Dunleavy pumps fresh blood into men’s basketball

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Dunleavy pumps fresh blood into men’s basketball

Redshirt junior guard Malik Morgan goes up for a lay up against a Southern Methodist University Mustang in a 60-45 loss this past season. 

Redshirt junior guard Malik Morgan goes up for a lay up against a Southern Methodist University Mustang in a 60-45 loss this past season. 

Redshirt junior guard Malik Morgan goes up for a lay up against a Southern Methodist University Mustang in a 60-45 loss this past season. 

Redshirt junior guard Malik Morgan goes up for a lay up against a Southern Methodist University Mustang in a 60-45 loss this past season. 

Susan Fanelli, Staff Reporter

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The season may have ended in March for Tulane men’s basketball, but for new head coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr., his most important task is still ahead of him.

With the upcoming year looming and the departure of several key players on last year’s team, recruiting the new faces of the basketball team will be no small task for the former Los Angeles Clippers coach. Dunleavy will not only be responsible for next year’s recruits, but for welcoming the new rising freshman headed to Tulane in the fall and finding players that can remain for the long-term.

“…For the most part, you’re looking to build a long-term base and trying to find the players that you think will be successful long-term in the kind of system we want to run,” Dunleavy said. “It’s kind of a little bit of both…we’ve had some real opportunities of players at higher programs that want to transfer here.”

In November, before Tulane Athletics terminated former head coach Ed Conroy at the end of the season after the American Conference Championships in March, he signed three players for the 2016-17 season: Colin Slater, Maxwell Starwood and Justin Moore. As of May 9, Slater still remains signed to the program. Dunleavy confirmed Starwood would not be attending Tulane in the fall and Moore announced via his Twitter page on May 3 that he would be reopening his recruitment.

“It’s totally fluid; as you go along, it’s like dating,” Dunleavy said. “Sometimes you fall in love the first day and then you have your heart broken, and other times it’s a potential long-term relationship and you never know how it’s going to work.”

Colin Slater, a New Orleans native, left Louisiana for Fresno, California when he was seven years old to escape the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina. He and his family settled in the California valley, where he led his Immanuel High School team to a 30-3 record as junior. As a sophomore and a junior, Slater helped his team to back-to-back section and league championships as well as a spot in the Elite Eight. Slater was named First Team All-State by California Interscholastic Federation and Cal Hi-Sports and received the Central Suburban League conference MVP in his junior year.

“Colin is a leader on and off the floor; he is a competitor in every aspect of the game,” Conroy said. “His winning mentality allows him to adjust to the game in numerous ways and score and lead his team. Colin is originally from New Orleans and is looking forward to being back amongst family and friends.”

Dunleavy talked about filling the gaps in the roster left by transferring and graduated students, as well as looking at the best players who can fill those offensive and defensive holes.

“As we go forward, we’re trying to recruit the best players we can recruit, and like I said, we’re able to talk to some fairly high level players,” Dunleavy said. “[I] feel good about it right now, but we’ve got to play out the full time up until next November when they can sign.”

It will be a long process for Dunleavy to prepare for the new season, but inspiration comes in all forms.

Dunleavy cited two of the schools associated with two of his sons; Duke, where his son Mike led his team to a national championship in 2001 and Villanova, where his other son Baker won a national championship this year as an assistant coach. Dunleavy expressed a desire to model Tulane men’s basketball after these schools and raise the team to greatness.

“I feel like Tulane is a hidden gem; it has a chance to be like those programs,” Dunleavy said. “Smaller schools, great campus [and] good academics. It kind of has that same feel.”