2016-17 NEC First Look: Fairleigh Dickinson

Fairleigh Dickinson were the young hunters last season, winning the NEC championship. How will they do now as the huntees? (Photo: FDU Athletics)

Fairleigh Dickinson were the young hunters last season, winning the NEC championship. How will they do now as the huntees? (Photo: FDU Athletics)

2015-16 results: 18-15, 11-7 (NEC), tied for second place (two-seed).

Impact Losses:

Marques Townes (G) – 11.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.7 APG last season – transferred to Loyola (IL)

Who’s In:

Kaleb Bishop (G)

What Went Right:

What didn’t go right for a team that was picked ninth in the NEC preseason poll and finish with the second seed in the NEC tournament and beat top-seeded Wagner in the NEC championship game on their home floor.

FDU started off the season winning four of their first five games and were at one point 9-4 in conference play.

The Knights had a pair of All-NEC second team honorees in Darian Anderson and Earl Potts Jr.

FDU led the NEC in scoring offense last season at 77.5 points per game and they were also the top overall shooting team in the NEC with a 45.8 field goal percentage and 36.3 three-point shooting percentage.

FDU also led the NEC in assists per game and in assist-to-turnover ratio

What Went Wrong:

FDU did not put forth their best game in the NCAA tournament, losing to Florida Gulf Coast by 31 in the First Four in Dayton.

The Knights finished last in the NEC in scoring defense as they allowed teams to score 78.8 points per game.

FDU finished eighth in the NEC in rebounding margin and ninth in blocks.

Potential 2016-17 Starting Five:

Junior forward Earl Potts is among several early favorites for NEC Player of the Year in 2016-17. (Photo: FDU Athletics)

Junior forward Earl Potts is among several early favorites for NEC Player of the Year in 2016-17. (Photo: FDU Athletics)

Stephen Jiggetts (G) – Started in 31 of 32 games last season. Averaged 11.0 Pts, 2.3 Reb, 3.1 Ast per game in 2015-16.

Darian Anderson (G) – All-NEC Second Team selection. Led FDU in scoring (15.2 PPG) and assists (3.7 APG).

Ghassan Nehme (G) – Came off bench for all 33 games as a freshman. Averaged 4.1 PPG.

Earl Potts (F) – All-NEC Second Team selection. Team’s leading rebounder and second leading scorer. 14.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG.

Mike Holloway (F) – All-NEC Rookie Team selection. 9.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG.

2016-17 Non-Conference Schedule:

11/11 (Fri) @ Seton Hall
11/15 (Tue) FDU-Florham (D3)
11/18 (Fri) @ Fordham (Fordham tourney)
11/19 (Sat) vs Lipscomb (Fordham tourney)
11/20 (Sun) vs St. Peter’s (Fordham tourney)
11/30 (Wed) @ Army
12/3 (Sat) @ Ohio State
12/7 (Wed) Iona
12/10 (Sat) @ Towson
12/14 (Wed) @ Rutgers
12/17 (Sat) @ Cincinnati

Early Outlook:

The Knights should come into the 2016-17 season as the likely favorites to repeat. They lost just one impact player from last season’s team in guard Marques Townes who transferred out. They’ll return four-fifths of their starting lineup that won it all and return 85% of the players who received playing minutes last season.

FDU were the top scoring team in the NEC last season and that trend should likely continue again this coming season with all the weapons they have returning. If there is an aspect that could derail FDU repeat chances, it will be their play on the defensive end. As much as the Knights like to score, they will give up plenty of points as well.

The Knights will be once again be well-coached and well-prepared and should be up to the challenge of being among one of the preseason favorites rather than a team who were once struggling to find their way.

It would not be a surprised if all four returning starters for FDU find their way on to an All-NEC team at season’s end. This team should carry their strong play of last season and further enhance it this season. The question will be, can they handle the pressure that comes in being one of elite teams in the conference?

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
Wagner

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