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2013-14 Big East Post-Mortem

by - Published May 6, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigeast

A new era in the Big East began in 2013-14, and it was not hard to tell this was not your father’s Big East. The name was there, some familiar teams were as well, and the conference tournament was once again at Madison Square Garden. For that matter, the campaigning by coaches on behalf of the conference was the same.

But no matter how much it might look like the Big East we all knew, this was different.

For starters, three new teams joined the seven that split from the old Big East. Butler, Creighton and Xavier all left other conferences, and Creighton was a contender right away with a veteran team led by Doug McDermott. Xavier had its ups and downs but managed to reach the NCAA Tournament, while Butler had a depleted roster for new head coach Brandon Miller, in part from an injury to key guard Roosevelt Jones that cost him the season, and struggled.

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2013-14 Ivy League Post-Mortem

by - Published May 5, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
ivy

As good as the 2013-14 season was in the Ivy League, it might be just the beginning of a great stretch for the league. The results were great, and there is a lot to be optimistic about going forward.

Harvard won the league as expected, then beat Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament. For the first time since Princeton in 1983-84, an Ivy League team has won an NCAA Tournament game in consecutive years. The Crimson were basically prohibitive favorites, and while Yale was able to hang around late, the Crimson were never behind in the standings.

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American Eagles 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
american

American Eagles (10-20 overall, 5-9 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Darius Gardner
Jr. G John Schoof
Jr. G Austin Carroll
Sr. C Tony Wroblicky
Sr. F Kevin Panzer

Important departures:

Three starters are gone from last season’s team: G Daniel Munoz (10.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.6 apg), G Blake Jolivette (6.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.8 apg) and F Stephen Lumpkins (14.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.5 apg), as well as part-time starting F Mike Bersch (4.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg).

Returning:

42.8 percent of scoring and 51 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. G Darius Gardner (transfer from Stephen F. Austin)
Fr. G-F Charlie Jones
Fr. G Kade Kager
Fr. G Justice Montgomery
Fr. G Langdon Neal
Sr. F Kevin Panzer (transfer from Nevada)
Fr. G Jalen Rhea
Fr. F Yilret Yiljep

Schedule Highlights:

The non-league slate isn’t overwhelming, but it does have only three home games. They open at George Mason and later play at Ohio State, Northeast contender Mount St. Mary’s and St. Mary’s. Patriot League play will be tough at first as four of their first five are on the road, with four of the next five coming at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Eagles will be very much in transition this season, as they suffered fairly heavy personnel losses to go with Jeff Jones’ departure for Old Dominion. New head coach Mike Brennan has some talent on his team, starting with Gardner, who should make an instant impact after leading Stephen F. Austin in assists two seasons ago. Schoof, who made just over half of his three-point attempts last season, and Carroll give him two good options to get the ball to on the perimeter, and there are several other good candidates to join them. Panzer should likewise make an instant impact up front and help Wroblicky, who did a fine job of complementing Lumpkins last season. The Eagles are mainly short on experience and roster continuity, but those will come. While the Eagles lost a lot of scoring, they weren’t a particularly great offensive team last season to begin with. But they can’t afford to repeat being next-to-last in field goal percentage defense given the lack of proven scoring.

Next: Army Black Knights

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Army Black Knights 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
army

Army Black Knights (16-15 overall, 8-6 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Dylan Cox
So. G-F Kyle Wilson
Sr. G Josh Herbeck
So. F Larry Toomey
So. C Kevin Ferguson

Important departures:

Three starters – F Ella Ellis (17.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.4 apg), F Jordan Springer (3.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and G Kyle Toth (8.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg) – are all gone from last season’s team.

Returning:

54.6 percent of scoring and 55 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G-F Richard Brown
Fr. F Kennedy Edwards
Fr. G David Hellstrom
Fr. F Mac Hoffman
Fr. F Zach Johnson
Fr. C Kiefer Jordan
Fr. G Scott Mammel
Fr. G-F Tanner Omlid
Fr. G Shane Smith
Fr. F Austin Williamson

Schedule Highlights:

The Black Knights have five home games in non-league play, including a visit from CAA contender Delaware. They also open the season in the All-Military Classic in Lexington, Virginia against Air Force and either VMI or the Citadel in the second game. Road games of note are at Notre Dame and Rutgers. Three of the first four Patriot League games are on the road, but they close with three of four at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

While the Black Knights lost a lot from last season’s team, they have plenty of talent. The biggest adjustment will be to new roles and a concern will be a relative lack of experience as this season could be one of growing pains or a leap into contention. The promising group is led by Wilson, the league’s Rookie of the Year last season who should take over for Ellis in the role of go-to guy. Cox is poised to be one of the best point guards in the league before his career is over, while Herbeck figures to join them in the starting lineup as their most experienced player. They have good depth there as well, allowing them to really get after it at both ends. Toomey and Ferguson have to take steps forward, with Ferguson showing potential as a shot-blocker inside, and there is more depth here as well. They helped Army post the second-best rebounding margin in the league last season. The Black Knights led the league in turnovers by a wide margin last season, making that the biggest area for improvement.

Next: Boston University Terriers

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Boston University Terriers 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
bostonuniversity

Boston University Terriers (17-13 overall, 11-5 America East)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G D.J. Irving
So. G Maurice Watson, Jr.
So. G John Papale
Sr. F Travis Robinson
Sr. F Dom Morris

Important departures:

G Zach Chionuma (1.5 ppg) (transferred to Bryant) is the only player of note who has departed from last season’s team.

Returning:

97.7 percent of scoring and 97.5 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Cameron Curry
Fr. C Dylan Haines
Fr. G Cedric Hankerson
Fr. G Braiten Madrigal

Schedule Highlights:

The Terriers will have plenty of challenges in non-league play with just four home games, including a visit from Ivy League favorite Harvard. They play at Connecticut in the 2K Sports Classic, then three games at UC Irvine, and later travel to Maryland and Saint Joseph’s. They start Patriot League play with four of six at home, giving them a chance to get off and running, while they play four of their last six away from home.

Projected finish and outlook:

Don’t be surprised if the Terriers make a grand entrance into the league by being the top team. They have a solid combination of talent and experience, along with some options from a personnel standpoint. They have the league’s best backcourt with Irving and Watson, with Papale’s shooting completing the trio very nicely and three freshmen providing added depth, especially Hankerson. Morris really started to come into his own last year and looks primed to have a big finish to it, while Robinson is simply a solid glue guy. Junior Malik Thomas has long been an intriguing prospect and can be a difference-maker off the bench, while Nathan Dieudonne showed some promise as a freshman last season and the Terriers are high on Haines, a seven-footer who played for one of the best prep coaches last season in Jere Quinn at St. Thomas More. Boston University has long been a program that produces good defensive teams, and last season’s was no different, although they could stand to improve on the glass as they were out-rebounded by almost three per game last season. In all, though, this is the likely team to beat this season.

Next: Bucknell Bison

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Bucknell Bison 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
bucknell

Bucknell Bison (28-6 overall, 12-2 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Cameron Ayers
Sr. G Ryan Hill
Jr. G Steven Kaspar
So. F Dom Hoffman
Sr. F Brian Fitzpatrick

Important departures:

The Bison saw their core graduate, consisting of G Bryson Johnson (11.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.3 apg), F Joe Willman (10.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.5 apg) and C Mike Muscala (18.7 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.4 bpg).

Returning:

39.6 percent of scoring and 45.2 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F D.J. MacLeay
Fr. G John Azzinaro
Fr. C Ben Oberfeld

Schedule Highlights:

A challenging non-league slate awaits the Bison, including four home games headlined by a visit from Ivy League contender Princeton. They will go on the road to play Stanford, St. John’s, Northeast contender Mount St. Mary’s and Kent State. Three of their first four Patriot League games are at home, but they finish with three of four on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

Although the Bison lost much more than just stats could describe from last season’s team, they aren’t exactly starting over. This is still a veteran team with good talent, and now many players who have winning experience have to move into bigger roles. Ayers should be just fine in that respect, having been a key player behind the big three last year, while Hill, Kaspar and Ryan Frazier will all complement him. Frazier is the best defender of the bunch, while Hill and Kaspar will need to be scoring threats to keep defenses honest. Fitzpatrick keys the frontcourt as he is experienced and helped off the bench last season, while Hoffman is talented and now gets his chance. Oberfeld could jump right in as well. Bucknell was easily the league’s best defensive team last season, out-rebounding teams by the top margin in the league as well. Repeating that will be a tall chore, but essential if they are to contend again given the loss of offense. It would also help if they take care of the ball just as well after they were the only team in the league to turn it over less than ten times a game last season.

Next: Colgate Raiders

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Colgate Raiders 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
colgate

Colgate Raiders (11-21 overall, 5-9 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Luke Roh
Sr. G Pat Moore
So. G Austin Tillotson
Sr. F Murphy Burnatowski
Jr. F Matt McMullen

Important departures:

Two starters are gone from last season’s team: G Mitch Rolls (7.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.8 apg) and C John Brandenburg (5.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg). Also gone is reserve F Brandon James (8.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.0 apg).

Returning:

70 percent of scoring and 73.6 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Andrew Bargmann
Fr. C John Fenton
Fr. F Jack Fleming
Fr. C Wyatt Hagarty
Fr. G Nathan Harries
Jr. C Ethan Jacobs (transfer from Ohio)
So. G Austin Tillotson (transfer from Monmouth)

Schedule Highlights:

The Raiders did well to land five non-league home games, including a visit from Fordham. The season starts with trips to Wake Forest and Syracuse, and they later travel to Georgetown. In league play, after opening with Lehigh at home they go on the road for three of four, including games at Bucknell and Boston University.

Projected finish and outlook:

Matt Langel’s work continues this season, and the Raiders look like they’re making strides albeit at a time when the league as a whole is on a good upswing. They will continue to build around Burnatowski, the league’s top returning scorer. Roh and Moore have shown potential, with the former finishing in the top six in the league in both rebounds and assists last season, and they should be joined by Tillotson, who started 18 games at Monmouth two seasons ago. Junior Damon Sherman-Newsome will probably be the first guard off the bench. Burnatowski will likely be joined by McMullen up front, but they can go bigger with Jacobs and Hagerty, who both stand 6’11”, or Fenton at 6’9″. Colgate still has a lot of areas for improvement, perhaps most notably with the possession battle as they had the worst turnover margin in the league last year. Rectifying that will be a good starting point to move up in the standings.

Next: Holy Cross Crusaders

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Holy Cross Crusaders 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
holycross

Holy Cross Crusaders (12-18 overall, 4-10 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Justin Burrell
So. G Cullen Hamilton
Jr. F Malcolm Miller
Jr. F Taylor Abt
Sr. F-C Dave Dudzinski

Important departures:

Among starters, F Phil Beans (9.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg) and G-F Jordan Stevens (5.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.5 apg) are gone, and F Eric Obeysekere (4.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and G Dee Goens (2.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.6 apg) have also departed.

Returning:

68 percent of scoring and 66.9 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Malachi Alexander
Fr. G-F Robert Champion
So. F Riley Criswell
So. G-F Eric Green
Fr. C Matt Husek
Fr. G Anthony Thompson

Schedule Highlights:

The non-league slate will be a tough one, especially with just three home games. They also open against Harvard at the Boston Garden. They play in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at North Carolina and Fairfield before two games at Mohegan Sun Arena, the first of which is against Belmont. Later, they close the slate at Michigan. They open and close Patriot League play with Boston University, and in between they have corresponding road-heavy and home-heavy portions, though five of the last seven are at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

Year four under Milan Brown has arrived, and it’s a crucial one for this program from a progress standpoint. Holy Cross has just one senior in Dudzinski, but the sophomores and juniors are the key to where they are headed. Burrell will have the keys to the offense again, and while he shot the ball better from deep and was second in scoring, his turnovers were up from his freshman year. Hamilton looks like more of a complete player, which should help him shoot better than he did last year. Thompson will be the primary backup at the point and at times play with Burrell for a quick lineup, and his competitive motor will energize the second unit. Green sat out last year but is ready to go after being one of their best players in practice and could play as a third guard as well. Up front, Abt and Alexander will be the main complements to Dudzinski, while Christopher Morgan started some games late last year but is not as good as the other two. They like Husek’s potential, but he isn’t physically ready to play significant minutes. Miller is the team’s X-factor on the wing, and while Alexander may see time there Champion could be in the mix as well. While Holy Cross could still stand to improve defensively, they were a solid bottom-half team at the offensive end last season in shooting and turnovers, and as a result scoring suffered. If the offense gets better and they at least maintain their defensive performance from last season, they can move up in the standings.

Next: Lafayette Leopards

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Lafayette Leopards 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
lafayette

Lafayette Leopards (19-15 overall, 10-4 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Seth Hinrichs
Jr. G Joey Ptasinski
So. G Bryce Scott
Jr. F Dan Trist
Jr. F Alan Flannigan

Important departures:

Two starters are gone from last season: G Tony Johnson (13.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.9 spg) and C Levi Giese (6.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.8 bpg).

Returning:

70.1 percent of scoring and 73.3 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Monty Boykins
Fr. F Michael Hoffman
Fr. G Nick Lindner
Fr. G Jake Newman

Schedule Highlights:

The Leopards have four non-league home games, headlined by a visit from Northeast contender Robert Morris. They open the season at Villanova and later head to Ivy League contender Princeton and Northeast contender Wagner. In league play, the Leopards have a chance for a nice start as three of the first four are at home. The flip side is that three of their final four come on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

Down the stretch last season, Lafayette was arguably the best team in the league as they were simply on a tear before losing to Bucknell in the league title game. A big part of that is gone with Johnson’s departure, as he was not only their best player but also the heart and soul of the team. But they still have a solid backcourt with Hinrichs, Ptasinski and Scott leading the way. Hinrichs shot 45.6 percent from long range and was quietly fifth in the league in scoring last season. With Trust returning up front this team has a solid core and has size up front with four players who stand 6’9″ or taller, although three of the four are sophomores. The Leopards have a lot of role players back as well. What’s surprising about the run they had last season is that they were by far the worst defensive team in the league in allowing opponents to shoot over 46 percent from the field, and they were also out-rebounded by four per game. An improvement there would go a long way towards taking the next step. With just two seniors, this team is set up well for another year after this, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Leopards were playing for the league title in March once more.

Next: Lehigh Mountain Hawks

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Lehigh Mountain Hawks 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
lehigh

Lehigh Mountain Hawks (21-10 overall, 10-4 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Mackey McKnight
Sr. G Anthony D’Orazio
Jr. G Corey Schaefer
So. F Jesse Chuku
So. F Justin Goldsborough

Important departures:

The Mountain Hawks lose three big starters from last season’s team: G C.J. McCollum (23.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.9 apg in 12 games), F Gabe Knutson (13.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.1 apg) and F Holden Greiner (13.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.3 spg). Also gone is G B.J. Bailey (8.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.4 apg), who started 14 of the 18 games he played.

Returning:

43.7 percent of scoring and 43.5 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F-C Tim Kempton
Fr. F Georgios Pilitsis
Fr. G Austin Price
Fr. G Cole Renninger
Fr. G Miles Simelton
Fr. F Shane Whitfield

Schedule Highlights:

The Mountain Hawks’ non-league slate has five home games, including visits from MAAC contender Rider and Northeast contender LIU. They open at Minnesota, later play at improving Fordham, then play in the Legends Classic at Houston and Pittsburgh and close out 2013 at Northeast contender Bryant. They begin and end league play with three of five at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

It’s easy to forget that Lehigh loses much more than just McCollum, who they also lost for much of last season due to injury. Knutson and Greiner were huge contributors as well, and Bailey was hardly a bit player. The cupboard isn’t bare, but much of the talent is younger and less proven. The good thing is that they have most of their experience on the perimeter, starting with McKnight, the team leader. He became more assertive later in the season, while D’Orazio, Schaefer and junior Stefan Cvrklaj give him several options on the wing. There is good young talent up front, starting with Chuku, who had to sit out last season and should make an instant impact. Goldsbrough may be the other incumbent up front, but don’t be surprised if he is supplanted by Kempton, the son of the former NBA big man. Lehigh is probably not going to replicate their showing at the offensive end last season, where they still led the league in scoring and field goal percentage while turning the ball over less than any team except Bucknell. If they can repeat the last statistic and play the same good defense they played last season, they should have a fighting chance.

Next: Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds

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