Category Archives: Rider

Rider’s Kevin Baggett on Early Struggles, Seniors

For a team that locked teams down defensively so much last season en route to a second-place finish in the MAAC, Rider head coach Kevin Baggett knew the new rules might hamper his team’s style.

However a 2-4 start combined with struggles to stop teams defensively was not the 2013-14 season’s expectations. The Broncs are 10th in conference scoring defense, allowing 82.7 points per game.

“It has hurt us because we were aggressive, more physical team last year what I was preaching and then this year I’ve told the refs at times we might as well put skirts on these guys because that’s how they want us to play with these new rules,” Baggett said. “I’m just not a fan of them at all.”

The second year coach said he knew his offense would be ahead of where it ranked last season, but they have only notched victories over Central Connecticut and Rice in non-conference play so far this season.

“We’ve been inconsistent,” Baggett said. “I’m riding our seniors a little harder because I just think it starts and ends with them. The games that we’ve lost, besides from the Purdue game, our seniors haven’t played well.”

Senior Anthony Myles leads the team with 18.7 points per game and his classmate Daniel Stewart is not far behind with 14.7 points per game, but the two have traded off being the dominant scorer in games.

“At the end of the day it really comes down to Daniel and Anthony,” Baggett said. “I thought Danny’s been a little more inconsistent so I’ve been harping on him to get more consistent. I think they have to be more of a vocal leader and hold their teammates more accountable and we haen’t done that yet.”

While Baggett is looking for leadership from the seniors he has thrown freshman Jimmie Taylor into the fire early as the team’s starting point guard and said he is coming along through the early season.

“I knew we were going to go through some growing pains with him, but he’s been able to score the ball, but he’s not been very good defensively,” Baggett said of the freshman who averages 11.7 points per game in six games. “He’s just so used to playing zone in high school, it’s taken him some time to learn how to keep the ball in front of him. It’s a big adjustment for him, but it’s going to take some time and that’s where we’re hurting as well because Jon Thompson was great at guarding the other team’s [point guard].”

The Broncs will open conference play tonight at Monmouth and look to continue to establish their defense, who is currently letting opponents make 44-percent of their three-pointers.

“I know we’re capable [defensively] and guarding people and keeping the ball in front, teams are shooting a ridiculous percentage from the floor on us right now, so we have to get that number back down and get to where we’re used to being,” Baggett said.

Baggett said he expects sophomore captain Zedric Sadler, who missed the entire preseason and the first game of the season and has been bothered with patella tendonitis in his knee, to continue to fight through the injury the rest of the season.

“He’s not totally in shape,” Baggett said of Sadler who has averaged 9.6 points per game in five games. “I don’t think he trusts his knee totally, but I think it worries him a little bit because he still has some pain in the knee, but he’s coming along. I just think it’s a matter of him just getting comfortable and being able to tolerate some of the pain in the knee and just getting back in shape and getting his legs under him.”

The sophomore was held out of practice on Tuesday because of the lingering effects of his injury, but Baggett said he hopes that the captain Sadler will improve as the season continues.

“There’s a time when we may need to shut him down and protect him and his knee,” Baggett said. “Any time he’s in and out of the lineup or in and out of practice, you can’t get yourself totally right. I’m just hoping that it won’t be something that goes all year long. I’m hoping eventually that knee will respond and get better and he can get healthy.”

Ryan Restivo covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and America East conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.

NEC Recap – November 23

It’s been rough beginning for the Northeast Conference, as its ten teams have managed to win only 11 of 40 games versus Division I competition. With lots of senior production moving on and Quinnipiac jettisoning for the MAAC, this was to be expected. But no one could have envisioned four NEC clubs – Sacred Heart, Central Connecticut, Mount St. Mary’s and Fairleigh Dickinson – would still be winless at this juncture of the season. Well, at least for the former three. Continue reading

MAAC Breakout Players 2013-14

While the MAAC makes it more difficult than most conferences by naming three all-conference teams in preseason, there are a number of players that could become important pieces for their squads come March. Avoiding (most of) the 17 (yes, 17) players that MAAC named to preseason all-conference teams here are a few players who could impact which team cuts down the nets in Springfield. Continue reading

Rider’s Kevin Baggett on First Recruiting Class

After winning 19 games in his first season, head coach Kevin Baggett’s plan for the future is beginning to take shape at Rider.

Baggett, former assistant to Tommy Dempsey, tweaked the Broncs style including more emphasis on the defensive end and it paid off. The Broncs were the only team to sweep the Buffalo swing to end the MAAC regular season and they finished second in the MAAC standings, their best finish since 2008.

The Broncs future includes a freshmen class of four as well as two transfers who plan on sitting out the 2013-14 season. Three of the team’s four incoming freshmen come from Florida getting Jimmy Taylor, Brandon Channer and headlining the class with Kahlil Thomas.

Baggett’s first recruiting coup began in November when Thomas, a top 20 recruit out of the state of Florida, signed a letter of intent during the early signing period.

“We’re a little weak in the post area, he certainly is going to be a young man that I’m gong to try and lean on and count on early,” Baggett said of Thomas. “He plays so hard. He’s got a high motor, very good defensively, he’s got a great knack for rebounding. He just finds ways to score around the basket as well. He’s still a guy that needs to still develop his offense, but as far as the other parts of his game, he’s very talented and I think he’s got a huge upside for us.”

Baggett reached into Rider’s stomping grounds of New Jersey to grab Xavier Lundy who scored over 2,000 points at Paulsboro high school, winning two South Jersey group 1 titles.

“He’s a scorer and it’s just a matter of just continuing to develop his offense,” Baggett said. “He’s got to develop shooting more consistent which is something that he’s working on this summer. He’s another young man that we’re going to count on, very athletic gets up and down, certainly will fit in the way we want to play.”

Despite Baggett’s changes to push the tempo and defense, his team ranked in the middle of the conference last season in adjusted tempo. Baggett said he would like to get up and down more and said Lundy figures to be a good piece of his pressing style.

One weakness the Broncs will have to solve to be close to the top of the league is their struggle with turnovers. Rider ranked eighth amongst MAAC teams in turnover percentage and getting incoming freshman Jimmy Taylor will give the Broncs a true point guard.

“Jimmy is one of those guys I can’t wait to get in because the one thing I’m excited about is the fact that guys are going to need to run with him and he’s going to get you the ball in the right spot,” Baggett said. “A guy like Jimmy who is used to playing the point will be good because he understands what we’re trying to get done. I’ve had a chance to watch him play quite a bit and understand that his first value is going to be trying to get everybody else involved.”

“I’m excited about him having a chance to come in and guys play with him and understand ‘If I run with this guy he’s going to get us the ball at the right places and at the right times.’ We haven’t had a guy like that in here in a little bit. Jon Thompson was good, he was very good, but he’s a combo guard who did a good job taking care of the ball, getting us in our sets and getting the ball up and down, but not as much as I would like to have gotten the ball up and down.”

Finally the Broncs stayed in Florida to get Brandon Channer, after he spent one prep school year in Tampa, who Baggett said will be a scoring combo guard who can provide some help on the defensive end.

“He can do a number of things,” Baggett said. “Combo guard, can really handle the ball. He’s going to bring that toughness to us.”

Baggett said that he was concerned this past season with replacing the scoring from the 2012 season; a combined 1,095 points scored between seniors Jeff Jones, Novar Gadson and Brandon Penn.

“We’re going to hang our hat defensively and guarding guys. We just need to do a better job of taking care of the ball and want to score more than what we did last year,” Baggett said. “We graduated a lot of points Novar Gadson, Brandon Penn, Jeff Jones, so this past season the team that we had wasn’t as much of a scoring team as it was a team that was just a solid team that we had to find ways to manufacture how we were going to win. Winning those 19 games, again we’re going to hang our hat defensively on guarding guys every night in case we can’t score, but getting better at being able to score the ball as well.”

Juniors Teddy Okereafor and Skylar Scrivano, from VCU and Columbia respectively, are expected to sit out and play during the 2014-15 season. Okereafor started one game for the Rams and scored 42 points in 265 minutes played last season as a sophomore. Scriviano started one game for the Lions and scored 21 points in 82 minutes played as a sophomore.

Ryan Restivo covers Stony Brook, Hofstra and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo. For more on Rider’s non-conference schedule, check out the non-conference schedule tracker.

Rider’s Rowe Leaving for FIU, Griffin Promoted to Assistant

Rider assistant coach Louis Rowe will be leaving the school to join Anthony Evans at Florida International University, head coach Kevin Baggett confirmed.

Baggett said he will promote director of basketball operations John Griffin to the third assistant coach position and bring on Rider alum Paul Johnson to become the director of basketball operations. Continue reading

Nurideen Lindsey to Leave Rider to Pursue Professional Opportunities

Rider junior Nurideen Lindsey will be leaving the program, withdrawing from school to pursue professional opportunities, head coach Kevin Baggett said.

Lindsey and Baggett met to discuss the situation multiple times over the last two weeks with Lindsey finalizing his decision to withdraw from school so that he could go play basketball professionally.

The St. John’s transfer Lindsey received a hardship waiver in October so that he could play right away. He started 30 of 32 games he played for the Broncs and averaged eight points per game in his only season for the team.

“He’s in a hardship situation where he’s wanting to support his family,” Baggett said. “This was a thing that he wanted to do from day one. This was something that he had wanted to come and try and have a great year so he could try and turn professional to be able to support his family.”

“That still is his ultimate goal. It’s not because he doesn’t want to be here, it’s more just from his standpoint trying to support his mom [who] has been very sick and that’s why he got cleared to play this year.”

Baggett said when he met Lindsey after he transferred from St. John’s last season under head coach Tommy Dempsey, Lindsey said his goal was to impress for a season and go pro so that he could help his mother who is sick.

“He said that’s what his ultimate goal was after we had met originally,” Baggett said. “His ultimate goal was to hopefully come and have a great year and be able to turn professional and go on to be able to support his family. That’s the dream that he’s had and that’s the dream that he’s continuing to seek.”

Lindsey was second on the team with 41 steals and shot 43.7% from the field for the season; however, Baggett said he believed Lindsey had higher expectations for himself this season.

“He was great,” Baggett said. “He was a great teammate and I hope that he would have had a better year. It wasn’t because he didn’t try, it wasn’t because he was a bad kid.”

“I didn’t have any problems with Nurideen Lindsey at all, he was a great teammate, he did a great job, came to practice and really worked hard. I thought he got better, I just think that he just didn’t have the year he thought he was going to have or me for that matter.”

Rider will absorb a hit in their NCAA-instituted Academic Progress Rate for Lindsey leaving to go pro as he withdraws from school. This will be the first time under APR rules that Rider has had a player leave to pursue professional opportunities before their senior year. Jason Thompson played all four years at Rider before going to the Sacramento Kings as the 12th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Ryan Restivo covers Stony Brook, Hofstra and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo.

Rider and Canisius Both on the Road In CIT?

It looks like both Rider and Canisius are going to be on the road for the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. We know Rider’s destination already. The Broncs are heading down to play East Carolina. The one up in the air is Canisius. Reading the tea leaves, it makes most sense for the Golden Griffs to go to Youngstown State, but no official game has been announced.

Continue reading