When Stony Brook plays, there’s a good chance that players will be coming off the bench early and often for the Seawolves.
Head coach Steve Pikiell has been known to have a rotation as deep as 11 players, sometimes more, and will likely do the same this season. Stony Brook’s bench accounted for 34.6% of the team’s minutes last season, ranking of 84th out of 347 Division I teams, third most in the America East conference. Pikiell said that he expects to play just as many players this season, as his team returns four starters and adds talented depth. He said the deep rotation is one reason players have not transferred from the SBU program.
“I like to play a lot of guys and I trust a lot of guys,” Pikiell said. “I think we have depth like that. I think the way we play defensively it’s tiring it’s gruesome, it’s a grind so you need to play guys for that reason.”
Stony Brook ranked 34th in the country in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency metric. They also ranked 19th in the country in effective field goal percentage defense, which was better than 58 NCAA tournament teams.
Last season Anthony Jackson missed time with a sprained ankle during America East play. Pikiell was able to call upon Carson ‘Tre’ Puriefoy to start and the Seawolves were able to win without him. After four straight starts down the stretch Puriefoy showed flashes of potential and scored a season-high 17 points in the final regular season game against Albany.
“I think depth is so important and I think we’ve done a really good job, no matter what the situation is foul trouble, the next guy comes in and plays real well because he’s played minutes,” Pikiell said. “I think it makes practices way more competitive.”
“I know some teams go with seven guys. Tell me how those other guys are doing come January, February, March when they’re not going to play. Tell me what kind of practices you’re having. It’s been good here and I’ll tell you a lot of reasons it’s because we have, guys are pretty good behind them, so I have to find ways to get guys minutes.”
Ryan Restivo covers the America East conference for Big Apple Buckets. E-mail him at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo.