When American met Boston University for the first time this season, the teams were a combined 1-7 in conference play, both reeling from critical injuries. Fast-forward a month, and in true Patriot League fashion, everything has changed: Both squads had leapt up the standings, winning four of their last five games before Wednesday’s meeting. Continue reading
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Amongst the alleged crumbling of American society, there are two bastions of hope that refuse to allow excuses to infiltrate thought and slow down society: team sports and the military.
Therefore it was not surprising that the first words out of Army coach Zach Spiker’s mouth after another frustrating evening that culminated in a 76-67 loss to Boston University Wednesday night were: “Injuries are no excuse”.
His opposing number, Joe Jones, begged to differ a little. After all, Tanner Plomb was averaging 21.8 points per game (14th best in the nation) and making a case for Patriot League Player of the Year before going down with a knee injury and missing the last four games. Fellow senior Kevin Ferguson is a four-year contributor, and at 6’10”, essential to everything Army does as a rim protector, and now he has been out for three games with an ankle injury.
Momentum is fickle in the Patriot League.
When Boston University entered halftime of Monday’s game with an eight-point lead on Loyola (MD), it seemed to reinforce both teams’ trajectories. The Terriers were surging, having followed an 0-3 start to league play with two straight wins. The Greyhounds were slumping, dropping their last two after opening 3-0. Continue reading
Navy’s style doesn’t belong in the Patriot League. In a sea of teams that score lots of points and often give up just as many, the Midshipmen prefer wars of attrition. They entered Wednesday with the nation’s #77 defense per KenPom — 150 spots ahead of their next-best foe — and the second least-efficient offense. But they exploded for an 83-67 win at Boston University. Continue reading
Lafayette and Boston University each entered Saturday with top-50 offenses and bottom-50 defenses, promising lots of points for their meeting at Agganis Arena. Though the score wasn’t high, thanks to a slow pace and some missed shots, the game was predictably decided by who had the ball last. Reserve guard Zach Rufer’s layup with two seconds left gave the Leopards a 63-62 win, ending their two-game skid and handing BU its first conference loss. Continue reading
Projecting the impact of freshmen and how they will perform in their first season playing Division 1 hoops – unless one happens to be a Top 100 recruit – isn’t exactly a foolproof science. While coaches are still in the process of deciphering what their regular rotation will look like once the season begins, the following eight freshmen project to be some of the better ones in the Patriot League, and will have an immediate impact for their respective teams. With the additions of Boston University and Loyola to the league last season, the influx of talent continues to become better and better. Loyola will be forced to lean heavily on its freshmen class, while Bucknell – who will have a few talented freshmen on its roster – should not be as reliant. Let’s begin with my preseason all-rookie team.
[One caveat: Given the high number of freshmen both Army and Navy bring into their programs and stash at MAPS (Military Academy Prep School) and NAPS (Naval Academy Prep School) it is often tough to gauge just how good each program’s freshmen class will be at the outset of each season. Your guess is as good as ours who the top freshmen will be for each team.]
Kahron Ross, Lehigh – Lehigh’s past two starting point guards – Marquis Hall and Mackey McKnight – were both four year starters at the position. Based on reports out of Bethlehem, it seems like Kahron Ross may be on that same track as he projects to start for Lehigh in their season-opener against Villanova.
Eric Johnson, Boston University – The second season in the Patriot League for Joe Jones will likely not go as smoothly as their inaugural one as the Terriers were picked to finish in the middle-of-the-pack; that’s what happens when D.J. Irving and Dom Morris graduate, and Mo Watson transfers. Having to replace much of the production in the backcourt, Jones will likely lean on Eric Johnson. Johnson has good size for a point guard standing at 6-foot-2.
Mitchell Hahn, Holy Cross – It’s no secret that Holy Cross is thin up front with graduation claiming Dave Dudzinski. The only proven forwards Milan Brown returns are Taylor Abt and Malachi Alexander. Mitchell Hahn, Holy Cross’ lone freshman, will be one of the first three of the bench for the Crusaders, and has an opportunity to receive immediate minutes at the 3 and 4 positions. At 6-foot-8, Hahn can fill it up from the perimeter.
Cam Gregory, Loyola – G.G. Smith has been fighting an uphill battle the day he accepted the head coaching job at Loyola prior to the 2013-14 season. His predecessor, Jimmy Patsos, took many of Loyola’s top recruits with him to Siena, which left Smith in a bind for his first season at the helm. Entering his second season, Smith will be without Dylon Cormier – the top player from last year’s team – along with senior point guard R.J. Williams, who is no longer listed on the roster. Playing time will be available from the outset for the young Greyhounds, and expect forward Cam Gregory to benefit from it. Gregory was a highly-coveted recruit in the Patriot League, and will be expected to produce immediately for Loyola. At 6-foot-8, Gregory reportedly has the ability to play with his back to the basket, something that isn’t always common for freshmen big men at the mid-major level.
Nana Foulland, Bucknell – Bucknell is fairly deep in their frontcourt this season, but minutes will be available with Brian Fitzpatrick having graduated. Foulland was perhaps the premier recruit in the Patriot League for the 2014 recruiting class, boasting offers from Delaware, George Mason, Fairfield, Old Dominion, UMass, and Seton Hall among others. Foulland is a big body who can run the floor, and excels on the defensive end with exceptional shot blocking and rebounding ability. Dave Paulsen got a good one.
J.C. Show, Bucknell – It would be funny to be a fly on the wall for a discussion between Bucknell’s head football coach Joe Susan and Dave Paulsen. Show, who was a tremendous high school athlete and excelled on the gridiron, could most definitely find himself contributing to the Bison’s football team in some capacity this season, but he elected to take his talents to the hardwood, instead. Paulsen may have found his point guard of the future in Show, but minutes may be hard to come by at the position with Steven Kaspar and Ryan Frazier both returning for their senior and junior seasons, respectively.
Cheddi Mosely, Boston University – Eric Johnson may take over for Mo Watson at point guard, but look for Cheddi Mosely to slide in – along with Wagner transfer Eric Fanning – and help fill the void D.J. Irving left in the two-guard position. The 6-foot-3 combo guard from St. Anthony’s in New Jersey excels from the perimeter, but also can go off-the-dribble. Joe Jones has set up Boston University well for the future with Johnson and Mosely manning the backcourt.
Colton Bishop, Loyola – G.G. Smith was thrown a curveball when starting point guard R.J. Williams was allegedly tossed off the team in October. Williams has struggled to stay in line at Loyola as he was suspended in October of 2012 for a violation of team rules that kept him sidelined for half of the season. Without Williams, and Jevon Patton transferring to Northeast Oklahoma A&M, Bishop will likely be forced into immediate playing time.
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