Men’s Basketball Adds Talented Quintet for 2022-23 Season

Head Coach Jerrod Calhoun (Photo by Robert Hayes)
Head Coach Jerrod Calhoun (Photo by Robert Hayes)

The Youngstown State men's basketball team has signed four transfers and a prep school standout to join the Penguins for the 2022-23 season, Head Coach Jerrod Calhoun announced.

Joining Youngstown State are 6-foot-7 senior forward Malek Green, 6-foot-7 freshman forward John Lovelace, Jr., 6-foot-2 senior guard Bryce McBride, 6-foot-8 senior forward Adrian Nelson, and 6-foot-3 junior guard Brandon Rush.

"I'm extremely excited about this year's recruiting class," Calhoun said. "This class is a deep, talented, and versatile group that has a great mix of experience and youth. Our staff is ecstatic about the combination of our incoming class meshing with our returning players to continue building the positive momentum for our program.

"Both our staff and players did a tremendous job making each of our recruits feel very comfortable throughout the entire process. Lastly, the group that we have signed are all high character individuals who will be great representatives of our program on and off the court."

Green, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native and transfer from Canisius, averaged 10.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game and shot 50 percent from the field for the Golden Griffins in 2021-22. In 2020-21, he was honored as the MAAC's Sixth Player of the Year - making him the second player in school history to earn that award, and earned All-MAAC Third-Team honors after he led the team in scoring and rebounds per game. Green averaged 13.2 points per game, which ranked 10th in the league.

"We are really excited about Malek," Calhoun said. "Malek really fits what we look for in our forwards. He has a great combination of size, skill, and athleticism that will translate to our program. Malek can play both on the perimeter and in the post and has proven to be an all-conference caliber player at our level. Most importantly, Malek is an extremely mature individual who excels in the classroom and will be a great leader in our locker room."

Lovelace, Jr., is from Milwaukee, Wis., and spent last season at We Are United Prep after playing his high school ball at Brown Deer High School. At We Are United, Lovelace averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game.

"John is a talented, versatile wing player with great size and athleticism," Calhoun said. "He will have the ability to play multiple positions in our system. He comes to us from a great prep program where he has been coached to play the game the right way. We believe that John will have an outstanding career in a Penguin uniform and can't wait to watch him grow in our program."

McBride, from Jackson, Tenn., spent the last two seasons at Eastern Michigan where he played in 42 games with 25 starts. Last season, he averaged 11.6 points per game and had 13 games scoring in double digits. In 2020-21, he appeared in all 18 games, making 15 starts and ranked second on the team with 13.7 points per game and played 31.8 minutes per contest. He also earned NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention in 2019-20 at Dyersburg State Junior College, was named to the First Team All-TJCCAA and ranked eighth among junior college players averaging 24.2 points per game. He spent his freshman season at Motlow State Junior College.

"Bryce is a dynamic, combo guard who can play with or without the ball in his hands," Calhoun said. "Bryce has the ability to score at all three levels of offense but really thrives making plays off the bounce and in transition. He is a proven Division I player who had impressive numbers at his previous stops. Bryce will be asked to do a lot for our team and we know his game will translate well to our system."

Nelson, a native of Pickerington, Ohio, spent the last four seasons at Horizon League member Northern Kentucky and appeared in 114 games with the Norse. Last season, he averaged 6.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and shot 58.4 percent from the floor. He finished second in NKU annals in career field goal percentage (.638), fifth in defensive rebounds (463), sixth in overall rebounds (731) and eighth in offensive rebounds (268). His best season with the Norse came in 2020-21 when he posted a near double-double with 8.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

"AD is a guy that our staff has had an incredible amount of respect for throughout his career," Calhoun said. "He is extremely proven inside the Horizon League and has NCAA tournament pedigree. Simply put, AD is a winner! He is another guy with great size, skill, and athleticism that is perfect for the way we use our forwards. He is as impressive a person as he is a player and will thrive in our program."

Rush, who is a native of Warrensville, Ohio, spent the last three seasons at Fairleigh Dickinson and led the Knights in scoring last year with 14.2 points per game. He scored in double figures 19 times including a season-high 36 points against Wagner on Feb. 24, 2022. As a sophomore in 2020-21, Rush ranked second on the team with 14.3 points per game and shot 48 percent from the floor. Rush has also made 118 career 3-pointers in three seasons at FDU.

"Brandon is a versatile, athletic scoring wing with good size and length," Calhoun said. "Throughout my time as a head coach we have had a lot of success with Cleveland guys. He plays the game with a toughness that will elevate our program. Brandon has proven that he can score the ball at a high level and in a variety of ways. We are really excited about Brandon's future in our program!"