PRINCESS ANNE -- Rob Chavez, the new basketball coach at UMES, announced that he has recruited six new players for the coming season, including Mike Smith, a 6-foot-6 forward from Baltimore's St. Frances.
Chavez was hired in mid-June to reverse a program that has had one winning season in the past 19. When he arrived at UMES, only one returnee, sophomore guard Mike Arnold, was academically eligible, but five seniors are in good standing following summer school.
Chavez spent the past five seasons at Chemeketa Junior College in Salem, Ore., and he brought from there Duray Thirdgill, a 6-6 sophomore forward. Aaron McKinney, a freshman guard, is another Oregon native.
Two other backcourt prospects will come in from junior colleges. Zack Allison is a 6-3 junior from Salt Lake City Junior College, and Dale Harrison, a native of Omaha, Neb., played at West Hills College in Coalinga, Calif.
Corey Snowden is a 6-8 freshman from Somerset, N.J.
"It's difficult to find impact players in June and July," Chavez said, "but I think we got some guys who can help us right away. We feel fortunate to get Smith, who has very solid academic credentials. He got a lot of interest from mid-majors, and we're lucky he was still available."
The Hawks, who were last in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference last season under Bob Hopkins and Bob Wilkerson, open Dec. 1 at St. Peter's. They're at Maryland on Dec. 7 and Georgetown on Dec. 12, and in between they play Salisbury State, a Division III team they lost to last season.