Each of Stony Brook’s five freshmen has become a significant part of the team’s plans through the first month of the season, but head coach Steve Pikiell would like to see more consistency as they head into conference play.
Redshirt freshman Roland Nyama, who has started every single game this season leads the newcomers with 6.9 ppg, but the true freshmen have shown flashes of potential. Deshaun Thrower leads the true freshmen in minutes and has looked good at times, but shows his inexperience at others. Jakub Petras has shown an ability to spell junior Jameel Warney at times, but struggles to guard more athletic forwards.
Two of the freshmen who have been exposed in vital spots and shown success, Bryan Sekunda and Tyrell Sturdivant, have been battling injuries over the last few weeks. Sekunda was developing into a deep threat over the first week of the season, ranking second on the team with 11 three-pointers made, but he battled a case of the flu since the Seawolves’ game against St. Thomas Aquinas. Pikiell said that the 6’5″ freshman was making progress until having to be sidelined, where he was limited in practice as far as not practicing prior to their game at Princeton.
Meanwhile Sturdivant dislocated fingers in his left hand when he was hit hard going for a layup at Cincinnati. Bearcats junior Octavious Ellis was ejected for a flagrant two after his hit on the 6’7″ freshman in the first half.
“He’s kind of gotten through that a little bit,” Pikiell said of Sturdivant’s injury. “I think Ty is going to help us a lot. I think Bryan is going to be a real good player in this league for a long time.”
After not playing in the team’s first two games, the freshman Sturdivant has averaged 12.1 mpg and grabbed 4.3 rpg and averages 5.0 ppg.
The Seawolves are two seasons removed from setting their school record in road victories, but this season they are 0-5 in true road games. Their only win outside of Island Federal Credit Union Arena is a Thanksgiving Day blowout of LIU Brooklyn at Madison Square Garden. Stony Brook will try to change that at Canisius on Thursday when it plays the final game of its four-game road trip.
“We’ve been a great road team for a long time, but we’ve also been a very veteran team,” Pikiell said. “This year we’re playing great teams on the road and you have to play great and we haven’t been able to do that yet. That’s a concern for me; you have to learn how to win on the road too.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.