Of all the anticipated major storylines as the 2015-16 college basketball season approached, it’s safe to say not a single one of them included a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school from West Long Branch, N.J., that lost 15 games the year before.
It has been some time since a school as small as Monmouth so thoroughly captured the nation’s attention, but the Hawks were not just the story of the MAAC but one of the biggest anywhere. It was a Gonzaga-like rise for a program that finished fourth in its conference a year earlier, but was perhaps as talked about as almost any team not named Duke or Kentucky in 2015-16.
Monmouth took on a brutal non-conference schedule and had the audacity to not just play competitively against it but win more than its share of games. Led by pocket-sized guard Justin Robinson and more talented than most anyone not around the team expected, the Hawks ran around and shot over foes, defeating a who’s who of major college athletics names: UCLA, Notre Dame, USC, Georgetown. … Continue Reading