When you think of Rhode Island basketball, what do you think? Go on, take your time. Now, whatever it was you were just thinking, I'm betting it didn't involve the state of Michigan. Would I be correct in that bet?
That's why the story of former Rhode Island player-cum-newly hired Rhode Island assistant Preston Murphy is rather interesting. Murphy, a Michigan native who starred at guard at Rhode Island in the late 1990's, was hired by URI coach Jim Baron in July. In that short time, he's managed to land two recruits from the state of Michigan.
The latest is guard T.J. Buchanan, who hails from Central High in Kalamazoo, Mich. The first, and perhaps most important, was point guard David West. West, like Murphy, hails from Saginaw, Mich., and he's expected to be a main contributor for the Rams as early as this fall.
It's a veritable Michigan-Rhode Island pipeline in the making. I'm pretty sure if you had to tenuously connect two states in college hoops recruiting -- i.e., X state is sending players to Y school more often than the norm; name X, name Y, and show your work -- those two would be among the least likely connections. You'd probably be better off using a dart board. The only thing wackier would be a Canada-Texas recruiting pipe -- er, wait. Nevermind. Apparently that exists, too.