Aussie College: Meet the Freshmen

photo credit: Steven | Alan via photopin cc

With the Australian class of 2013 departed, a fresh new crop of talent from Down Under is set to make their mark in NCAA Division 1 college basketball for season 2013/14. Whilst the incoming freshmen class does not include the highly regarded Dante Exum (who has chosen to bypass this college season), it does have some intriguing new names and faces.

Courtesy: Damian Arsenis

NCAA Division 1 Basketball: 2013/14 Incoming Australian Freshman (last updated 21-Sep-13)

Headlining the incoming class of 2017 are five Australian Emu’s, including:

  1. Dane Pineau (Saint Mary’s College)

  2. Felix von Hofe (Eastern Washington University)

  3. Nick Duncan (Boise State University)

  4. Michael Rowley (University at Albany) and

  5. Joshua Oswald (Miami (OH) University)

These impressive young men were part of the Australian junior national team that reached the medal round at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships.

Joining the Australian first year players on court this season also includes Mangok Mathiang, who red-shirted for national champions University of Louisville and fellow red-shirt Piers Carroll at Nicholls State University. Nicholls State also secured the services of 6’4” guard Alex Overs who has transferred from Baton Rouge Community College (NJCAA). With rumours increasing that Deng Deng who has been playing for Lee College (JUCO) is considering division 1 school offers, there could be at least 13 more Australians running up and down the hardwood this coming season.

Here is a brief look at the incoming Australian freshman talent for season 2012/13, and it’s no surprise that a number of teams are increasingly trying to tap into the Australian talent pipeline.

Dane Pineau – Saint Mary’s College

Pineau joins the Gael’s to continue the Australian connection in Moraga, California and could quickly find a place in the rotation. The 6’9” forward out of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is the son of Brad Pineau, who played college hoops with Hawaii and professionally with the Melbourne Tigers in the National Basketball League (NBL). With an ability to score both inside and out, he averaged 11.8ppg and 9rpg at the 2013 U19 World Championships. Pineau is an energetic stretch-four player who needs to add size to his frame in order to compete against stronger players in the paint, and could be a great player given his high work ethic.

Felix von Hofe – Eastern Washington University

6’5” small forward von Hofe joins fellow Australians Daniel Hill and 2013 Big Sky Freshman of the Year Venky Jois on an Eagles team on the rise. In departing the AIS for Eastern Washington, von Hofe is touted as the most highly acclaimed incoming freshman at his school. The sweet shooting and hard-working small forward who can also play shooting guard averaged 9.4ppg at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships. He can expect to get an immediate opportunity to make his mark this coming season with the Eagles.

Nicholas Duncan – Boise State University

Duncan played an important role for Australia at the 2013 U19 World Championships, averaging 9.8ppg and 5.8rpg. Like Pineau, Duncan has range to beyond the three-point line (55%3PT). Unlike Pineau, he has strength and size to play well above his 6’7” frame, and one could argue that he is really an undersized center. Duncan joins fellow Australians Anthony Drmic, Igor Hadziomerovic and Assistant Coach John Rillie on a Broncos squad that will be vying for not only the Mountain West Conference title, but a return to the NCAA tournament. Duncan will find it tough to crack the rotation in his freshman season, but may benefit from the fact the team does not have a genuine center on its roster.

Michael Rowley – University at Albany

Rowley joins fellow Australians Luke Devlin, Peter Hooley and older brother Sam as Great Danes for season 2013/14. The 6’8” power forward played a role in coming off the bench at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships in averaging 4.2ppg and 2.4rpg. Rowley who has a high basketball IQ is also very versatile and can slide across to play on smaller forwards if required. Rowley could very quickly find his way ahead of Devlin in the rotation, and will enjoy the opportunity to play in the same team as his brother in the America East conference with a chance to challenge for the conference championship.

Joshua Oswald – Miami (OH) University

Oswald who is an athletic 6’7” forward played a limited role at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships, averaging 1.8 points and 2 rebounds in just over 7 minutes per game. In being recruited by the Redhawks, Coach John Cooper is quoted as hoping to ‘open up doors’ to talent Down Under, as evidenced with fellow Australian Jaryd Eustace joining Oswald on the roster for this season. With good size as a swingman, Oswald possesses a reliable stroke that should immediately address the Redhawk’s current deficiency whilst also providing some much needed rebounding.

Darcy Malone – Louisiana State University

Needing to add size to their roster, Tigers Assistant Coach and fellow Australian David Patrick helped secure the services 7’0” Malone who last represented Australia at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championships in winning a silver medal. Malone has the size that the Australian U19 team lacked at the 2013 FIBA World Championships; however his non-selection was arguably due to his raw skillset which now has a chance to blossom in Baton Rouge. With the physical attributes to become a very good center, Malone turned down offers to play Australian Rules football (AFL) to instead pursue his basketball career.

Cade Towers – Nicholls State University

After two years at the AIS, Towers most recently was training as part of the Brisbane Spartans squad in the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) ahead of joining Nicholls State. With the addition of 6’9” forward Towers and fellow big man Liam Thomas as freshmen, the Colonels increase their Australian contingent to a staggering six alongside red-shirt freshman Piers Carroll and sophomores Lachlan Prest, Sam McBeath and transfer Alex Overs. The Colonels are looking forward to welcoming Towers and hope to use his experience and skillset to bolster their front court which was lacking size. Like Thomas, he is likely to see immediate action this season.

Liam Thomas – Nicholls State University

Like Towers, the 6’10” power forward bolsters what was looking like a very short front court prior to committing to the Colonels. Thomas attended the same high school where fellow team member and countryman Piers Carroll also prepped. He was instrumental in leading Central Private High School to its first ever Mississippi Association of Independent Schools title in averaging 14.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 9.1 blocks per game as a senior. As the tallest member of the team, he, like Towers could expect to see immediate action throughout 2012/13 and will most likely be asked to play as the starting centre.

Dougall Weir – University of Hartford

Standing at 6'9", Weir who plays center was part of Australia's U19 FIBA World Championships squad but did not make the final team. He has international experience after playing in the Albert Schweitzer tournament and four nations tournament in China this year. The former rugby player adds size to a relatively short Hawks roster and may be called on to provide a role in coming off the bench this season. Able to score and rebound, Weir joins fellow Australians Corban Wroe and Taylor Dyson with the Hawk's who play in the America East conference.

Jack Lopez – University of Montana

Like Weir, Lopez was one of the last men cut from Australia's U19 World Championship team and brings to the Grizzlies international experience and athleticism. The 6'5" sweet shooting swingman joins a young team that needs leadership. Coach Tinkle on Weir: "He has a ton of international experience, so he will add great maturity to our team even though he is a true freshman." Lopez can expect to hit the court early in the season and if he performs well, could cement a place in the regular rotation coming off the bench.

Bosko Kostur – Bryant University

Kostur follows in the footsteps of older brother Dejan who graduated from Idaho State University this past season and joins fellow Australians Claybrin McMath, Corey Maynard and Declan Soukup on the Bulldogs roster. The 6’7” swingman prepared ahead of his impending collegiate career at the Andrew Bogut Basketball Academy in Melbourne and has previously represented Australia at the 2012 Albert Schweitzer Tournament where he averaged 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds per game in finishing in 9th place. With a great work ethic as demonstrated in playing for McKinnon in the Big V competition this past season, Kostur needs to add size and strength to his frame to be able to improve his game and work his way into the rotation this coming season.

Marley Biyendolo – Pepperdine University

Biyendolo attended the Andrew Bogut Basketball Academy alongside Kostur, and the 6’3” combo guard further increases the Australian flavour within the West Coast Conference. As a good athlete with a natural ability to score, Biyendolo possesses an ability to create his own shot and has a good mid-range game. He helps usher in a changing of the guard with the Waves, and could well be expected to play a key role in 2013/14.

Jaryd Eustace – Miami (OH) University

After spending the past year at Impact Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, Eustace joins fellow Australian Oswald on the Redhawks roster and the creation of what may be a new Australian college connection. The 6’7” shooting guard has good handles for his size and a sweet stroke from well beyond the arc. With a good feel for the game and has an ability to find the open man, Eustace has an opportunity to make an immediate impression for his new team.

We are always looking to update our records on Australians playing NCAA Division 1 basketball in the United States. Please contact the author directly to advise of any additions or changes.