2016-17 NEC First Look: Wagner

Bashir Mason has yet to see his Wagner team break through the NEC tournament to a championship. Will 2016-17 be the season it happens? (Photo: silive.com)

Bashir Mason has yet to see his Wagner team break through the NEC tournament to a championship. Will 2016-17 be the season it happens? (Photo: silive.com)

2015-16 results: 23-11, 13-5 (NEC), first place.

Impact Losses:

Dwaun Anderson (G) – 9.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG last season – graduated
Aaren Edmead (G) – 4.9 PPG last season, 32 games played – transferred to North Carolina A&T
Japhet Kadji (F) – 27 games played, 4.4 PPG last season – transferred to North Carolina A&T

Who’s In:

Shack Scott (F) – JUCO transfer

Elijah Davis (G/F) – JUCO transfer

Conner Ferrell (G)

Jamar Brown (F)

What Went Right:

A lot went right for a team that won 23 games last season and finished as the NEC regular season champs. It started off by going 7-4 in non-conference games and finishing off the NEC season strong with five straight regular season wins and making it all the way to the NEC championship game on their home floor.

Wagner were one of the top defensive team in the NEC last season. They led the conference in scoring defense (65.0 PPG allowed), scoring margin (+5.3), field goal percentage defense (41.2%) and were also the top rebounding team in the NEC on both the offensive and defensive ends.

Wagner had two player land on the All-NEC Second Team in Michael Carey and Corey Henson.

Wagner made it to the second round of the NIT tournament after upsetting one-seeded St. Bonaventure on their home floor before losing to Creighton.

What Went Wrong:

Wagner looked like the team that would represent the NEC in the NCAA tournament for the majority of the season last year but once again the upset bug bit the Seahawks as Fairleigh Dickinson went into Staten Island in the NEC Final last March and left with the NEC title, forcing Wagner to settle for an NIT bid.

Potential 2016-17 Starting Five:

Michael Carey is one of several preseason NEC Player of the Year candidate this upcoming season. (Photo: David Saffran/Wagner Athletics)

Michael Carey is one of several preseason NEC Player of the Year candidate this upcoming season. (Photo: David Saffran/Wagner Athletics)

Corey Henson (G) – All-NEC Second team selection. 13.3 PPG, 2.9 APG averages last season.

Romone Saunders (G) – Started in 13 of 27 games last season. 9.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG.

Michael Carey (G) – All-NEC Second team selection. NEC Player of the Year candidate in 2016-17. 12.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG.

Shack Scott (F) – JUCO transfer out of Monroe College.

Mike Aamen (F) – Fifth-year senior. Averaged 8.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG last season.

2016-17 Non-Conference Schedule:

11/11 (Fri) @ UConn
11/14 (Mon) @ UMass-Lowell
11/19 (Sat) Fairfield
11/22 (Tue) @ American
11/26 (Sat) Rider
11/30 (Wed) @ UMass
12/6 (Tue) Monmouth
12/10 (Sat) @ Morgan State
12/17 (Sat) @ Providence
12/22 (Thu) College of Staten Island

Early Outlook:

Wagner will come into the 2016-17 once again as one of the top teams in the NEC. Although, they lose Dwaun Anderson, nearly all of the key pieces from last season 23-win team are back.

The Seahawks will once again rely on their strong defense play and superior rebounding to get back on top of the NEC standings once again this season. Their defense at times can be suffocating and this season they added more pieces inside with guys like Shack Scott, AJ Sumbry who transferred in from Quinnipiac, JUCO transfer Marquis Salmon and freshman Jamar Brown to go along with Aamen and senior Greg Senat.

Wagner is also loaded in the backcourt with Henson, Saunders, and Carey as well as junior JoJo Cooper, and a couple of freshman guards in Conner Ferrell and Blake Francis.

It will be an upset if Wagner doesn’t win at least 13 games in the NEC once again in 2016-17. This team has all the makings to make another deep run with Carey and Henson again leading the charge. The question is and has remained for quite a while now, can this Wagner team finally get over the NEC tournament bug-a-boo which has plagued Wagner since the Dan Hurley coaching days and has continue on through the Bashir Mason era? They will likely get another chance once again to get over the hump 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
Sacred Heart

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