Men’s basketball’s four transfers are new to the team, but most of them know what it’s like to play under head coach Jamion Christian.
Vanderbilt graduate student forward Matt Moyer, Mount St. Mary’s graduate student guard Brandon Leftwich, LSU sophomore guard James Bishop and Maryland junior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. joined the program. Christian said the new additions, three of whom he previously recruited or coached at other schools, will provide depth and fill in gaps at the point position and on inside and perimeter defense.
“We always want to build with our recruiting classes and we want to add in with transfers,” Christian said. “I thought we were able to do that. We added in some guys with things that we didn’t have on our roster, and we’ve been able to do that, especially with Matthew and James.”
GW will be Moyer’s third college basketball program. He started his career at Syracuse before moving to Vanderbilt after two seasons with the Orange. Moyer played in 56 games in two seasons during his time as a Commodore and averaged 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds a game.
Despite Moyer’s designation as a forward, Christian said Moyer will be the squad’s Swiss Army knife, playing “just about every position,” adding that he’ll look to find ways to keep him on the court.
“We know that’s going to make our defense better,” Christian said. “Then his playmaking ability is so unique with his ability to get to the front of the rim. We definitely know he’ll make an impact on our team and give us something we haven’t had here in my time and maybe hadn’t had in a long time as a head coach.”
Bishop played 16 games in his freshman year at LSU and averaged 3.1 points a contest. He hit 39 percent of his shots on the year, including seven from long range. The team hopes to give him a large role in the three-point shooting game, Christian said.
“Bishop is a tremendous outside scorer, playmaker and a great teammate,” Christian said. “He’s a guy that the guys love being around. He’s definitely a guy that can be a floor general and be a really dynamic player for us.”
Bishop, who was originally destined to sit out the 2020-21 season, was granted a transfer waiver in September that makes him immediate eligibility to play this season.
“I was just filled with excitement,” Bishop said. “I mean, with these things it’s kind of a 50/50 chance that you might get it. To find out that I got it, I’m just excited to be able to play this season and get out there with these guys.”
Despite the complications presented by the pandemic, Bishop, a Baltimore-native, said he has adjusted well to his new surroundings. He joins eight other Colonials on the 16-man roster who call the DMV home.
“I’m kind of close to home, so it’s not that much of an adjustment,” Bishop said. “It’s been really easy to adjust with the coaching staff and the players. They made it easy and helped me adapt to the culture here.”
Leftwich was a manager at Mount St. Mary’s under Christian for the 2016-17 season before joining the team as a walk-on his sophomore year. He earned a scholarship at the conclusion of the season. He averaged 10.9 minutes, three points, 0.8 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game.
Christian said Leftwich knows his offensive and defensive systems inside and out and can provide depth at the point guard role throughout the season.
“He has probably the most experience in our system, playing in it under me, learning it under us at the Mount and playing in it under Dan Engelstad at the Mount,” Christian said.
Lindo Jr. rounds out the squad’s transfer class. Christian said he’d been trying to recruit Lindo Jr., who averaged 12.3 minutes, 1.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game at Maryland, since he was 15 years old.
He will sit on the sidelines this season per NCAA transfer rules but will be up and running to hit the court next year. He added that Lindo will use this season to develop and grow his skillset without the pressure to produce results on the court.
“We’ve got a great canvas because he’s 6 foot, 8 inches, super athletic and he can do some things that we all on this call wish we can do,” Christian said. “It gives us a chance to really get him in the development system and work on different parts of his game without any pressure.”
The transfers have also spent some time acclimating to Christian’s ‘mayhem’ style defensive system, which emphasizes speed and aggressive play. Despite the adjustment, Moyer said he is excited to add another facet to his game.
“I’ve never really pressed much in my career, but I just think with our personnel and especially more particular to me as far as my game – my length, versatility, speed – it fits our playstyle,” Moyer said. “It’s going to allow us to get up and down, get myself and Jameer [Nelson Jr.] some easy dunks and layups.”
Moyer and Bishop said they are continuing to build chemistry with the team during the offseason and are focusing on staying physically and mentally fit. They’ll look to be explosive on the court when the season starts, they added.
“Coach is just a big guy on being present in the moment, trying to attack the moment, or just kind of what James said, just trying to stay in shape,” Moyer said. “We rep it out a lot. I think we’re going to be ready by the time the season starts to get out there and really create some mayhem.”