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Dan Hurley can be successful at Rhode Island with transfers

Dan Hurley

Wagner head coach Dan Hurley looks on during a time-out in the second half of the NCAA college basketball game against Pittsburgh on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, in Pittsburgh. Wagner upset Pittsburgh 59-54. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


One of the first jobs for a head coach when taking on a new challenge is to hit the recruiting trail, as that aspect of a program tends to suffer with a coaching change.

While many will assume that to mean four-year guys, there’s also plenty of room for quality transfers especially at the non-BCS (this distinction remains until 2014) level.

That’s the path that Dan Hurley has taken in his first month at Rhode Island, and it’s one that he can be successful with according to Dave Telep of

Hurley has added a pair of transfers in forward Gil Biruta (Rutgers) and guard Jarelle Reischel (Rice) to go along with Mike Aaman and Jordan Hare.

One reason why transfers can work is the fact that for most the second school represents their final chance to “get it right.”

And while neither Biruta nor Reischel had any off-court issues it isn’t as if they can pack up and leave Kingston at the first sign of adversity.

When you’re transferring, it’s basically one’s last chance at making the best decision. There’s no room for error. Often times dropping down a level is the best choice, but the reality is Biruta could have played in any league. However, he played for Hurley at St. Benedict’s in high school. The familiarity led to him making a strong transfer choice based on prior information.

That familiarity may have gone both ways in these cases as Biruta played for Hurley at St. Benedict’s Prep and Reischel also played his high school basketball in New Jersey.

Aaman was a former Wagner commit who followed the Hurleys (Bobby is an assistant at URI) so he’ll be comfortable with coach Hurley as well.

By no means is Rhode Island, which went 7-24 last season, a quick fix. But adding this group should make the rebuilding process a little less painful.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.