Canisius College head men's basketball coach Tom Parrotta announced today that Marial Dhal (Kampala, Uganda) has committed to become a member of the Golden Griffin men's basketball program. He spent the previous two seasons at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla. Dhal has two seasons of eligibility left and will start wearing the Blue and Gold for the upcoming 2010-11 campaign.
At 7-foot-3, Dhal will be the tallest player in program history and he holds the distinction of being the first 7-footer for the Griffs since Mike Smrek graduated from the College in 1985. He originally signed to play at the University of Houston last November, but was let out of that commitment to the Cougars when head coach Tom Penders stepped down in late March.
"Marial is someone who can change a game for obvious reasons," Parrotta said. "At 7-foot-3, he'll provide us with a versatility defensively that not a lot of teams enjoy. He can run and rebound effectively and it will be our job to catch his offensive game up to his defensive game. More importantly, he is absolutely one of the most genuine people I have ever met."
Dhal played two seasons at Hillsborough Community College and wrapped up the 2009-10 season ranked fifth nationally at the NJCAA level in blocks per game with 5.1 per contest. In 26 games last season, he averaged 3.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 65 percent from the free-throw line en route to being named second-team All-Suncoast Conference. A product of Our Savior New America School outside New York City, Dahl originally chose Houston over LSU, Florida, South Florida and Nevada.
Dhal will join Chris Manhertz (Bronx, N.Y.) and Ashton Khan (Scarborough, Ont.), who signed their National Letters of Intent to play for the Griffs, starting in the 2010-11 season. Canisius will return four starters and eight letterwinners to next year's roster, and the program will also gain the services of Gaby Belardo (San Juan, Puerto Rico), a transfer from South Florida who sat out the 2009-10 season in accordance with NCAA regulations. Canisius went 15-17 overall and 8-10 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play in 2009-10, with the 15 wins standing as the most for the team since the 2000-01 season.