The St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers unveiled their new look to the Remsen Street faithful on Monday night and showed that there is still work to do.
Despite strong scoring efforts from Yunus Hopkinson and Glenn Sanabria, St. Francis fell to Lafayette 74-72.
The Terriers, who are in the midst of an extremely busy week, will next take on Mount Saint Vincent at 7:30 pm on Wednesday.
Here are three thoughts from the game.
1) The Terriers big men are still a work in progress.
All of the size Glenn Braica had to work with last season graduated, leaving a big hole in the middle of the court. Right now the center spot, and occasionally the power forward spot, are being held down by inexperienced big men. They all have potential, but all of them got into foul trouble in the first half against the Leopards.
Braica did his best to work through it. “That’s what we’ve been doing,” Braica said. “They’re all young, they have no experience and we have to go through some of this stuff and that’s just reality. They’re getting more comfortable.”
Here’s a bullet point version of each.
- Josh Nurse: Nurse is definitely raw, but with athletic potential. He was 1-3 from the field in seven minutes. It appears he has the physical skills to one day be the backbone of Braica’s defense. But this season might be a little too early.
- Jahmel Bodrick: Bodrick looks a little like former Terrier Chris Hooper, but with slightly less height. He looks most comfortable with his back to the basket. Bodrick also did some decent work on defense.
- Darrelle Porter: A lanky big man who is definitely more suited for the 4 than the 5, Porter looks confident stepping out beyond the arc (he went 2-5 from 3 against Lafayette). He was rather active on the glass, grabbing five rebounds. Porter’s biggest weaknesses are just bearing down defensively and a tendency to try and do too much on the offensive end at times.
- Jagos Lasic: Due to the foul trouble Lasic received extensive playing time in the first half. He showed that he’s extremely raw offensively, committing three turnovers and shooting 1-3 from the field.
All four need to be coached up. “We have guys that in a perfect world might be playing eight minutes a game or five minutes a game,” Braica said. “We’re just throwing them in there to the fire and we have no choice. … I think they’re going to be good in time, but right now they need some experience and they need to learn some things.”
2) Sanabria and Hopkinson provide a powerful 1-2 punch
The return of Glenn Sanabria after he missed a season due to a shoulder injury is just what the Terriers needed in their backcourt. The redshirt sophomore’s return gives Braica two all-NEC caliber players to put into the point guard spot. Early it was Sanabria who took the shots and controlled the offense. He ended up scoring 21 points. But late it was Hopkinson’s turn. He hit a number of big shots to take the lead back for SFC and finished with 20 points, after scoring just three in the first half.
Sanabria looks comfortable in the lead guard role, he had seven assists, which should free Hopkinson up to look for better shots. While that hasn’t been the case early in the season, the Terriers have also played some extremely tough competition. As NEC play beckons in a little more than three weeks expect Braica to lean even more on those two.
“We do need them to take the majority of the shots, but we need them to take good ones,” Braica said about Sanabria and Hopkinson.
3) The defense still needs a lot of work.
Behind Hopkinson, Sanabria, and 17 offense rebounds the Terriers scored enough points to pull out a victory over the visiting Leopards, but the defense let SFC down. In the first half it was the transition defense that let Lafayette back into the game. In the second half the Leopards kept running the offense through Matt Klinewski. The Terriers had no answer for him and the Leopards’ leading scorer finished with 30 points and nine rebounds.
Braica said after the game that the team still needs to find its “foundation” on defense.
“We don’t have our foundation set yet,” Braica said. “Every year since I’ve been here we’ve had a foundation and we’ve played a certain way. Part of it is that we have so many new guys, so many young guys, and part of it is that we’ve had so many games and we haven’t had any practice time lately and everything slipped.”
Playing so many games has helped the Terriers gain valuable experience, but it has also created some lazy habits. Braica hopes that some more practice after this current stretch of games will help tighten things back up on the defensive side of the ball.
The biggest thing that seemed to be missing against Lafayette was the help defense. Too often single defenders were left out on an island and gave up easy moves to the rim. Lafayette turned the ball over 14 times, but was about to shoot 56% on 2-point attempts. Given how raw the big men are it’ll be interesting to see how Braica tries to guard front courts such as Bryant’s Marcel Pettway and Dan Garvin. The Bulldogs are the Terriers first NEC opponent on Dec. 29, so Braica has a little more than three weeks left to figure it out.