Over the last few years of UB Bulls basketball, fans in Buffalo have gotten used to seeing a few transfers on their team. In 2013, needing to smooth out a scholarship imbalance while also wanting to build his own team, Bobby Hurley quickly secured the services of two transfers in Josh Freelove and Justin Moss, both significant contributors in last year's 19-win season.
But it's been an earlier transfer from the Witherspoon days who has been more of a bellwether for UB teams since his arrival and will be more important to the success of the 2014-15 Bulls than anyone Hurley has in two years brought in.
Consider this: Will Regan hit double-digit scoring 16 times last season. In those games, Buffalo was 13-3. Under ten for the Buffalo native and the Bulls were just 6-7. With UB losing 57% of its 2013-14 scoring to graduation, Regan's scoring role becomes even more critical than last year.
Many general basketball fans in western New York will be glad to see Regan on a team that needs him and can give him the opportunity to succeed. After a standout high school career at The Nichols School that saw Regan become just the seventh junior to ever win The Buffalo News Player of the Year honors, win the award again his senior year, lead his team to the 2010 NYS Class A Federation Championship, and earn Class A NYS Player of the Year honors, the star headed to the ACC and the Virginia Cavaliers.
Regan saw very little playing time in his freshman year and decided to transfer closer to home, settling on UB over Niagara, Canisius, and other schools. After his transfer year, Will immediately stepped in as a big contributor as a redshirt sophomore. That ten point stat I had up above? Two years ago, a 14-20 Buffalo team was 8-10 when Regan hit ten points and 6-10 when he didn't.
Regan has missed just two starts in two years with the Bulls, one of them being last year's Senior Night, and is a good bet to start every game this year, assuming good health. In the senior the Bulls have a true '4' who is more than willing and able to stretch the floor and take shots from beyond the arc, though for his prowess there his season high in 2013-14 was just three made triples.
You might be surprised to hear that Regan's first career double-double didn't come until he went 25 and 10 against Kent State last January. He just never seems to have both a strong rebounding and strong scoring day at the same time. And that may not be something to force for the Bulls: Regan is the team's top returning scorer and rebounder, but finding points to replace McCrea et al is probably the focus: between freshmen, now-eligible transfers, and immediately-eligible transfers, Hurley has three newcomers taller than Javon McCrea to clean up the glass.
Nonetheless, Regan will likely be neck-and-neck with sophomore Shannon Evans for the team scoring lead while also pulling down a half-dozen or so boards, and as one of just two seniors, will certainly be one of the emotional leaders on a team that, while not very young, has a ton of new faces and looks to move past the departure of their all-time leading scorer.