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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rider freshman forward Lacey James leaves team

Lacey James has left the team, Rider announced Thursday. (John Blaine Photo)

Rider's shorthanded roster shrunk a little bit more.

Freshman Lacey James has left the program, effective immediately, to pursue other college opportunities, head coach Kevin Baggett announced on Thursday.

James, a 6-9 forward from Michigan, had played sparingly, appearing in just 12 games. His departure leaves Rider with 10 available players -- only 8 who are in the regular rotation -- and just one frontcourt player (6-7 junior Kahlil Thomas).

"(Lacey) wanted an opportunity to go elsewhere and play a little bit more," Baggett said following the 102-100 double-overtime victory against Marist on Thursday night. "Being a freshman, we had some guys ahead of him. It was tough. He's got to find where home is for him."

The Broncs have already lost center Kenny Grant (knee) and guard Anthony Durham (foot) for the season due to injury.

Grant hasn't been with the team since its victory over Hartford on Dec. 30 and Baggett said he's at home recovering from surgery while school is out of session.

"He's just kind of got his leg up," Baggett said. "He had reconstruction of his knee. Hopefully, we get him back and get him healthy."

James is the second member of Baggett's most recent recruiting class to leave the program. Gemil Holbrook parted ways with the team prior to the season.

James' departure does give Rider more scholarship flexibility. Three players -- Khalil Alford, Zedric Sadler and Shawn Valentine -- graduate at the end of the year, and while Teddy Okereafor has already graduated, he is out of eligibility.

Baggett has already signed three players for next season. Set to join the Broncs are guards Jordan Allen, Stevie Jordan and Xzavier Malone.

Because of the lack of frontcout depth, expect Rider to target a big man in recruiting. Baggett could also look through the transfer market. He's had success bringing in transfer players like Okereafor (VCU), Matt Lopez (Utah State) and Anthony D'Orazio (Lehigh).


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