Rafael Maia transfers to Pitt

The transfers keep leaving.

This time, it’s Brown senior forward Rafael Maia, who now joins Pittsburgh as a graduate transfer for the 2015-16 season. In his final campaign for the Bears in 2014-15, the Sao Paulo, Brazil native led the Ivy League in rebounding and field-goal percentage while providing the Bears one of the best post presences in the entire league.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Maia chose Pitt over Nebraska and USC, and that Maia is the second graduate transfer addition for the Panthers this offseason.

Like Shonn Miller, Alex Mitola and Denton Koon upon their graduate transfers, Maia is immediately eligible.

Maia seemed to pick up his game in league play after then-leading scorer Leland King left the team just two contests into the conference slate, shaking off a December slump in which he scored just 13 points in a four-game stretch. Maia takes smart shots and can post up with the best of them, as he showed with solid efforts against Northwestern and Illinois in nonconference play.

ALL FOOLS’ DAY: Brown basketball budget to be used on hockey team

Athletic director Jack Hayes announced Wednesday that Brown, which has easily totaled the lowest amount of basketball expenses among all Ivies since 2004 according to Office of Postsecondary Education statistics, will transfer the remaining monies in its basketball budget to the budget for its men’s hockey team.

“Hockey rules at Brown, inasmuch as it rules at all,” Hayes said in a statement. “I just wanted to be transparent for once about where our institutional support really lies.”

The basketball team will raise funds going forward by pooling together lunch money taken from the players by coach Mike Martin.

Leland King leaves Brown basketball … now what?

Leland King led or was tied for the team lead in points and rebounds as just a sophomore this season. (nbcsports.com)
Leland King led or was tied for the team lead in points and rebounds as just a sophomore this season. (nbcsports.com)

Brown Athletics announced today that the team’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Leland King, has decided to leave the program for personal reasons.

The news is very unexpected with Brown just two games into Ivy League play (both losses, making Brown the only Ivy with two losses thus far).

And now that King is gone, so are his 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, a huge blow for a team that has already struggled on both offense (worst assist-turnover ratio in the conference) and defense (worst scoring defense in the conference) this season.

King had missed Brown’s last two road games, including the Bears’ 69-65 loss at Yale Saturday, a game in which senior forward Rafael Maia and sophomore guards Steven Spieth and Tavon Blackmon combined for 50 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in King’s absence.

Senior guard Zeve Sanderson left the team earlier this team as well, and highly touted freshmen Aram Martin and Matty Madigan also left the program after their freshman campaigns in 2013-14.

Why is Brown basketball down?

Tavon Blackmon is averaging 7.4 points and 2.9 assists this season, (providencejournal.com)
Tavon Blackmon is averaging 7.4 points and 2.9 assists this season. (providencejournal.com)

So what’s up with Brown?

The Bears have always been a solid defensive unit under coach Mike Martin. They boast a frontcourt that features two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah and fellow defensive stalwart Rafa Maia. Sophomore guard Steven Spieth also came into this season with a bit of a reputation as a strong backcourt defender as well.

And yet the Bears also have what is comfortably the worst defense in the conference statistically at this early stage of the season. They can’t defend in transition at all.

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Brown’s defense shows up as expected

Brown is who we thought they were! At least so far.

The Bears’ season-opening 70-58 win over St. Peter’s confirms preseason impressions of Brown – this team can really play defense. Brown held the Peacocks to just 36.1 shooting from the field and two-time reigning Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah registered three more blocks along with an impressive 15-point performance marked by surprisingly effective perimeter shooting on occasion. Rafa Maia notched seven rebounds as well to go along with 13 points.

Most importantly, Tavon Blackmon controlled the pace of the game from the point for Brown, posting 18 points on 4-for-7 shooting, once again proving a legitimate threat from beyond the arc and especially the charity stripe, where he drilled all eight of his free throws. Blackmon is just a steady player who gets it done, and the Bears’ season is off to a solid start. I maintain the Bears are poised to surprise this season.

Brown Roster Preview – 2014-15 Edition

I’m bullish on the Bears.

Yes, All-Everything Sean McGonagill is gone, and so is his ball distribution, three-point shooting, offensive potency from anywhere on the court and, well, everything! But the Bears will be better than last year because they’ll be more well-rounded in 2014-15 from inside out, the single-most underrated team in the Ivy League.

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