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Future Bright for URI Rams Despite NCAA Tournament Loss

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That’s all she wrote. The back-page cover closes on a historic and memorable University of Rhode Island men’s basketball season. The Rams fell to the Duke University Blue Devils 87-62 in the second round of the NCAA tournament, ending their season.

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Emotions were high following the conclusion of the game as the careers of five Rhode Island seniors came to an end. A tip of the cap to E.C. Matthews, Jared Terrell, Jarvis Garrett, Stanford Robinson and Andre Berry. This group of Rhody seniors is one for the record books.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the locker room following the game. Assistant coaches, players, staff, Dan Hurley, everyone were upset. The impact that this senior group had on the program, the underclassmen, fanbase and each other is special.

The unique part about these seniors is they have seen the highs and the lows. They’ve seen two trips to the round of 32 but that’s not what they were recruited on. They were recruited on the vision of getting there. They were recruited on a dream and they made it a reality.

In many ways the program was dead before the arrival of these seniors. That is not the case anymore.

With the seniors graduating, the program will continue to move forward with players like Fatts Russell, Jeff Dowtin and Cyril Langevine at the core. In a way it is a win-win for Rhode Island hoop fans. They got to see one of the best senior classes in program history play in back-to-back NCAA tournaments all while the underclassmen got the experience in playing with them.

The torch has been passed. Rhode Island will now fall on the likes of Dowtin, Russell and Langevine to lead the way. However, with quite possibly the greatest recruiting class in the program’s history itching to get to Kingston, those sophomores and juniors will get some help.

This is what it’s like when a team becomes a program. Now there are standards and expectations. Before the Hurley era and revival in Kingston, anything post-season seemed to be gravy for URI. Now, it’s what fans sit at the table for. Fans expect to see Rhode Island basketball on their bracket come March. They should get used to seeing it there.

There is a culture that student athletes have bought into. Creating this was no easy task but Hurley managed to do so. Questions will circle throughout the course of the offseason about the future. Hurley’s name and resume have become a hot commodity for high-level programs in America. Here’s the truth, whether Dan Hurley is the head coach of the Rhode Island Rams next season or not this program is in great hands. So much so that it is going to take an awful lot for Hurley to leave URI.

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Rhode Island, thanks in part to the 2017-18 senior class, has become nationally relevant. The young guys now become the veterans. They are hanging up their dancing shoes for now, just to be dusted off come next March. As an exciting and historic season comes to a finish, the future is bright for Rhode Island men’s basketball