons as the Director of Basketball Operations at Butler University and has also been named an assistant coach. In addition, Connor Murrell will join as the program’s new director of basketball operations. Murrell arrives in Cleveland following stints as a graduate assistant with both Iowa State and Ohio University programs. Most recently, it was announced that Steve Payne would join the Vikings as the special assistant to the head coach. Prior to being added to the program, Payne served as an assistant coach for the University of Missouri-Kansas City men’s basketball program as he brings over 30 years of collegiate basketball coaching experience to CSU.

Player Additions:

Tristan Enaruna | Jr. | Forward

In May, coach Robinson made his first signing official as CSU added Iowa State transfer Tristan Enaruna to its roster.

Enaruna started 26 games and played in 33 contests overall for the Cyclones in 2021-22. He averaged 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds and posted shooting percentages of 54.5 from the field and 73.1 at the line. Enaruna reached double-figures in four games, which included a career-high of 23 points against Baylor, and posted his first career double-double against Chicago State with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Enaruna was also named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll in the Fall of 2021.

Enaruna can play both the guard and forward positions with his 6’8, 220-pound frame but projects best as a forward for CSU. He has also been a part of two NCAA Tournament teams over his career with Iowa State and Kansas and competed for the Netherlands at the 2019 U18 FIBA European Championships.

He will have two years of eligibility left with the CSU program.

Ramar Pryor | Fr. | Guard

The 6’3 high school talent verbally committed to the Vikes in February 2021. After getting the chance to meet with coach Robinson and his new staff, Pryor made it official and signed with the Vikings for the upcoming basketball campaign. 

Pryor helped the St. Vincent-St. Mary’s program won back-to-back Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II State Championships in both 2021 and 2022. He averaged 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.0 steals per game to close out his senior season. He was also named First Team All-Ohio by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association in 2022. 

Being a graduating high school senior, Pryor will have his full eligibility remaining with the Vikes. 

Jason “Deuce” Drake | Fr. | Guard

Drake, from Ferndale, Michigan, accompanied Ferndale High School to back-to-back Michigan High School Athletic Association Division II Final Fours.

According to 247sports.com, Drake was rated as a three-star recruit and the 269th-ranked high school senior in the nation. The publication also slots him as the fourth-ranked guard in the state of Michigan.

Like his teammate Pryor, Drake will have full eligibility remaining with the Vikings.

Jamir Price | So. | Guard

Price started in 31 games for Mineral Area College in the NJCAA this past season. He averaged 13.9 points, 3.7 assists, and 3.3 rebounds and posted shooting percentages of 53.3 from the field and 43.8 from beyond the arc.  

His Mineral Area College program is also coming off an NJCAA Region 16 regular-season championship.

Price finished the 2021-22 campaign ranked in the top 10 in the NJCAA Region 16 in assists (fourth with 115), points (sixth with 431), field goal percentage (seventh), steals (eighth with 42), and free throw percentage (eighth at 74.8 percent).

Tae Williams | Jr. | Forward/Guard

Williams stands at 6’7 and 205 pounds. Williams comes to Cleveland following a successful season at John A. Logan College. He was named All-Conference and All-Region on a squad that made a run to the Sweet 16 in the NJCAA National Championships. 

He played in all 32 games for the Vols, which included 28 starts, and recorded averages of 12.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and one steal per contest. He also knocked down 47.7 percent of his attempts from the field.

Williams led Orr Academy High School to three consecutive state titles as a sophomore, junior and senior in high school. The program is just the fourth in IHSA history to capture three straight state championship crowns.

Williams also competed for one year with Tennessee Tech in the Ohio Valley Conference and will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Vikings. 

Dylan Arnett | Fr. | Forward

Arriving by way of DePaul College Prep in Chicago, Arnett is coming off a stellar senior season that concluded with him being named First Team All-State by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and earning a 2022 Chicago Sun-Times All-City Third Team selection.   

Arnett was also selected First Team All-Catholic League and led his team to a third-place finish at the Class 2A Illinois State Championships.

Arnett ranked No. 1 in the state of Illinois for much of his time playing with the program. He’s a 6’9 forward who can run the floor and was named the Chicagoland Prep Hoops Sixth Man of the Year in 2020-21.  

He also competed for the Illinois Wolves, where he won the Under Armour Association AAU Championships in 2021.

Other Additions Include:

Drew Lowder – 6’1 | Jr. | Guard

Chase Robinson – 6’1 | Jr. | Guard

Paxton Payne – 6’2 | Jr. | Guard

The Vikings will open the Daniyal Robinson era at home, hosting Notre Dame College on Monday, Nov. 7, in the 2022-23 season opener at the Wolstein Center. 

Cleveland State will begin Horizon League play in the middle of its non-league slate of games, hosting Oakland (Dec. 1) and Detroit Mercy (Dec. 3) over the opening weekend of play.

Author: abrahamfarraj

Sports Editor For The Cauldron

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