Wright State head coach Scott Nagy celebrates their 74-57 win against Cleveland State after an NCAA basketball game in the Horizon League tournament championship in Detroit, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Photo: Paul Sancya
Photo: Paul Sancya

WSU coach confident Northwestern transfer a good fit

Wright State University men’s basketball coach Scott Nagy doesn’t yet know how transfer Jordan Ash will impact his team on the court, though he’s optimistic about the former Northwestern player.

But Nagy doesn’t have to get Ash in a Raiders uniform to know he’ll be able to bolster the already solid culture in the program.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard was a team captain as a senior for the Big Ten school in 2018-19. His season was cut short by a quad injury, enabling him to take a medical redshirt year and be immediately eligible at Wright State as a graduate transfer.

“He’s got a high level of maturity,” nagy said. “He’s passionate about basketball. He’s just a good fit for us — not just because he’s a good player, but because of the kind of person he is.”

Ash, who reportedly picked the Raiders over Valparaiso and Northern Illinois, was a first-team Class 3A all-state selection for St. Joseph’s (Ill.) High School and was ranked in the 247Sports composite rankings as the 39th-best point-guard prospect in the nation. He chose Northwestern over scholarship offers from Purdue, DePaul, Xavier and Boston College.

He made six starts for the Wildcats and appeared in 88 games overall over four years. His career high is 11 points.

“Where he’s going to be able to make the biggest impact is defensively,” Nagy said. “He’s got good size, incredible strength and good speed. He’s been taught well.”

The Raiders’ recruiting efforts were dealt a blow last month when Noah Freidel, who averaged 22.8 points and 8.4 rebounds for Tea Area High School in South Dakota, asked out of his letter-of-intent and signed with South Dakota State.

The 6-4 guard, who led his team to its second state title in three years as a senior last season, cited trepidation about attending college so far from home as his reason for changing schools.

South Dakota State had an unexpected roster opening when a three-star recruit decommitted following coach T.J. Otzelberger’s departure for UNLV. Assistant Eric Henderson replaced Otzelberger.

“I wasn’t happy about it because we spent a lot of time recruiting him,” Nagy said.

“It’s a different day and age. In the fall, they weren’t interested in him at all. They spent zero time on him, and that’s where he ends up going. So that’s a little bit of a frustration.”

Nagy led the Raiders to the Horizon League regular-season title and their first NIT berth despite being short-handed. Sophomore wing Jaylon Hall (shoulder) and freshman post Grant Basile (ankle) were both sidelined after undergoing surgery.

In the offseason, guard Malachi Smith, who made the league’s all-freshman team, announced he was transferring.

But there’s good news on the injury front.

“Jaylon is just about full go,” Nagy said. “Once we come back in the summer, I think he’ll be turned loose.

“The last I saw of Grant, he was running and looks good. He’s not limping. He’s a little farther behind than Jaylon, but, hopefully, this summer we’ll have him at full speed.”

Nagy, though, is determined not to get caught again with a limited bench. The Raiders are still shopping for more recruits.

“We have two scholarships left. And I hope by the end of the week, they’ll both be taken up.”

• Baseball: For the second season in a row, the Raiders will play at Fifth Third Field, home of the Dayton Dragons. They’ll host Northern Kentucky at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is free for the Mother’s Day event, but tickets are required to attend. The game will have the fan-friendly environment of a typical Dragons outing. For info, see daytondragons.com/raiderday.

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