St. Peter’s head coach John Dunne is optimistic that the Peacocks will put a better team on the floor han last season’s that saw their non-conference success dwindle into a conference play slump.
Dunne’s team adds eight new players, two of which sat out and practiced with the team as transfers, to go with siginificant additions from junior college ranks as well as a solid freshman class. Among the newcomers, Dunne said he has continually been impressed with six-foot-seven forward Marvin Dominique, who practiced with the team last year after transferring from Fordham.
“I think he’s he needs to be, if not our primary scorer, one of our top two scorers,” Dunne said of Dominique. “He’s just got a good ability to put the ball in the basket. He’s got a nice little feel, a nice touch around the rim and he can knock down perimeter face up shots.”
St. Peter’s will look to give freshman Trevis Wyche, a freshman point guard from St. Peter’s Prep in New Jersey, every chance to win the starting point guard job in the preseason. Dunne said Wyche’s strength level for a freshman is very good and he could be physically ready to step on the floor right away.
“If he shows he could be consistent with his effort and his decision making then I could easily see myself handing him the ball as a freshman because he is a true point guard,” Dunne said. “He does have playmaking ability, good court awareness and vision.”
The Peacocks ranked eighth in three-point shooting and last in both two-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage last season in conference play. Dunne expects the offense to receive additions around junior Desi Washington who led the team with 14.6 points per game.
St. Peter’s adds Jemel Fields who averaged 3.5 points per game during the 2011-12 season with Fairfield before transferring to the fellow MAAC school. Fields will likely battle Wyche for the starting point guard spot while Washington inherits the shooting guard spot. Junior college transfer Vic Adams, who averaged 18.2 points per game at Dodge City CC, will likely come off the bench to provide a scoring punch. Dunne said Adams is thin physically as a six-foot-three 165 pound guard, but that he has a chance to get on the floor and score.
Lawson State junior college transfer Tyler Gaskins has impressed so far in summer workouts and could get a thorough look at the small forward spot. His competition is most likely from senior Chris Burke, the lone scholarship senior on the team this season, who played the majority of last season as an undersized power forward. The frontcourt will be aided by junior college transfer Kris Rolle who Dunne said has a knack for grabbing rebounds at six-foot-five. Freshman Quadir Welton also likely have an opportunity to play a six-foot-seven center out of Philadelphia.
“He’s a big body, good hands, good rebounder,” Dunne said of Welton. “He’s certainly a guy that can put himself in position to get on the court as a freshman.”
Dunne said that he believes he has a team that has the most scorers than he’s ever had as he enters his eighth season at St. Peter’s. The last time Dunne brought in a large influx of talent like this season, his team went 16-14 and followed that up with a 20-14 2010-11 season capped with his first NCAA tournament appearance as head coach. The weapons should pay dividends for Wyche if he gets to start the season as the distributor to options like Dominique and Washington.
“We’re going to have a lot better perimeter shooting, so for a guy like [Wyche] whose strength is getting into the paint, having shooting around him will only enhance his game,” Dunne said. “He can enhance other guys games and make it easier for them. I think Trevis has a great chance of starting as a freshman.”
Ryan Restivo covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.