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