2016-17 NEC First Look: Bryant

Coming off a transitional year in which they won just eight games, Bryant could be back to their winning ways sooner rather than later. (Photo: bryantbulldogs.com)

2015-16 results: 8-23, 5-13 (NEC), Ninth place in NEC.

Impact Losses:

Shane McLaughlin (G) – 7.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 5.3 APG – graduated
Curtis Oakley Jr. (G) – 4.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG – graduated

Who’s In:

Ikenna Ndugba (G)
Adam Grant (G)
Tanner Johnson (F)
Sabastian Townes (F)
Mantvydas Urmilevičius (F)

What Went Right:

The Bulldogs had two players land on the NEC All-Rookie team last season in freshman guard Nisre Zouzoua and freshman forward Marcel Pettway.

Bryant started off their season 2-1 which was just their second 2-1 start since they joined Division I.

At one point between December 31st and January 14th, Bryant won five of six games including getting off to a 4-1 start in the NEC.

What Went Wrong:

The Bulldogs couldn’t get going last season. After their 2-1 start to their season, they went on to lose nine straight games. Then after their five wins in six games and 4-1 NEC start, they lost their next twelve straight games before finishing off their year with a win at LIU.

Dan Garvin’s numbers took a slight dip in his junior season going from 10.9 ppg and 52.5% shooting his sophomore season to 10.2 and 45.3% shooting last season before having to miss the last four games of the season.

Bryant did not have a single player finished in the top in the NEC in scoring. Nisre Zouzoua, the team’s leading scorer finished 12th.

The Bulldogs finished 9th in the NEC in scoring offense and scoring margin. They were the worst free throw shooting team in the NEC last season  and had the second-worst turnover margin in the conference.

Potential 2016-17 Starting Five:

Marcel Pettway was one of two NEC freshman last season to be named NEC Rookie of the Week five times. (Photo: bryantbulldogs.com)

Ikenna Ndugba (G) – Incoming freshman. Averaged 13 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 6.5 apg, 4 spg in his senior high school season last season.

Hunter Ware (G) – 12.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.3 spg in 2015-16. Shot 36.7 percent from three last season.

Nisre Zouzoua (G) – Selected to NEC All-Rookie Team last season after averaging a team-best 12.8 ppg last season.

Dan Garvin (F) – 10.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg. Shot a career-low 45.3% from the field last season.

Marcel Pettway (F) – Five-time NEC Rookie of the Week winner. NEC All-Rookie Team member. 11.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg.

2016-17 Non-Conference Schedule:

11/12 (Sat) @ Notre Dame (2016 Legends Classic)
11/15 (Tues) Salve Regina (D3)
11/18 (Fri) @ Gonzaga
11/21 (Mon) @ Eastern Washington
11/22 (Tues) vs Seattle (2016 Legends Classic)
11/25 (Fri) @ Northwestern (2016 Legends Classic)
11/28 (Mon) @ Brown
11/30 (Wed) Yale
12/3 (Sat) @ Ohio
12/6 (Tues) @ Navy
12/10 (Sat) New Hampshire
12/22 (Thu) Dartmouth
1/16 (Mon) Harvard

Early Outlook:

I felt like this team underachieved last season even with all the great young talent on this team and I feel they will rebound this upcoming season after failing to make the NEC tournament a season ago. Bryant has a solid young core of guys with Pettway, Zouzoua and Ware and add Ndugba to the mix who is getting early buzz for NEC Rookie of the Year and Bryant has a team who should be much better this season then they showed last season.

This team is young though with just one impact senior in Dan Garvin so if they are to make any advances this season, that young core has got to produce. The early question going into the season if how much depth does this team have beyond the starting five. There are a ton of young guys on this Bryant team that will be vying for playing time so competition should be fierce in the preseason.

I look for Bryant to return back to the NEC tournament come March. If this team stays healthy and all these young guys improved upon their season they had last season, they have top four potential in them.

Missed any of the previous 2016-17 NEC First Looks, find them here:
Central Connecticut


  1. Dan From Staten Island says:

    Think that Bryant has some upside because they can put a pretty solid first five on the floor every night. But, unless they can develop more depth off the bench in support of what seems to be some really talented starters, they’ll likely to run out of steam at some point. IMO, Coach O’Shea has shown a distinct tendency to stick with about 7-8 players for the most part, and that’s tough to do for an entire season — certainly not with these knock-down, drag-out battles you play in Conference games. There’s certainly a comfort level with staying with a small group of core players, but fatigue and injury factors eventually show up. They always do. Unless Bryant can develop some roster depth by giving the reserves some serious PT early in the season, grabbing a quarterfinal home game will be tough.

%d bloggers like this: