For most of the non-conference season, Joel Angus III looked like another under-the-radar graduate student find for Joe Mihalich. Angus averaged 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds over 25.6 minutes in his first nine games while providing a steadying presence at power forward for the Flying Dutchmen, who got off to a 6-3 start.
“I remember thinking, hey, he looks so slow out there,” Joe Mihalich said this week. “And I was even getting (on) him some times. ‘You’re too slow! Move faster!’ And he couldn’t. It wasn’t his fault.”
Instead, it was a chronically bad hip — the same injury that limited Angus to just one game in his senior season at Southeast Missouri State last year — that brought Angus’ college career to a gradual and earlier-than-anticipated close.
Angus played just 12 more games, during which he averaged 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds, before being shut down for good earlier this month. He will participate in Senior Day activities this afternoon, when the Dutchmen host Towson, but his basketball career is over.
“I’m just going to move on,” said Angus, who added he might want to pursue a coaching career at some point.
Angus, who played at a pair of New York community colleges before transferring to Southeast Missouri State in 2015, played just 51 games in his Division I career — not enough to stop wondering what if, but enough to take solace in what he was able to do despite his hip injuries. He averaged 10.5 points and 5.9 rebounds while starting all 29 games for Southeast Missouri State in 2015-16.
“There’s certain things you can control, there’s certain things you can’t control,” Angus said. “I’m content with what I’ve done so far in basketball, what I’ve done with basketball, and just the relationships and stuff I’ve built. I’ve worked hard, I got a lot of characteristics from basketball. Basketball’s helped me get a couple degrees. I can’t complain.”
Angus, who is pursuing a master’s in marketing after graduating with a finance degree from Southeast Missouri State, continues to attend practice and travel with the Dutchmen, who will head to Charleston next weekend looking to win their first CAA Tournament and reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.
The vantage point is bittersweet for Angus, who believes he’s watching a team peak at the right time.
“I feel like we’ve gained a lot of momentum,” Angus said after practice Tuesday. “We had a really good practice and it’s coming from the players. It’s not the coaches telling us to come on. You can tell the team’s grown.”
And if the growth manifests itself in a championship?
“It would mean everything to me, for real, just to be a part of something big like that,” Angus said. “That would be huge for me, just to see how hard these guys continue to work and grow. I would be extremely happy for them.”