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.
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
Dagur Jónsson (G)
Marlon Alcindor (G)
Joshua Nurse (F)
Jagos Lasic (F)
Keon Williams (G) (Redshirt)
Jonathan Doss (G) (Redshirt)
Last season, the Terriers were one of the best defensive teams in the NEC as well as one of the best rebounding teams in the conference. They were tops in the NEC in defensive points per possessions (0.95 ppp). They were one win away from their first ever NEC championship but were upset by Robert Morris on their home floor. They did play in their appear in the NIT for just the fourth time in the history and first since back in 1963.
They return back some key players which helped their run to winning the NEC regular season and into the NEC final. Amdy Fall, the defending NEC Defensive Player of the Year will return along with forward Chris Hooper who started in 27 of 35 games for the Terriers last season. Also returning is third-leading scorer in guard Tyreek Jewell who scored 19 in the NEC Championship Game as well as point guard Glenn Sanabria who should likely be the Terriers starting point guard replacing the departed Brent Jones.
St. Francis Brooklyn head coach Glenn Braica is going to have a tough time replacing the production he got from his two All-NEC first team stars in Jalen Cannon and Brent Jones. Cannon was a virtual double-double lock every time he steps on the court and Jones was second on the team in scoring and second in the NEC in assists. That kind of production is hard to replace right away in the NEC. There will surely be some drop off from those two positions next season but with likely replacements in Hooper and Sanabria at those positions, the drop off may not be as drastic if they play at full potential.
Also, the depth of this team next season is an unknown commodity. Their starting five could be pretty solid but their bench is a complete question mark. It could several games maybe even into conference play before Braica can figure out his rotations with six new additions and three returning bench players in which none of them averaged more than 11.1 minutes per game last season.
Potential Starting 5:
Glenn Sanabria (G) – Solid freshman season. Shot 45% from three. Near 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Fearless point guard who played tremendous in the clutch.
Tyreek Jewell (G) – Very inconsistent last season. Shot just 20% from three. Saved his best game for NEC Final with season high 19 pts. Not afraid to shoot the ball as his 358 shot attempts would attest.
Chris Hooper (F) – Started finding his groove second half of the season. Good interior player. Will likely become leading rebounding with departure of Cannon.
Amdy Fall (F) – Shot blocker extraordinare and good rebounder as well which helped him win NEC DPOY. The question will be with him, can he give SFC more on the offensive game to help negate loss of Cannon.
Antonio Jenifer (F) – Right now, I’m penciling him into the starting five. Likely will get first crack at one of the front court spots. Capable of scoring and rebounding but won’t stay on court for long if he shoots 35% from the field once again.
I think it is going to take a while for the Terriers to get going next season. They are going to have to figure out who is going to be their go-to guys when they desperately need a basket on the offensive end. I think they will be fine on the defensive end and on the glass but they might need to go back to grinding out games to get wins unless some of the newcomers can provide some punch off the bench.
Their non-conference schedule will likely be tough one to navigate as has been their custom with a ton of games away from the Pope Center and some of those at some big power five teams. So far, there isn’t a whole lot of information regarding who they are playing next season but we do know they are opening up at Boston College (Nov. 14) and will play at MSG once again against St. John’s in the Holiday Festival (Dec. 6).
Correction: In previous version, I incorrectly wrote that the St. Francis Brooklyn’s apperance in the 2015 postseason NIT was their first-ever postseason appearance. It was actually their fourth time in the NIT. They appeared in NIT back in 1954, 1956 and 1963 before 2015. The correction has be made to this current version.