Mules basketball had six players transfer in this season from three different levels.
Four players came in from Division I programs and the Mules got one player each from the junior college level and Division II level.
Senior point guard D’Marnier Cunningham enters his final season after averaging 2.8 points and 1.7 assists per game at Memphis.
“It’s a lot different coming from Memphis,” he said. “Just game style and players and things like that, but there’s a lot of good players on this team.”
Cunningham is a 5-foot-9 point guard who said he’s excited the plan is to play up-tempo this season.
“We want to play fast and that’s really my strong suit playing fast,” he said. “I’m not really a slow point guard and things like that. I’m not really a slow player at all.”
Being one of 12 newcomers on the team, Cunningham said they are still working on playing well as a unit.
“All of us bump heads from time to time, but we’re a team,” he said. “… The camaraderie of the team is building.”
Another newcomer is Division II transfer Spencer Reaves, who started all but one game at North Greenville last season as a freshman. He played high school ball in Newark, Arkansas.
“I got closer to home and just know that UCM has a winning tradition, won the national championship a couple years ago, and that’s something I want to be a part of,” Reaves said.
Reaves led the Crusaders with nearly 17 points per game and made 89-of-209 from beyond the arc. He also made 90 percent of his free throws.
“He’s really been vocal and has done a lot of little things well as well as playing well,” said Mules head coach Doug Karleskint. “He’s a heck of a shooter and I really like what we’re seeing out of him. We’ve got to keep him healthy. I think he’s going to be a really good player for us.”
Even though Reaves comes from a fellow Division II school, he said there’s a lot of adjustments he’s having to make.
“The defensive principles from the school this year and the one I was at last year are completely different,” he said. “The one I played last year was more laid back. This one is more in your face, get out in gaps, deny, passing lanes and rotating. It’s a lot different.”
But just like Cunningham, Reaves said he likes to play up-tempo.
“It’s fun, it’s fast,” he said. “It’s something I didn’t experience last year and I’m glad I’m getting to do it this year. I’m just hoping we all come together and win a lot of games.”
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.