Northeastern Huskies (20-13 overall, 14-4 conference)
Projected starting five:
Jr. G Demetrius Pollard
So. G David Walker
Jr. F Quincy Ford
Jr. F Reggie Spencer
Jr. F Scott Eatherton
The Huskies lose two starters from last season’s team, and they are big ones: G Jonathan Lee (13.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.8 spg) and G Joel Smith (16.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.8 apg).
60 percent of scoring and 73.8 percent of rebounding
Fr. F Kwesi Abakah (redshirted)
Jr. F Scott Eatherton (transfer from St. Francis (Pa.))
Fr. G C.J. Hill
Fr. G-F Jimmy Marshall
Fr. G T.J. Williams
The Huskies will play another challenging non-conference slate that features four home games. They open with cross-town rival Boston University at the Boston Garden, then head to Stony Brook, VCU and Vanderbilt, while also opening with Georgetown in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and playing two games in the Tulane Classic. Home games are against Central Connecticut, Ivy League favorite Harvard, UAB and Richmond. They open CAA play with their stretch of four games in eight days.
Projected finish and outlook:
The Huskies are a tough team to project this season, but one thing is certain: they will be hard-pressed to match last season’s success given how much Lee and Smith meant to them from a production and (more importantly) leadership standpoint. Who emerges behind them will make all the difference, and while Pollard and fellow junior Marco Banegas-Flores have had their moments, neither will make anyone forget Lee or Smith right now. Walker will be fine after a solid freshman year, and the perimeter will be in better shape if sophomore Zach Stahl plays like he’s capable of after an up-and-down freshman year where he tried to do a little too much at times. Head coach Bill Coen thinks Stahl may have had the best preseason of any Husky, and in another bright spot, he said sophomore guard Derrico Peck may have been their most improved player over the summer. The frontcourt is in much better shape, as Ford should be one of the conference’s best and Spencer made a nice leap from his freshman year. It’s now time for Ford to become an elite player in the conference, and he’s shown in the past that he can be a go-to guy when the chances have been there. They are high on Eatherton and think he will make an impact right away, especially on the glass where they were deficient last season as they had the worst rebounding margin in the conference. The Huskies won a lot of games with a good team concept offensively, and they’ll need to do that again this season while improving on the glass. The former will be tough to do unless a couple of players can make up for the losses of Lee and Smith.