Women's basketball to have a big recruiting class next year

By: Matthew Revels, Sports Editor

Newman’s women’s basketball program had a strong showing this season and finished with the team’s first-ever trip to the MIAA conference tournament.

Head coach Drew Johnson now says he is excited for the new roster being put together that he says will make an “immediate impact” for the team. But that new roster could be larger than expected because several members of this year's team have entered the transfer portal, declaring their desire to play at a different school.

Johnson said that it’s not final yet how many players will enter the transfer portal, and he added that those decisions should remain private.

“As far as players and their intentions for next season, each of those are individual decisions that have many layers,” he said. “As a staff, we do not comment on those decisions out of the respect for the players personally and the time and effort they have put into the program here at Newman.”

Regardless of who will be leaving, Johnnson said, he’s happy about who will be playing next year.

“I am extremely excited about the roster that is being put together for next season,” he said “Our goal is to build off the success from this season to continue to climb in the conference standings.”

Athletic Director Joanna Pryor said that the transfer portal is“really a double-edged sword” for both schools and players.

“In one way it serves as a way for coaches to find recruits, and in another way, it is an easy way for a student-athlete to leave a school,” Pryor said.

Assistant Athletic Director Maureen Rohleder said she tries to counsel players who tell her they plan to enter the transfer portal.

“First and foremost, when someone comes in and wants to transfer, I ask them, ‘Have you talked to your coach?’” Rohleder said. “Second, I send them a video that the NCAA made and it talks them through the details. You could lose your scholarship for the next year. You're giving up your spot, and you may not be able to play right away at your next school.”

Pryor and Rohleder said athletes also should be sure they understand how their scholarships work.

“When you sign, you get your scholarship from August to May,” Rohleder said. “Even if an athlete quits and knows they are in the transfer portal, they can keep their scholarship until May. Once you are in the portal and May comes around, you no longer have your scholarship for the following year.”

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Newman Athletics