A basketball going through one of the hoops at Island Federal Arena. The Stony Brook men’s basketball team recently gained two more transfers for next season. SARA RUBERG/STATESMAN FILE

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team would like to remove the sour taste of its worst season in 13 years, a season that ended by blowing a 16-point second-half lead in the opening round of the America East playoffs against an opponent the team had displayed historic dominance against.

Judging by their offseason transactions, the Seawolves are going all in to secure the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 2016. Days after Elijah Olaniyi announced his decision to transfer back to Stony Brook after a season in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) with Miami, the Seawolves’ roster gained even more starpower with another pair of transfers.

Jahlil Jenkins, a guard formerly of the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights, announced on Thursday, April 8 via Instagram that he had committed to Stony Brook. Jenkins was Fairleigh Dickinson’s leading scorer during each of the last two seasons, averaging 16.0 and 16.8 points per game in 2019-20 and 2020-21, respectively. Throughout four years with the Knights he scored 1,698 points, fourth-most in program history.

We are thrilled to add a player with Jahlil’s skill set to our team,” head coach Geno Ford said in a press release. “He has had an unbelievable run at FDU. We feel he can come in and give our team a real boost. He can impact the game in a variety of ways, and he has had a real knack for playing well in huge games. He is simply a winner and will be a welcome addition to the program.”

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Jenkins’ 477 career assists rank second all-time at Fairleigh Dickinson. His career average of 4.0 assists per game has not been matched by a Stony Brook player in a single season since Lucas Woodhouse averaged 5.1 during the 2016-17 campaign. The Knights’ starting point guard throughout his entire collegiate career, he also shot upwards of 38% from three-point range in both the last two seasons. 

Jenkins and Olaniyi add the consistent outside threats that the Seawolves were sorely missing last season — their 29.6% rate from beyond the arc ranked 327th in the nation.  

“Huge pickup for Geno Ford & The Brook,” Stadium basketball analyst Jeff Goodman commented on Twitter.

Anthony Roberts announced his commitment to Stony Brook on April 3. The 6’4 guard transferred from St. Bonaventure, having played just three games before exiting the program due to personal reasons. Roberts transferred to the Bonnies after playing two seasons at Kent State. During his sophomore year, he started 19 of 30 contests and averaged 12.7 points per game while shooting 36% on threes.

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“We are super-excited to add Anthony,” Ford said. “He is an electric talent with a lot of offensive ability. We expect that he will be a very productive player on both ends, but he certainly has some gifts for scoring the ball at all three levels. He is a veteran guy, who has been a part of two winning teams. So it should be a pretty easy transition for him to be a part of our program.”

These additions solidify Stony Brook’s backcourt as one of the strongest in the America East. The team is also currently expected to return Juan Felix Rodriguez and Tykei Greene for their senior seasons. Last year’s starters, Rodriguez was the Seawolves’ leading scorer, three-point shooter and distributor while Greene was strong on the boards, especially as a guard.

In Ford’s third year of a five-year contract, flashy offseason acquisitions have set high expectations for next year’s season. It remains to be seen how these pieces will play with each other, but on paper the Seawolves should easily recover from a disappointing season and restore the program’s consistency as a perennial threat in the America East.

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