UMass notebook: Josh Cohen (Arkansas), Robert Davis Jr. (Old Dominion) have new homes as transfer portal remains busy

Massachusetts' Josh Cohen (23) heads to the basket as Saint Louis' Bradley Ezewiro, left, and Larry Hughes II (2) defend earlier this season in St. Louis.

Massachusetts' Josh Cohen (23) heads to the basket as Saint Louis' Bradley Ezewiro, left, and Larry Hughes II (2) defend earlier this season in St. Louis. AP

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 04-02-2024 4:48 PM

AMHERST — Two former UMass men’s basketball players have already found new homes after announcing they would be entering the transfer portal in mid-March.

Josh Cohen told On3Sports last week that he would be joining Arkansas for the upcoming men’s basketball season – using his final year of eligibility.

After earning Northeastern Conference Player of the Year honors two seasons ago at Saint Francis and leading UMass to its best season in a decade en route to First Team All-Atlantic 10 honors, Cohen will now try his hand in the SEC. He’s improved his stock year in and year out, and following perhaps his most impressive campaign – where he averaged 16 points and seven rebounds for the Minutemen – several Power 6 schools came knocking.

Arkansas was just one of the many programs eyeing the big man from Lincroft, New Jersey. Penn State, Xavier and Notre Dame were also in the mix to land Cohen. He eventually narrowed his list down to the Razorbacks and Fighting Irish before choosing Arkansas.

The 6-foot-10, 220-pound forward was praised by UMass head coach Frank Martin on several occasions. Martin said the Minutemen wouldn’t have come close to having the year they did if it weren’t for Cohen’s skill and leadership.

Now, UMass has a hole to fill in its frontcourt position, and may have another one as the program still awaits a decision from forward Matt Cross.

Elsewhere, Robert Davis Jr. also committed to a new team after announcing his decision to transfer on March 18 before quickly deciding on Old Dominion on March 22. The rising sophomore, who averaged 4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game in maroon and white as a freshman, posted “1000 percent committed” with a picture in an Old Dominion uniform.

Keon Thompson, the only other UMass scholarship player to enter the transfer portal as of this week, has yet to decide where he will be spending his junior season next year.

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On the women’s side, UMass leading scorer Kristin Williams announced on her Twitter/X that she would be joining Coastal Carolina for her senior year – saying, “Taking y’all to THE BEACH,” with pictures of her in a Coastal Carolina uniform surrounded by her family and new coaches as well.

Williams led the Minutewomen with 11.6 points per game last year, including 19 games of 10 or more points.

UMass football announces new assistant coach

On Tuesday morning, the UMass football team announced Steven Daniels Jr. as the program’s new defensive line coach. Daniels Jr. was a linebacker at Boston College from 2012-16 and served as a defensive analyst on the UMass staff last season.

During the 2023 campaign, Daniels Jr.’s primary focus was coaching the Sam linebackers, coordinating drill work during each practice session as well as communicating with each member of the defense every day. In addition, Daniels Jr. assisted in player development and played a role in recruiting and retaining student-athletes.

In 2022, Daniels Jr. was the Director of Defensive Recruiting at Boston College, where he would coordinate official visits and travel to set up recruiting boards for recruits primarily in the mid-west area of the United States. He also served as the Inside Linebackers Coach at Bryant University before joining Boston College’s staff.

During his playing days, Daniels Jr. led the Eagles defense in 2016 in all statistical categories and received the Bulgar Lowe award for New England’s best Division 1 player in 2015. He was voted First Team All-ACC in 2015 and earned his bachelor’s degree in communications in 2018. 

Daniels Jr. was selected in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Washington, and also played inside linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.