Habwe Heads To Stony Brook

Habwe Heads To Stony Brook

LEXINGTON’S OMAR Habwe dribbles down the court during a game for Mount St. Mary’s University. Habwe is transferring to Stony Brook University for his final collegiate basketball season. (Mount St. Mary’s photo by David Sinclair)

Lexington Native Excited About New Hoops Journey

Lexington native Omar Habwe, a Division I basketball player, signed with Stony Brook University in New York last Wednesday as a graduate transfer from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland.

Habwe, 21, said in a phone interview on Saturday that he’s transferring because it’s “a new opportunity for me.” Habwe, a liberal studies major, noted that he is preparing to enter graduate school and likes what Stony Brook has to offer. He added that Stony Brook head coach Geno Ford “was very energetic. He really knew my game from the get-go.” Habwe has not met Ford in-person and hasn’t been to the school for a visit, but has spoken with Ford on the phone, and the head coach and his assistants went to the transfer portal to get Habwe’s stats.

In a press release sent out last Wednesday, Ford said Habwe “is a fantastic addition to our program. He has size, athleticism and skill that will make us better. … He will bring that mature, veteran locker room presence that championship teams have, and we are excited to have him on board.”

A 6-foot-6-inch, 225-pound forward, Habwe appeared in 90 games during his three years at Mount St. Mary’s, starting in 26 games. Habwe averaged 19 minutes a game during his career for the Mountaineers. After a successful sophomore season, his minutes went down his junior season, but he was an efficient scorer, averaging 6.3 points per game and shooting 39.7 percent from the field and 34.1 percent (30-of-88) from 3-point range.

Habwe scored in double figures five times this past winter, with a season-high of 17 points, and averaged 3.3 rebounds per game, with a season-high of nine rebounds and a career-high of 17 boards as a sophomore. The Mountaineers had an overall record this season of 11-21 and a Northeast Conference record of 7-11. The Mountaineers’ season concluded with a 61-59 loss to Sacred Heart in the MEC quarterfinals on March 4, about two weeks before the decision was made to end the college basketball season early due to the coronavirus.

For the 2019-20 season, Stony Brook had an overall record of 20-13 and an American East Conference record of 10-6.

The Seawolves ended the season with a 64-58 loss to Hartford in the conference semifinals. At Stony Brook, Habwe joins a promising pair of experienced perimeter forwards in Andrew Garcia and Mouhamadou Gueye.

Habwe will conclude the spring semester at Mount St. Mary’s taking online classes, and he has two more classes to take this summer in order to graduate. He hopes to do an internship in broadcast marketing this year as well, possibly involving professional sports teams, and he noted that the schedule depends on when the coronavirus will allow for games to resume.

Habwe keeps in touch with his family back in Lexington and came back to visit last week. His mother is Rebecca Richmond, and his stepfather is Dana Richmond. Habwe’s younger brother, Jaden Richmond, is a sophomore at Rockbridge County High School who doesn’t play basketball but is a lineman for the varsity football team.

Although he only enrolled at RCHS for his freshman year, 2013-14, Habwe learned a lot from RCHS head basketball coach Darrell Plogger. Habwe played junior varsity basketball for RCHS when he was an eighth-grader at Lylburn Downing Middle School, and he became a versatile player for the Wildcats. As a freshman, Habwe averaged 16.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. “Mostly it was a big stepping point, learning how to just move and be mobile,” Habwe said of his time at RCHS.

After his freshman year, Habwe transferred to Saint James School, an Episcopal boarding school in Hagerstown, Md., where he was a three-year starter. He finished with 1,158 career points in high school, eighth all-time at Saint James.

Habwe said he feels the Maryland school prepared him well for college.

Habwe said his strengths are being “very versatile on the floor. I can guard any position that you put me in.” He is also a strong rebounder and shooter, inside and outside.

While he is not practicing with teammates during the coronavirus pandemic, Habwe has a basketball court where he practices on his own, and he’s been running and doing other cardio exercise to stay healthy.

Looking forward to playing for the Seawolves, Habwe said, “I’m excited. My family is excited. I’m a high-energy guy. I’m just ready to get up there and start this new journey.”