Mark Nwakamma came out to jump center on Senior Night Saturday just as he had for almost every game of his collegiate career for Hartford. Only when the referee tossed the ball, Nwakamma didn’t even jump, allowing Stony Brook to control the ball. The whistle then blew, Nwakamma shook hands with everyone and walked off the Chase Family Arena floor for the final time.
It was all prearranged, Hartford choosing not to risk Nwakamma’s pesky bone bruise on his knee with the America East Tournament looming Wednesday and both teams’ seeds set. However, it basically served to give junior Jameel Warney free reign he probably didn’t need, but his conference Player of the Year campaign was given a nice boost with 32 points and 18 rebounds as the Seawolves cruised to a 74-59 win in the regular season finale for both teams.
Score one for not taking performances in early-season games too much to heart, I guess.
When they came into the TD Bank Sports Center on Nov. 14, Hartford was full of pith and confidence, picked second in America East, full of veteran players (six seniors and returning all five starters), and led by All-America East selection Mark Nwakamma, the Hawks were matched up with Sacred Heart in the season-opening CT 6 Classic at Quinnipiac and figured to have a fairly easy time with the Pioneers, coming up a 6-25 campaign and picked dead last in the NEC preseason coaches poll.
Hartford head coach John Gallagher held out Nate Sikma on the team’s trip to Australia and hoped that the senior would be ready for the season. Continue reading
What a difference a few weeks can make for a rebuilding program. When John Gallagher’s Hartford Hawks were set to battle the New Hampshire Wildcats on the night of January 5th of 2012, the Hawks were still searching for their first victory after failing in their previous 13 attempts. Along with struggling conference mates Binghamton and UMBC, Hartford helped drag a once proud America East down to one of the worst Division I conferences in the nation.