GOSHEN — It’s been three years since the Goshen College men’s basketball program has had a winning season. Head coach Jon Tropf hopes the eight players he’s bringing in for the 2019-20 season changes that.
“This is a chance to build something special for the next couple of years,” Tropf said. “I really believe that we have that culture established, we invested in our relationships and the results will come.”
Two local kids, West Noble’s Takota Weigold and Trevor Franklin, are part of the class. They’re the first local kids to be on Goshen’s roster since 2016.
Here’s a look at the other six members of Tropf’s 2019-20 recruiting class.
The name that’ll create the most buzz is Tahj Curry, who was a member of the 2015 Fort Wayne Homestead High School team that won an IHSAA Class 4A state championship. Curry scored more than 1,000 points in his high school career, including a team-high 23 points in the state championship game, and graduated as the winningest player in program history.
Curry committed to Ohio Dominican, a Division-II program in Columbus, Ohio, following his high school career. He redshirted his first season before playing the past two years. He played in 28 games, starting 21 of them, and averaged 9.8 points per game for the Panthers in 2018-19. Ohio Dominican made the NCAA Division-II tournament for the first time in program history in 2017-18.
“Tahj is a proven player and winner. To get a kid who’s from a state champion Homestead team, been on a national tournament team at the Division-II level and played a lot there — I think he’s a difference maker from day one,” Tropf said.
Curry has two years of eligibility left, giving the Maple Leafs a piece to build around for not just 2019-20, but 2020-21 as well.
“Getting a guy like Tahj is enormous. He’s an Indiana guy, won at an Indiana level. He’s been through it at the Division-II level. It’s huge,” Tropf said. “More than anything, he brings credibility because he’s earned it. When he calls a player out, they’re going to have to listen because he’s proven he can win and be a leader while doing it.”
Another Indiana native, Monix played 79 varsity games for Lowell High School over the past four years. The 6-5 guard averaged 8.7 points per game his senior campaign and is someone Tropf thinks could become an impact player in the future.
“Because he’s coming in as a freshman, I think he has a potential to be a really good player in this league,” Tropf said. “He needs to continue to work hard. He can’t let up. He’s going to have some eye-openings, but I think he’s going to be pretty good.”
Newnum averaged 19.3 points per game his senior year at Parke Heritage High School in Rockville. Tropf said the 6-0, 180-pound point guard would’ve been recruited more had it not been for an injury a summer ago.
“Another high-character kid that can really shoot it. He’s a guy that would’ve been more recruited had he not got hurt, but he got hurt last summer and impacted his AAU ability,” Tropf said.
A 2016 graduate of Andrean High School, Flowers missed nearly two years of his college career due to injuries. He played the 2018-19 season with Olive-Harvey College in Chicago, averaging three points and one assist. His off-the-court attitude is what Tropf noticed most with Flowers.
“He kind of comes in with a chip on his shoulder. What sold me on him is he’s tremendous, character wise,” Tropf said. “I think Colin will be a great leader for us at the guard position. He works so hard off the court. Whatever Colin’s ceiling is, he’s going to get there.”
Bowers will be on his third roster in four years. He originally attended Ranger College in Ranger, Texas, where he played one season under former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie. He then transferred to Northeast State University, a Division-II program in Oklahoma. He averaged nearly eight points per game last season for the RiverHawks.
“If you can survive Billy Gillispie and come away thinking you became a better player and person for him — that’s an intense program that produces a lot of high-level players, and Michael’s going to bring that edginess to us,” Tropf said.
Hughes is a 6-7 forward from Marysville, Ohio with a 6-10 wingspan. Stats from his senior year at Marysville High School were unavailable, but he averaged 6.4 points per game as a junior in 2017-18.
“He needs to develop his frame a little bit. He’s a little skinny, but he knows that and he’s been working really hard at it,” Tropf said. “He’s put on 25 pounds this summer already. I think he’s a guy that can have an instant impact for us, on the defensive end particularly.”
Austin Hough can be reached at email@example.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 325. Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinHoughTGN