Transfer duo anxious to contribute to program

YOUNGSTOWN — Christian Bentley and Tyler Foster took their tours around the Youngstown State University campus, seeing the continuous construction and other entities around the downtown-based school.

The golf carts containing them, their family and an assistant coach make their way to the Beeghly Center. They meet with the coaches, current players and see the playing surface. They’ve heard the pitch from coach Jerrod Calhoun and his staff and players.

Both are sold. YSU is their new home as they signed to play for the Penguins.

Bentley is a 6-foot-3 guard from Brampton, Ontario, Canada. He comes from Iowa Western Community College, where he averaged 12 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Bentley spent his first year at Siena, playing in 29 games, making 11 starts. He shot 46.5 percent from the floor and made 50 percent from 3-point range.

Bentley, a social work major, had offers from Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne, Jacksonville State, St. Peter’s, Idaho and others. He’s not your usual junior-college transfer.

“Siena helped me realized what I wanted for myself basketball-wise and how I would have to prepare at this level to get the things I wanted,” he said.

Foster, a 6-foot-5 guard from Baltimore, transferred from East Carolina. He made 30 appearances with the Pirates and made six starts with 27 steals, 4.1 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.

These two join Jamir Thomas in the 2019-20 recruiting class. YSU has two scholarships remaining.

Foster had offers from Eastern Michigan, Elon and Maryland-Baltimore County, the school which upset Virginia in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, marking the first time a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1.

He has to sit out this upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules, but has three years of eligibility remaining.

Foster, who is leaning toward a business major, found an instant bond with the coaching staff, thinking YSU’s style of play is his best fit — something he didn’t feel at East Carolina.

Transition, rebound, pushing tempo, making passes to teammates, playing in an open court. Those are the things Foster excels at doing.

He’ll spend next season honing his skills and learning the YSU style of play.

“I want to work on myself, put more weight on, work on all my skills so I can come in as strong as I can the next season,” said the 190-pound guard.

Bentley, too, is an unselfish player, likes to get his teammates involved in the offense. He’s hoping this move from Iowa to YSU gives his family a better chance to see him play since it’s about four-and-a-half hours away from Brampton.

“I’m good in ball screens and that will open up a lot for a team to be successful,” Bentley said. “I’m more than excited to get to YSU and build a winning culture with this coaching staff and my new teammates.”

Foster shares Bentley’s goals as well.

“I want to be the best player I can be, the best teammate I can be,” Foster said. “I want to win the conference, go to the tournament, win some tournament games — take it game-by-game.”