Oakland hoops dealt big blow, with departures of Braden Norris, Jaevin Cumberland
Oakland men's basketball thought it had its starting point guard for the next several years in Braden Norris, who emerged this past season as one of the Horizon League's best ball-handlers and 3-point shooters as a freshman.
Now, the Golden Grizzlies might again have to turn to a freshman in 2019-20.
Norris, who started the last 30 games and averaged 8.4 points in making the Horizon League all-freshman team, informed coach Greg Kampe last week of his intentions to transfer.
He is officially listed in college basketball's transfer portal, and already has taken a visit to Notre Dame, with another possible visit to Ohio State on the horizon.
A 19-year-old from Hilliard, Ohio, Norris had very few college offers when Kampe and Co. discovered him and lured him to Rochester. He began the season as Brailen Neely's backup, then took over the starting job when Neely decided to leave the team early in the season. Norris led his team in assists (5.2), steals (1.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio. His 2.75 assist-to-turnover ratio was tops in the conference, and 23rd in the nation.
Norris was widely considered the second-best freshman in the conference, behind Detroit Mercy's Antoine Davis, who broke Steph Curry's freshman 3-point record.
Now, Oakland might have to hand the starting duties over to true freshman C.J. Gettelfinger, from Tennessee, who also happens to be coming off wrist surgery.
Gettelfinger already has signed with Oakland, which will find out on Signing Day on Tuesday if it has landed its other two verbal commitments in North Farmington power forward Yusuf Jihad and Toledo power forward Jackson Harris. Even if both sign, Oakland will have more scholarships available.
Norris is joined in the transfer portal by guard Jaevin Cumberland, who announced last month that he would finish his career at Oakland but has had a change of heart. He will be a graduate transfer and thus eligible to play immediately at his next stop, which just might be Cincinnati, where his cousin, Jarron Cumberland, is a star player. Cincinnati recently hired John Brannen from Northern Kentucky of the Horizon League.
Cumberland started all 33 games and averaged 17.2 points.
In a March 15 press release, Cumberland, Xavier Hill-Mais and Brad Brechting all said they were coming back to Oakland for their final seasons. Hill-Mais and Brechting remain committed to returning.
Meanwhile, over at Detroit Mercy, forward Cole Long is in the transfer portal and will be a graduate transfer. He hasn't decided on his future destination.