There are lots of RI connections in the Atlantic 10 this season

NEW YORK — The Atlantic 10 men’s basketball conference media day was filled with old connections and familiar faces, showcasing the player movement that has become commonplace in college basketball. Among the notable stories were Enoch Cheeks’ new beginning with the Dayton Flyers, Charles Pride joining St. Bonaventure, Christ Essandoko’s commitment to Saint Joseph’s, and the transfers from the Ivy League to Loyola Chicago and George Washington.

Enoch Cheeks, a former star at Mount Pleasant, is embarking on the next chapter of his career with the Dayton Flyers. Despite his success at Robert Morris, where he was a two-year starter and all-conference selection, Cheeks made the decision to transfer to Dayton. Coach Anthony Grant praised Cheeks for fitting into the team’s culture and identity, and expressed excitement about having him on board. Cheeks’ impressive stats from last season, including 15.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game, earned him the respect of his teammates and coaches.

Charles Pride, a graduate transfer from Bryant, will be playing his final college season in his home region for St. Bonaventure. Pride was part of Bryant’s historic NCAA Tournament appearance and had an impressive career with the Bulldogs, totaling 1,528 points, 750 rebounds, 250 assists, and 144 steals in 112 games. St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt highlighted Pride’s experience and success as a Division I player, emphasizing his integral role in the team’s plans for the season.

Christ Essandoko, a former Providence commit, has landed with Saint Joseph’s after decommitting from the Friars. Essandoko spent last season practicing with the Hawks and working on his academics. Standing at 7 feet tall, Essandoko received offers from top programs before ultimately choosing Saint Joseph’s. Coach Billy Lange acknowledged Essandoko’s talent but also stressed the need for refinement and patience, drawing a comparison to Joel Embiid’s early years in the NBA. Despite sitting out for two years, Lange believes Essandoko has the potential to make a significant impact once he adjusts to college basketball.

The Ivy League transfers, Greg Dolan from Cornell and Dame Adelekun from Dartmouth, are set to join Loyola Chicago for the upcoming season. Their move to Loyola Chicago follows a trend of Ivy League players seeking an additional season of eligibility due to COVID-19. Garrett Johnson, who had a standout run with Princeton to the Sweet 16, will be transferring to George Washington. Coach Drew Valentine spoke highly of the talent these transfers bring and the impact they can make on their new teams.

The Atlantic 10 media day showcased the ever-changing landscape of college basketball, with players finding new beginnings and old connections being renewed. These stories of RI-connected players highlight the hope and excitement surrounding the upcoming season for A-10 basketball teams.

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