Enoch Cheeks had a lot of improvement as a sophomore this past season. Could he end up being the best player for Robert Morris Basketball in 2022-23?
There were lots of disappointments for Robert Morris Basketball this past season, finishing with a record of 8-24 and 5-16 in Horizon League play. But from an individual standpoint, there was a solid surprise in Enoch Cheeks, a 6’3 sophomore guard that became a full-time starter and an effective contributor.
The Colonials added eight transfers a year ago, seven from the DI level. And some of them were double-digit scoring guards such as Rasheem Dunn and Ferron Flavors Jr., who along with another transfer in Michael Green and returning guard Kam Farris was supposed to create a formidable backcourt for the team. And on paper, that could’ve put Cheeks on the bench, with little playing time. That’s certainly what I said in the projected rotation for the 2021-22 roster; here’s what I said about the sophomore.
Enoch Cheeks started four games last season and averaged 15.0 mpg, including four games of double-digit scoring. However, the addition of all these transfer guards puts his spot in question. The 6’3 guard isn’t much of a shooter so playing him alongside Dunn would be an issue. Injuries or ineffectiveness of the transfers could open doors but at least Robert Morris can rely on him on the court if it comes to it.
I had to eat my words on the very first game, as Cheeks not only started against the UCF Knights on the opening game but was also Robert Morris’ best player, going for 12 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. He had a rough stretch in the non-conference but after going for 11 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, the 6’3 guard became a consistent offensive contributor for Horizon League play.
On a team that dealt with injuries, covid issues, and roster departures, Cheeks was the second-most consistent player on the team next to leading scorer and rebounder Kahliel Spear. The guard was tied for third in scoring (9.2 ppg), second in rebounding (5.4 rpg) and second in assists (2.6 apg), while also blocking a shot a game. He’s a very good athlete and defender and was the “glue guy” for Robert Morris.
Cheeks usually gave around 7-13 points in a given game but the potential is there for him to be an even bigger part of the offense. His best game yet came at the end against Cleveland State, going for a career-high 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the Horizon League Conference Tournament. That game was close for a while but the Colonials’ season ended. But the hope is that Cheeks’ efforts can turn into a great source of momentum in the offseason where those 21 points becomes more of the norm instead of a rarity.
With Spear and starting point guard Green back, Cheeks has the chance to become the go-to perimeter option next season. Robert Morris has added five transfers, including three wings and a center, as well as three freshmen newcomers. If any of them can breakout to become double-digit contributors, that’ll make things even better for the Colonials next year.
But the key could very well be how much Cheeks develops coming into his junior season. He showed an all-around game that made him a starter and a leader, the next step could be on an All-Horizon League team.