Novian Cherry was an extremely interesting junior college recruit to follow.
Cherry, who’s 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, was ranked as one of the top JUCO recruits in the 2015 class. Per 247Sports, he was a 3-star. He was also ranked as the top JUCO small forward in the nation.
Originally from San Diego, Calif. (Morse High School), Cherry ended up at San Diego Mesa college to play basketball for the Olympians. While a freshman for San Diego Mesa, he led the team in points with 21.9, free throws with 6.7-8.6 and three pointers per game with 1.2-5.6 He also stood out as a sophomore for the Olympians, leading the team in points with 17.5 and three pointers per game with 2.6.
Cherry’s play, which included a San Deigo Mesa school record of 49 points as a freshman, earned him offers from the likes of Washington State, Western Kentucky, Northern Colorado, Cal Fullerton, Fairfield, Bowling Green, Detroit, UTEP and Albany. In fact, at one point he was committed to Western Kentucky, and some big-time programs such as Iowa and Maryland also showed him some interest. Without a doubt, he was a JUCO player who was making some noise.
Flash forward to the here and now and Cherry has finally gotten out of the JUCO ranks. He’s at Savannah State and is looking forward to his junior season. This time, though, he’s going to be a Division I basketball player.
“Been going good. We’ve been getting after it,” Cherry told Today’s U when asked how things have been going so far with him and the Tigers. “We want to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) then play in the tournament. Our team is looking nice. A lot of new faces.”
While the Tigers goal as a whole is to make it to March Madness, Cherry tells Today’s U that he also has a few things on his personal checklist.
“First team all-conference and newcomer of the year,” he said when asked what personal goals he has for the season. That’s not all, though.
“I would like to get Player of the Year ultimately,” Cherry explained. “We’re in a conference where it can happen.”
Those are some lofty goals for the one-time JUCO star, and they come with a price. Cherry relays that he’s been putting in a lot of work to accomplish those goals, so at the very least he’s walking the walk while he talks the talk.
“500 makes a night,” Cherry said when asked what he’s doing in an effort to reach his goals this season. “Working on my conditioning, individual workouts, working on my handles and also studying a lot of film.”
Cherry has been watching Bradley Beal of the NBA’s Washington Wizards in an effort to model his game after the former Florida Gator. Beal averaged 17.2 points per game last season for the Wizards, so there are certainly worse role models to have.
Savannah State kicks off the season on November 3rd against Armstrong State University in an exhibition. The Tigers officially open things up on November 13th against Florida National University.
Notable opponents on Savannah State’s schedule include Oregon, Baylor, South Florida, Utah and Missouri, so there’s a chance you could end up seeing Cherry and his team in action sometime soon.