NEC First Look: Saint Francis U.

Gone:

Earl Brown (F) – All-NEC first teamer last season. Career-high 15.9 ppg to go along with his 8.0 rpg. Started every game for last two seasons for Red Flash.

Dominique Major (G) – 4.7 ppg last season. Shot a career-low 29.7% from the field. Played in 31 of 32 games.

Stephon Whyatt (G) – 2.7 ppg last season in 23 games played. Averaged just under 11 minutes per game.

Ollie Jackson (G) – Started in 31 of 32 games last season. Averaged 7.6 points and 1.3 assists. Shot 38.9% from three.

Michael Clark (F) – Played in 12 games as a freshman. Scored six points and grabbed six rebounds the entire season. Transferred.

Additions:

Scott Meredith (G)
Isiah Blackmon (G)
Josh Nebo (F)
Jammal King (G)
Ifeanyi Umezurike (C)

Pluses:

The Red Flash finished with a .500 record both overall and in the NEC last season. It was their first non-losing record overall since 2004-05 (15-13) and in the NEC since 2009-10 (9-9). Head coach Rob Krimmel has guided the Red Flash in the NEC tournament in each of the last two seasons and their 5-seed last season was their highest seeding since 2004-05.

Saint Francis U. has one of the best returning point guards in the NEC in Queens, NY native junior Malik Harmon. Harmon improved his shooting percentage last season to near 40 percent from the field. Harmon will likely have a bigger offensive role next season with departures of Ollie Jackson and Earl Brown. Another key returnee is senior forward Ronnie Drinnon. He saw his numbers jump last season in both scoring and rebounding even though his shooting percentage took a nosedive down to 41.8% from 52.1% the season before.

Defensively, the Red Flash finished first in the NEC in scoring defense, allowing 64.1 points per game. They finished second in points per possession allowed at 0.99, trailing only St. Francis Brooklyn. They were just one of three NEC teams last season to hold opponents to under one point per possession.

Minuses:

Rob Krimmel will need to fill in some major holes left behind by the graduations of four seniors which includes the departures of All-NEC first teamer Earl Brown and Ollie Jackson. Brown, who improved himself each season at Saint Francis, will have his loss felt most. Brown accounted for nearly 25 percent of their offense and 27.8 percent of their rebounding last season. Without Brown and Jackson, who himself started 31 of 32 games and was their second best three-point shooter last season, the Red Flash will need to find other options to get scoring and rebounding.

One thing the Red Flash were bad at last season were getting to offensive rebounds. They were 323rd in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, collecting just 25.7 percent of their misses. Opposing teams also had a fairly easy time scoring two-point baskets against the Red Flash as teams shot 50 percent from inside the three-point arc.

Potential Starting 5:

Greg Brown (G) – Averaged 8.2 points and 2.4 assists last season. Started 31 of 32 games. Shot 50.4% from the field and 38.6% from three.

Malik Harmon (G) – Averaged 9.7 points, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals last season. Started 29 of 32 games. 39.6% field goal shooter last season.

Ben Millaud-Meunier (G) – Finished sixth on the team in scoring at 5.5 points per game. Played 15.5 minutes per game coming off the bench. 34.6% shooter from three last season.

Basil Thompson (F) – Played 242 minutes last season, tops among SFU freshman. Averaged 3.1 points and 2.1 rebounds in his freshman season. Made three starts in 23 games.

Ronnie Drinnon (F) – Made 27 starts in 29 game appearances last season. Averaged 8.1 points and 7.8 rebounds. Nine games of double digits rebounds to go along with his three double-doubles last season.

Early Outlook:

Expectations were high for Saint Francis before the start of last season being that they were bringing everyone back. That is certainly not going to be the case heading into this upcoming season. Some including myself felt like the Red Flash underachieved a bit during the regular season although they did reach the NEC tournament semifinals for the second consecutive season. With some impact personnel losses, is hard not to see this team take a step back a bit this upcoming season. They should have enough juice in that lineup to get some wins and make it back to the NEC tournament once again but I think it is going to be a challenge. They are going to need big years out of Harmon and Drinnon I believe just to stay competitive and be in the mix for one of those bottom NEC tournament seeds. If any of their newcomers can bring some punch on the offensive end then they might beat early season expectations but until then, I believe somewhere between six to eight conference wins is where they will land.

The Red Flash released their complete schedule for the 2015-16 season. They begin their season at Notre Dame (Nov. 13) before opening their home schedule against Division III Westiminster (Nov. 17). Their Division I non-conference home contests include games against American (Nov. 21), Lehigh (Dec. 2), Duquesne (Dec. 12), and NJIT (Dec. 30). On the road they will face teams like Kent State (Nov. 24), Maryland (Dec. 4) and Albany (Dec. 19). They will open NEC play against Wagner (Jan. 2) and play four of their first six conference games at home. They face NEC defending champions Robert Morris twice in a two-week span (Jan. 30 & Feb. 11) and will close the season with four of their last six games on the road.

NEC First Look: Sacred Heart

This is the fourth of our NEC First Look series in which we take a early glance at all ten Northeast Conference men’s basketball teams for the 2015-16 college basketball season. Here are my first three posts on CCSUBryant and St. Francis Brooklyn.  

Gone:

Evan Kelley (G) – 13.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 45.9 FG%. Started in 31 of 32 games. All-NEC Third Team.

Phil Gaetano (G) – 5.8 ppg, 5.8 apg. 37.3 3FG%, 91.7 FT%. Started in 31 of 32 games. Led NEC in assists per game and free throw shooting.

Steve Glowiak (G) – 8.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg. 33.0 3FG%.

Vince Fritz (G) – Played in only six games. 5 total points. Transferred to Missouri Southern.

Additions:

Jermaine Ukaegbu (F)
Quincy McKnight (G)
Sean Hoehn (G)
Mario Matasovic (F) (transfer, will redshirt in ’15-’16)

Pluses:

Sacred Heart returned to the NEC tournament for the first time since 2012 and for just the second time since 2009. The Pioneers finished with an above-.500 conference record for the first time since 2010. In other words, their losing drought finally came to an end. Much of that can be credited to head coach Anthony Latina, who in year two, was able to play the style of basketball he envisioned when he took over for long-time Sacred Heart head coach Dave Bike. The Pioneers finished first in the NEC in scoring at 73.8 points per game, no other NEC team scored above 70 points per game for the season.

Latina will be looking to further Sacred Heart along in year three with the help of several key players. Number one on that list is sophomore guard Cane Broome who was the likely runner-up to RMU’s Marquise Reed for NEC Rookie of the Year honors. Broome as a freshman led Sacred Heart in scoring with 14.5 ppg and led the Pioneers in playing time. He scored in double figures in all but eight games for the Pioneers. Also returning is De’von Barrett who scored 10.8 ppg and hit on 57% of his shots. Other major contributers returning are Jordan Allen, Tevin Falzon, Filip Nowicki and Cole Walton who missed all but five games last season.

Minuses:

Sacred Heart is going to have to deal without three main players from last season in Evan Kelley, Phil Gaetano and Steve Glowiak who were all instrumental in helping Sacred Heart get back into the NEC tournament. Kelley had his best season as a Pioneer last season. If Gaetano had not played in the Jason Brickman era, he would have been considered one of the best assist man the NEC had seen in the last 20 years. Glowiak was always a treat from deep although his shooting and scoring numbers fell off for the prior season. Replacing three seniors like these will be a challenge for Latina especially I believe in the case of Phil Gaetano.

Also, as is usually the case, when a team goes more up-tempo, that also means the defense will give up points, which is what the Pioneers did. They gave up an NEC-high 74 points per game. To be fair, Sacred Heart only had -0.2 points differential average for the season which for the NEC is not at all bad.

Even though Sacred Heart finished two games under .500 overall and .500 in the NEC at 9-9, the Pioneers have not had a winning record both overall and in the NEC since the 2008-09 season where they finished 17-14 and 12-6 in the NEC. That is six straight losing seasons overall.

Potential Starting 5:

Cane Broome (G) – Great freshman season with 14.5 ppg average. Was on All-NEC Rookie Team and will not be surprised if he appears on several people’s All-NEC preseason teams this fall.

Quincy McKnight (G) – Pegging him to be starting shooting guard game one. Averaged 16.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists last season in high school. Played in 2015 Jordan Brand Classic Regional Game at Barclays Center.

De’von Barrett (F) – Followed-up All-NEC Rookie Team selection in his freshman season with a solid sophomore campaign. His numbers were consistent across the board from his freshman year.

Tevin Falzon (F) – Averaged 8.1 points and 7.6 rebounds in his 32 games (20 starts). Had two games of 18+ rebounds. Six double-doubles last season. Will be a player to watch this season.

Filip Nowicki (F/C) – 6’10” big man, who started in 10 of 29 games as a freshman. Played just over 11 minutes per game. Shot 55.1% last season.

Early Outlook:

Sacred Heart could very likely be a team to watch out for in 2015-16. They have a legit scoring threat in Cane Broome and they now have some front court players that can put up some points and get some rebounds. Their offense should once again be among the tops in the NEC once again this season. The question will once again be, can they enough defense to hold off team and get some close wins especially during NEC play.

I believe Latina has addressed some of his team drastic needs and now it will depends how soon some of the new members of the Pioneer program integrate themselves to Latina’s up-tempo system. I would not be at all surprise to see Sacred Heart make a run into the top four placings in the NEC standings next season as long as they are able to put up points they started putting up last season. Look for All-NEC type seasons from Broome, Barnett and Falzon in 2015-16.

The Pioneers will start off their non-conference season against MAAC-member Quinnipiac at the Connecticut 6 event at Central Connecticut State (Nov. 13). They will once again have another road-heavy early schedule with games at Yale (Nov. 16), UMass-Lowell (Nov. 18), Fairfield (Nov. 21) and Hartford (TBA). They will also see the top program in the state of Connecticut with a visit to UConn (Dec. 2) and will head out to Chicago for a game against former Duke star and coach Chris Collins and his Northwestern Wildcats (Dec. 21).

NEC First Look: St. Francis Brooklyn

 

This is the third of our NEC First Look series in which we take a early glance at all ten Northeast Conference men’s basketball teams for the 2015-16 college basketball season. Here are my first two posts on CCSU and Bryant

Gone:

Jalen Cannon (F) – 16.1 PPG, 10.5 RPG – NEC Player of the Year & All-NEC First Team

Brent Jones (G) – 14.1 PPG, 5.3 APG – All-NEC First Team

Lowell Ulmer (F) – 3.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 21 starts in 35 games played

Kevin Douglas (F) – 5.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 11 starts in 26 games played [Read more…]

Julian Boyd signs his first pro deal with Finnish team Porvoon Tarmo, completes comeback

Former LIU star Julian Boyd will return to the basketball court next season playing professionally in Finland after a multitude of setbacks. (Photo: Bob Dea)

This is one feel good story that would make anyone’s day. Former NEC Player of the Year and three-time NEC champion, forward Julian Boyd has completed his comeback from three ACL injuries to sign with Porvoon Tarmo in Finland.

Porvoon Tarmo is a team that plays in the Finnish First Division which actually their second-tier pro league.

The story here is of Boyd’s preservence and determination to continue his basketball career after multiple setbacks during his days at LIU which nearly ended his playing career. [Read more…]

LIU Brooklyn News and Notes

With the arrival of the dog days of summer and basketball activity picking up as we begin counting down the days towards the 2015-16 college basketball season, what better time to get caught up on some of LIU Brooklyn basketball happenings by bringing you all the first edition of the LIU Brooklyn News and Notes of the new season. [Read more…]

NEC First Look: Bryant

This is the second of our NEC First Look series in which we take a early glance at all ten Northeast Conference men’s basketball teams for the 2015-16 college basketball season. You can find our first post on CCSU here

Gone:

Dyami Starks (G) – 18.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 37.7 FG%, 34.3 3FG%, 91.3 FT%. All-NEC First Team.

Joe O’Shea (F) – 10.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg. All-NEC Third Team.

Additions:

Marcel Pettway (F)
Nisre Zouzoua (G)
Taylor McHugh (G)

Pluses:

Bryant for the third year in a row had a winning season, both overall and in the NEC last season. They also finished in the top four in the NEC standings for the third straight season, earning a 3-seed for the second straight season. They got past the first round of the NEC tournament for the first time ever when they defeated Sacred Heart at home. They were first in the NEC in scoring efficiency according to Kenpom as well as first in free throw shooting and turnover rate.

They return back second leading scorer and leading rebounder Dan Garvin who earned All-NEC second team honors. They also return leading assist man Shane McLaughlin who averaged 4.8 assists/game. Look for sophomore guard Hunter Ware to take over for the departed Dyami Starks at the two-guard spot and put up some numbers this season. Ware had four games of 16 or more points in a game in a season in which he didn’t get a single start the whole season. Also, sophomore Bosko Kostur who had a pretty good run in the second month of NEC play as he got his opportunity to play, really shined and is capable of putting up good scoring numbers especially if his three-point shot is hot.

Minuses:

One player Bryant will have a hard time replacing is Dyami Starks. Starks took nearly 500 shots last season for the Bulldogs and was their option A and B on the offensive end. They will need to find a new go-to scorer especially when it comes to crunch time. They also lose utility big man Joe O’Shea who did a little of everything for his uncle Tim O’Shea.

With the loss of Starks and O’Shea, Bryant lose two of their top three scorers from last season which equates to 43.8% of their scoring. Also, these two players played heavy minutes so the experience of the guys replacing them won’t be as vast as players from other teams who will be entering into the starting lineup this season. In fact, Bryant had four players who averages at least 31 minutes per game last season and just one other player who averaged at least 20 minutes per game (Bosko Kostur – 20.0 mpg). Some players will get their opportunities to play this season but lack of overall experience especially from their bench could be factor into how their season goes in 2015-16.

Potential Starting 5:

Shane McLaughlin (G) – Started 30 of 31 games last season. 7.5 ppg, 4.8 apg. 1.8 assists to turnover ratio.

Hunter Ware (G) – Played in all 31 games, all off the bench. 5.6 ppg, 33.3% shooter from three. Nine double-digit scoring games.

Bosko Kostur (G/F) – Started 12 of 23 games played. 7.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg. 46.9% three-point shooter.

Dan Garvin (F) – Played in all 31 games, starting in 30 of them. 10.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg. 52.5% FG shooter.

Andrew Scocca (F) – 1.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg. Started in 9 of his 30 games last season. 42.5% FG shooter.

Early Outlook:

Bryant will be an interesting case this upcoming season. They did lose a lot of talent and production in their departed seniors but they have a good returning cast back that could be a top four team if all things go their way. The thing will Bryant which seems to be the case every season will be their depth. Tim O’Shea has shown over the past few seasons that he likes going with a seven or eight man rotation and likes to give his starters heavy minutes which has been a criticism to why Bryant seems to fizzle out by the end of the season. If O’Shea can find trust in a few more player and expand his rotation to nine or ten players, then Bryant could be a problem come late February and into early March. This team didn’t suffer as much turnover as many other teams in the NEC did in the offseason so could have a leg up on teams once the season starts.

Bryant has yet to release their non-conference schedule but they are participating in the 2K Classic and will open their season at Duke (Nov. 14) and then play at Georgetown (Nov. 28). They will also host the 2K Classic subregional and will play a pair of games between either Radford, Siena and Prairie View A&M (Nov. 20 & 21). They will also reportedly head on the road to face Michigan and Providence. They will also go on the road for games against Harvard (Nov. 25), New Hampshire (Nov. 30) and Yale (Dec. 2).

LIU Brooklyn adds another walk-on in Raiquan Clark

Raiquan Clark (#23) dunking in a game for Trinity-Pawling last season, will be joining LIU Brooklyn next season as a walk-on. (Photo: http://www.trinitypawling.org)

Blackbirds Hoops Journal has learned that LIU Brooklyn has added a second walk-on player to the men’s basketball team for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

6’4″ guard Raiquan Clark out of Trinity-Pawling School in Pawling, NY where he prepped last season, will be joining the Blackbirds as a walk-on next season. [Read more…]