The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

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The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

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The Return of Rose Thrill: A Preview of the Men’s Basketball Season

After a thrilling 2022-23 season, the Fordham men’s basketball team looks to fill gaps from graduated players in pursuit of another successful campaign
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COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS
The Rams have added a trio of transfer players that could each play a role in bolstering the basketball team’s presence in the upcoming season.

The offseason can be a tumultuous time for any basketball program due to roster changes and shifts in expectation, among other reasons. That is especially the case when there were several games in the 2022-23 season that made the Rose Hill Gymnasium tremble as thousands of raucous fans cheered on the Fordham men’s basketball team. The Rams finished the season with 25 wins, the program’s highest win total since the 1990-91 season.

Led by Darius Quisenberry and Khalid Moore, both Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) ’23, the team was projected to finish in 11th place in the Atlantic 10 (A10), according to the A10 Men’s Basketball annual preseason poll. Instead, they finished third, invigorating the campus and stunning the nation

The Rams, however, have undergone a rapid transformation in the aftermath of their success. Quisenberry and Moore have graduated, leaving an enormous void for the existing Rams to fill. The two accounted for almost half of the points Fordham scored each game and kept the team composed as leaders in close games. Moore’s successes have paid dividends since he left Fordham, as he transformed his collegiate career into a run with the New York Knicks Summer League team and landed a professional contract in Greece with Lavrio BC.

When you put it all together, it would appear that the Rams may be able to offset the subtractions made to the roster this offseason.

The team will also be without Rostyslav Novitskyi, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’23, and Patrick Kelly, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill ’23. Novitskyi was a valuable contributor, appearing in every game last season and starting 16 of them. He averaged 6.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this past year. Kelly was also a valuable contributor off of the bench, appearing in 23 games for the Rams last season.

One important constant for the team will be Keith Urgo, head coach of the men’s basketball team. Urgo took the reins after the departure of Former Head Coach Kyle Neptune on April 20, 2022, and instilled a gritty, crisp playstyle that immediately transferred into wins. His infectious energy motivated not only the team, but also Fordham fans, and he ultimately won the A10 Coach of the Year award. With Urgo at the helm, the future of Fordham men’s basketball seems to be in good hands.

The Rams have also made a number of additions to offset their losses in offensive production. Jahmere Tripp, FCRH ’27 and a three-star recruit standing at 6 feet 6 inches, headlined the 2023 recruiting class. Tripp was a top player at Our Savior Lutheran School in New York and should make an instant impact as a versatile scorer and defender. 

Additionally, Fordham added a trio of transfer players. Guard Japhet Medor, FCRH ’24, will be joining the team after a successful season at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Medor led the team in points, assists and steals per game last season and could add a much-needed spark to the Fordham backcourt if his skills translate to A10 action. 

Joshua Rivera, FCRH ’26, comes to the Rams from Lafayette College. The 6-foot-6 wing averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds as a first-year with the Leopards; it will be interesting to see the role he fills at Rose Hill, given his versatile skill set and the flashes that he showed last season. 

The final transfer, who was only recently added to the roster, is Ogheneyole Akuwovo, GSAS ’24. Akuwovo, a 6-foot-9-inch forward/center most recently played at Binghamton University and has faced the Rams this past season, tallying five points and seven boards in a losing effort for the Bearcats. He will likely play a role in bolstering the Rams’ paint presence in the wake of Novitskyi’s departure.

With Urgo at the helm, the future of Fordham men’s basketball seems to be in good hands.

Returning Rams Noah Best and Angel Montas, both FCRH ’26, are not new to the roster and should see expanded opportunities after limited roles in their first years. Best, a former three-star recruit, missed all of last season due to illness. He was a top-five shooting guard in New York in his recruiting class after averaging 19.1 points per game in his senior year at Mount St. Michael’s High School in the Bronx. 

Montas also entered Fordham as a three-star recruit and missed the majority of last season after suffering an injury. He averaged a ridiculous 34.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 2.7 assists per game as a senior at Life Christian Academy in Kissimmee, Florida. So long as he can remain on the court, Montas will likely have a substantial role for the 2023-24 Rams. 

Overall, Fordham enters the upcoming season with an extremely young roster. Along with the aforementioned athletes, Romad Dean, Elijah Gray and former standout recruit Will Richardson, all FCRH ’26, will likely assume more responsibilities as they enter their second year and continue to refine their skills.

Antrell Charlton, Abdou Tsimbila and Kyle Rose, all FCRH ’24 and multi-year contributors, offer substantial experience to carry the momentum from the past season. When you put it all together, it would appear that the Rams may be able to offset the subtractions made to the roster this offseason.

Regression is possible given how drastically the team overperformed last year, but there are certain intangible qualities that the men’s basketball program has implemented over the past few seasons that are sure to carry over. Much remains to be seen. Nevertheless, fans of Fordham men’s basketball should feel comfortable entering the upcoming season with an optimistic spirit knowing that a tenacious, energetic team awaits them later this year.

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About the Contributor
CHRIS MURRAY
CHRIS MURRAY, Sports & Health Editor
Chris Murray (he/him), FCRH ’24, is a sports & health editor at The Observer. He is a political science and humanitarian studies double major with a minor in psychology. He is a Mets, Knicks and Rangers fan and spends his time trying new food or enjoying the outdoors.

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