Crutchfield rebuilds Omaha roster in impressive fashion


Mitchell Cutcher

Chris Crutchfield pictured during his introductory press conference. Crutchfield has already been busy putting together next year’s roster. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

A lot has changed since the end of the 2021-22 season for the Omaha men’s basketball program.

Chris Crutchfield has taken over as head coach, three players have graduated and moved on and five total players have since entered the transfer portal. However, Crutchfield and his staff have wasted no time revamping the Omaha roster.

Omaha has added two high school commitments and three transfers.

​Sam’i Roe, Darrius Hughes and Devin Evans joining Nick Ferrarini and Felix Lemetti in the transfer portal opened the door for some new faces in Omaha next year. Luke Jungers and Tony Osburn have signed on to play at Omaha next season.

Osburn is a guard from Mound City, Misssouri, and scored 3,000 points in his high school career, while Jungers is a 6-foot-9 player from Omaha.

Crutchfield was quick to react to the names entering the transfer portal and identify players both at the high school and college levels. He’s wasted no time adding to the roster. The first commitment the new Omaha coach gained was Kennedy Brown, who marked a change in the type of players the new coaching staff is targeting.

Brown is a 6-foot-8 forward who can play multiple positions and provide versatility to the Omaha roster.

​Crutchfield followed that up by adding two other names from the portal in Jaeden Marshall and Shemar Smith. Marshall is a 6-foot-4 guard who shot 39% from behind the arc last season at Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana.

“We really think highly of Jaeden,” Crutchfield said of Marshall, who was the first recruit signed under the new Omaha head coach. “He will bring a level of skill and athleticism to our program right away. Jaeden is a big, strong guard that has the ability to hit the three and attack the basket. We are excited to coach him for the next three years.”

Smith offers more length to the Omaha roster. Standing at 6-foot-7, he will offer versatility to the roster with the ability to play guard or forward positions.

​The Omaha staff has also gained commitments from a pair of 2022 high school players from Minnesota, which is an area the staff has clearly made a priority to recruit thus far. Ja’Sean Glover was the first high school player to commit to Coach Crutchfield. Glover is a 6-foot-4 guard who, like Osburn, scored 3,000 points in his high school career.

The other commitment came from Jamal Ambrose, who is a 6-foot-10 forward with the ability to knock down shots from deep. Ambrose will join the program in the fall as a true freshman.

“We are excited to add Jamal to the Maverick family,” said Crutchfield. “We needed size and he gives us that and even more. Jamal is a skilled and mobile forward with a center’s body. Coach Brown did a great job of locking in on Jamal and building a relationship with him. He is a great student, and Omaha is going to love him.”

​As the offseason continues to progress, college basketball rosters across the nation will change, and Omaha may be one of the schools to benefit most. As the landscape of collegiate sports begins to reshape with the transfer portal and NIL deals, Crutchfield and his new staff have proved they can manage those changes.