ALBANY – Muneer Newton wasn’t sure the call was going to come.
After two years of playing college basketball at the NAIA level for William Penn College in Iowa, Newton made the decision to transfer, hoping for an NCAA Division I offer.
At first, it didn’t materialize.
“I wasn’t really getting any Division I looks out of the transfer portal,” Newton said. “A lot of D-II and NAIA, but my goal was to go Division I.”
Finally, Newton got a call from head coach Dwayne Killings’ staff at UAlbany, and it didn’t take long for the Philadelphia native to know that purple and gold were his ideal future colors.
“All I can say is, it’s God’s timing,” Newton said earlier this week, after he’d announced his commitment to transfer to UAlbany. “I’m super excited. I put doubt in my mind at first, like, ‘Do I deserve this?’ It was a bunch of mixed emotions, because it was such a long time coming, but I’m so completely grateful.”
An explosive 6-foot-6, 210-pound forward, Newton comes to UAlbany with two years of eligibility remaining.
In his first season at William Penn, he played a pure bench role, averaging 3.2 points and 3.9 rebounds in 10 minutes per game. This past season, he started all 34 games for a team that went 30-4, putting up 10.9 points and 8.2 rebounds in 23.4 minutes per game while shooting 61.6% of the field.
An aggressive offensive rebounder — he pulled down 3.4 boards per game on the offensive glass last season — Newton described himself as a “trash man” on the court.
“I do the stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet,” he said.
Newton is Killings’ fifth transfer commitment this offseason in what’s been a complete overhaul of a roster that went 8-23 and missed out on the America East playoffs last season. The Great Danes have also added guards Sebastian Thomas (Rhode Island), Gianmarco Arletti (Delaware), Tyler Bertram (Binghamton) and Amar’e Marshall (Hofstra) through the transfer portal.
The Great Danes are only set to return three players who saw significant minutes a season ago — forward and reigning America East Rookie of the Year Jonathan Beagle, who opted to return to the Great Danes after initially putting his name into the transfer portal, along with guard Marcus Jackson and wing Aaron Reddish.
UAlbany will also get back 2021-22 America East Rookie of the Year Justin Neely and guards Ny’Mire Little and Will Amica, all of whom had last season cut severely short by injury. Killings’ incoming freshman class consists of Maryland guard Zane Adnan and Massachusetts forward Jack Margoupis, with Shaker High School guard Zach Matulu set to join as a preferred walk-on.
Four players from last season’s team — leading scorer Gerald Drumgoole Jr., as well as Malik Edmead, Japannah Kellogg and Tairi Ketner — have exited via the transfer portal, along with the losses of Da’Kquan Davis, Trey Hutcheson and Sarju Patel to graduation.
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Shinder.