Tough break for Leopards

Lafayette standout to transfer; Lehigh adds Canadian prep

Sophomore forward Jamaal Douglas, arguably Lafayette's best player, or at least the one with the biggest potential upside, is leaving school, according to Corky Blake in today's Express-Times.

Douglas came on big down the stretch for the Leopards. He was a key factor in Lafayette's late season upset of archrival Lehigh. A week later, he was Lafayette's only legitimate offensive threat in the blowout first round tournament loss at Bucknell.

We only saw Lafayette three times this season, but Corky covered the 'Pards on a regular basis, and he confirms our take on Douglas:
Over the second half of Lafayette's 9-19 season Douglas emerged as the Leopards' top player. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound power forward was second on the team in scoring at 9.9 ppg and led the team and the Patriot League in rebounding (7.0 rpg).
Douglas, of Miami, Fla., started 24 of 28 games and averaged 26.3 minutes. He produced 18 points and 17 rebounds in a 90-80 win over Navy and had a career-high 20 points in an 89-69 loss to Bucknell.
That 20-point showing was in the regular season game in Easton, by the way. In the tournament game we mentioned, Douglas scored 12 points, but that was almost double the next highest Lafayette scorer, Marcus Harley (7).

Nothing in Blake's story gives any clue why Douglas is leaving. He is a long way from home, maybe he is just homesick. Or maybe he sees the futility of Lafayette's non-scholarship situation and is seeking greener pastures. It could be anything, so no fair speculating.

Nonetheless, it is a major blow to Fran O'Hanlon's hopes of returning the Leopards to the upper division of the league.

In the same story, Blake updates the Lafayette recruiting situation. O'Hanlon has signed two more players, meaning six new faces will join the roster next season. Of course anybody still available at this late date is likely to be a project, not an immediate impact type player. It is hard to imagine Lafayette's situation being improved a whole lot by the addition of six freshmen in the short term, especially given the loss of Douglas.

Meanwhile, Blake also notes Lehigh's addition of Greg Page, a 6-5 kid from Canada who had been at Vanier College in Canada after being All-Montreal as a high school player. By the way, Vanier is not a "college" in the U.S. sense of the word. It is actually a "pre-university" program. In other words, a prep school.

Page posted some diary entries on the Canadian Web site last season.

Admittedly, the Patriot League is not usually thought of as a refuge for the type players who need post-high school prep work to get into college. In the U.S., post-graduate prep schooling is usually reserved for kids who otherwise might lose a year of eligibility to Prop. 16 (the successor to Pprop 48). Since we have no real knowledge of how things work in Canada, we will assume Page is a legitimate outstanding scholar-athlete in the Patriot League spirit and tradition, though we admit Lehigh's past history could make some folks skeptical.

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