2016-17 NEC First Look: Sacred Heart

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Sophomore guard Quincy McKnight will one of the key weapons for Sacred Heart in 2016-17. (Photo: Sacred Heart Athletics)

2015-16 results: 12-18, 11-7 (NEC), tied for second place (fourth seed).

Impact Losses:

Cane Broome (G) – 23.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.9 APG – 2016 NEC Player of the Year, Leading scorer in the NEC – transferred to Cinncinnati
Jordan Allen (F) – 10.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG – graduated
Tevin Falzon (F) – 10.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG – graduated

Who’s In:

Charles Tucker Jr. (G) – JUCO Transfer
Shawn Montague (G)
Zach Radz (G)
Joseph Lopez (F) – JUCO Transfer

What Went Right:

Sacred Heart had their best conference season under head coach Anthony Latina, going 11-7 and finishing in the top four of the NEC standings and earning a home game in last season’s NEC Tournament.

Sacred Heart was led by NEC Player of the Year, Cane Broome, who led the conference in scoring at 23.1 points per game and finished eighth in nation.

After starting 2-4 in NEC play last season, the Pioneers finished 9-3 in the last 12 regular season games.

Sacred Heart finished third among NEC teams in scoring offense at 73.9 points per game and second in the NEC in field goal percentage at 43.7 percent.

What Went Wrong:

After a season opening win against Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart went on to lose their remaining ten non-conference games.

Sacred Heart lost junior forward De’von Barnett to a shoulder injury before the season started and ended up missing the entire 2015-16 season.

Freshman point guard Quincy McKnight was suspended by head coach Anthony Latina for three games during the NEC season for violating team rules.

After a successful late season run by the Pioneers, they lost at home in the NEC first round to LIU Brooklyn.

After the season ended, Cane Broome announced he was transferring from Sacred Heart and landed at the University of Cinncinnati where he will redshirt the 2016-17 season.

Potential 2016-17 Starting Five:

De’Von Barnett returns after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury and he will relied upon this season. (Photo: Sacred Heart Athletics)

Quincy McKnight (G) – Started in 27 games as a freshman. Top returning scorer and assist man at 11.4 PPG, 2.5 APG.

Sean Hoehn (G) – Played in all 30 games, starting in the last 21 games. 4.8 PPG

Chris Robinson (G) – Played in 23 games. 4.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG.

De’Von Barrett (F) – Missed all of 2015-16 season with a shoulder injury. 10.8 PPG in 2014-15.

Matej Buovac (F) – Averaged 6.3 PPG in 27 games played.

2016-17 Non-Conference Schedule:

11/11 (Fri) @ Fairfield
11/15 (Tue) Hofstra
11/18 (Fri) @ Arizona (Cont. Tire Classic)
11/21 (Mon) @ Santa Clara (Cont. Tire Classic)
11/24 (Thu) vs Northern Colorado (Cont. Tire Classic)
11/25 (Fri) vs Bucknell or Norfolk State (Cont. Tire Classic)
11/30 (Wed) @ Fordham
12/3 (Sat) Hartford
12/6 (Tue) UMass-Lowell
12/8 (Thu) Yale
12/11 @ Lafayette
12/18 (Sun) @ Boston College
12/21 (Wed) Holy Cross

Early Outlook:

After their first round loss last season to LIU in the NEC Tournament, there was still plenty of high hopes for the future of Sacred Heart with Cane Broome, the eventual return of De’Von Barnett and a good young supporting cast around them. But when Broome decided it was best for himself to transfer to a high-major program, a huge amount of air was let out of the Pioneers ballon.

Now, Sacred Heart will have to move on without their dynamic scorer and playmaker and look to lean more on Barnett as well as guys like Quincy McKnight and Sean Hoehm. McKnight is probably the one player who will benefit most from the Broome transfer. I would look for him to have an excellent season in 2016-17.

If McKnight can carry some of the load left behind by Broome and Barnett can return to form he had two seasons ago before his injury, they could have a nice one-two scoring punch that could drive opposing coaches mad.

Sacred Heart also have some newcomers in the front court with Western Michigan transfer Mario Matasovic and JUCO transfer Jospeh Lopez along with redshirt senior Matej Buovac that will be more relied upon this season now with the departures of Jordan Allen and Tevin Falzon.

I think it will be difficult for Sacred Heart to repeat what they did last season in conference without the services of Cane Broome. With Broome, SHU would have been easily a top four team at worst but now without him, I think they be somewhat average and take a step or two back from last season but they should be good enough to be somewhere in the top eight this season.

Missed any of the previous 2016-17 NEC First Looks, find them here:
Central Connecticut
Bryant
Mount St. Mary’s
Robert Morris
Saint Francis U.
St. Francis Brooklyn

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