When it came to David Sloan, the East Tennessee State basketball team kind of sold itself in the recruiting process.
Sloan, a 6-foot point guard, spent last year at Kansas State, but he paid attention to some ETSU games because his former junior college teammate Vonnie Patterson was on the team.
“What I liked about the team from last year was the freedom that they play with,” Sloan said. “Everybody wanted everybody else to shine. It was just a big family and that’s something that I wanted to be a part of. Just the camaraderie that everybody had with each other, it looked like they had a lot of fun.”
When Sloan decided to leave Kansas State, several schools showed initial interest. Then it was down to three — ETSU, Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. When Cincinnati filled its last spot with a transfer from Michigan, Sloan had to choose between two.
He called ETSU coach Steve Forbes with the news. Sloan took the Bucs’ final scholarship and completed the recruiting class.
“I just told him one day that I committed,” Sloan said. “I told him I want to join the family and he was saying he was the happiest coach in the world.”
At Kansas State, Sloan averaged 5.3 points and 2.4 assists per game while playing 19 minutes a game. He sees himself as a pass-first point guard who can also score.
“Just making sure everybody else gets the ball, score when I have to,” he said when asked how he sees himself fitting in with the Bucs. “Basically have the same role I had when I played at John A. Logan.”
At John A. Logan College in Carterville, Illinois, Sloan averaged 16.1 points and 10.2 assists one season. He was one of three players in all of college basketball to do that. The others were former first-round draft pick Ja Morant or Murray State and Suffolk State’s Steven Tynes, another junior college player.
“It was definitely a blessing to be one of the three out of the whole country,” said Sloan, who added that he models his game after his three favorite NBA players, Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving and D’Angelo Russell.
What swayed his decision toward ETSU?
“The coaching staff,” he said. “All the coaches called. They just showed me that they really wanted me there. They were telling me I was the last piece that they needed. What I wanted in my recruitment was a school that wanted me for what I can do on the basketball court.”
The Bucs’ fast-paced, up-and-down playing style didn’t hurt, either.
“That attracted me a lot,” he said. “It reminded me of how we played at John A. Logan.”
Sloan, who was coming off a broken wrist suffered during open gym going into last season, hopes to be eligible to play during the coming season. He’ll be a senior and would have to sit out a year under current NCAA transfer rules.
Forbes seems confident that Sloan and Ty Brewer, ETSU’s other non-graduated transfer, will benefit from a rule change that would allow players a one-time free transfer. The NCAA is expected to vote on that proposal sometime in late May.
“I’m prepared for both,” Sloan said.