Early Oct. 26, former Mountaineer shooting guard Ronshad Shabazz was selected No. 13 overall in the NBA G League Draft by the College Park Skyhawks, the G League affiliate of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
To me, this is one of the first signs that App State men’s basketball is headed in the right direction. While Shabazz’s success is nothing new to App State fans after he was named to All-Sun Belt rosters three times during his college career, the Mountaineers haven’t had a lot of success on the professional level, and this is an important first step toward that goal.
It’s also looking up closer to home. First-year head coach Dustin Kerns brings a winning mentality to the mountain, and has experience helping programs rebound from down seasons. In two years at Presbyterian College, Kerns got the Blue Hose from a 6-25 record in 2016, the year before his arrival, to winning 20 games in 2018, including a 9-7 conference record.
Kerns has key pieces to work with, too. Senior forward Isaac Johnson was selected as the Sun Belt’s best rebounder in preseason polls. Junior guard Justin Forrest was second on the team in scoring and assists last season and led the team in steals with 37. They also have an array of young talent, including sophomore Adrian Delph and freshmen Kendall Lewis and RJ Wilson. They even added local talent in freshman and former Watauga guard Bryant Greene.
While they may not hang any banners at the end of this season, I think something is starting to stir for App State men’s basketball. One thing, to me, is certain: their future will be brighter than their past.