Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Preview

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Preview
Nov 06, 2006, 01:54 am

-1. MARIST. The Red Foxes are hands down the most talented and experienced team in the conference and are clearly the team to beat this year. Four starters are back, including guard Jared Jordan who is one of the best in the league. He averaged over 16ppg and 8apg last season. Will Washington was also a double figure scorer last year and he rounds out a very talented backcourt. 7’0” center James Smith is a great scorer and rebounder and forward Ryan Stilphen can also go to the glass and score the ball. Both players averaged in double figures last season. This is a well balanced and very talented team who could not only end up winning the conference, but doing some damage beyond that. They don’t have too many heavyweights on their schedule, but they are in the Old Spice Classic this year with teams like Southern Illinois, Arkansas, Minnesota and West Virginia. That and the Bracket Buster may be their best shot at statement wins when it comes to being seeded for the NCAA Tournament.

-2. SIENA. The Saints were 10-8 in league play last year, which was much better than most people expected, but they lost their top two scorers from last year’s team and have five new freshman on this year’s lineup. Guards Tay Fisher and Kenny Hasbrouck both averaged in double figures last year and return to the lineup this year. They should really give the Saints a boost in the backcourt. Forward David Ryan is a good scorer, but their front court appears to be unproven. It will really have to step up if they want to continue to build their program back up to the level to where it can compete for the league title.

-3. NIAGARA. The Purple Eagles fell apart at the very end of last season losing four of their last five, but they do have four starters coming back and appear to have a very good front court. Forwards Clif Brown and Charron Fisher are both great scorers and rebounders. The fact that Fisher is only 6’3” didn’t stop him from pulling down 8 boards a game last season. Both players also averaged in double figures. Lorenzo Miles was also very effective at the guard position. If they play up to their potential they could be a very dangerous team this year.

-4. SAINT PETER’S. The Peacocks suffered two big setbacks this offseason. One was the loss of Keydren Clark, who averaged 26.2ppg last season and really helped lift this program out of the basement of this conference. The other was the retirement of coach Bob Leckie, who did wonders for this program. When he arrived on campus this was one of the worst teams in all of division one. By the time he left they had been finishing in the middle of the league or better on a regular basis and even advanced to the championship game a season ago. The good news is they have a lot of talent coming back and if those guys can step up in the absence of Clark they can continue to build up this program. Guards Kaimondre Owes and Raul Orta will be heavily depended on this year. Forward Todd Sowell averaged in double figures last year and will need to step up as well.

-5. LOYOLA, MD. The Greyhounds were 8-10 in league play last year, which was a major improvement from where they had been finishing. Unfortunately they had two contributing players transfer out and another who was denied a sixth year of eligibility. They really don’t appear to have a go-to guy, but they do share the scoring pretty evenly. Michael Tuck is a force underneath who can both score and rebound. Center Hassan Fofana is also a force underneath. This team needs someone to step up on the perimeter though.

-6. IONA. The Gaels were the conference champions last year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament where they fell to LSU, who was an eventual Final Four team. With four starters gone, the Gaels are once again in rebuilding mode. Six new players join the squad and inexperience will be a huge factor for this team. Gary Springer is the only returning starter and although he didn’t put up big stats last year, they will still look to him for leadership this year.

-7. MANHATTAN. After winning the regular season title, it has been a rough offseason for the Jaspers. Head coach Bobby Gonzalez bolted for Seton Hall. C.J. Anderson was dismissed from the team. Jason Wingate graduated. Jeff Xavier transferred, and two of their recruits decommitted. It could be a very rough season for a team who has been near the top lately. Forward Arturo Dubois returns to the starting lineup, who averaged 15.8ppg last year, but he might not have a very good supporting cast. Seven new players join the squad and with a lack of experienced and what appears to be a lack of talent it could be a long year for the Jaspers.

-8. CANISIUS. The Golden Griffins were extremely inconsistent last year and appeared to not play up to their potential. They do have three good players coming back in forwards Darnell Wilson and Corey Herring and guard Chuck Harris, all of whom averaged double figures last season. However, that didn’t translate into that many wins. Working together as a unit could be this team’s biggest problem. If they can fix that they could certainly end up higher in the standings than they did a season ago.

-9. FAIRFIELD. The Stags were a team that went deep into their bench last year and looked to multiple people to step up, but no one really emerged as a leader other than Terrance Todd, who was the leading scorer. Unfortunately he is not back this year. Success won’t be easy for the Stags this year. They completely fell apart down the stretch last season and it could be even more difficult for them this year without their best player. Michael Van Shaick and Jonathan Hann return to the starting lineup this year, who should give them some experience in the backcourt, but other than that they look pretty thin.

-10. RIDER. The Broncs have two good players in guard Jason Thompson, a big man who can both score and rebound, and guard Terrance Mouton, but don’t have anyone other than that who is a proven player. This team lost nine out of ten last season and finished last in the league. There is the potential for improvement though, but a lack of depth and strength in other areas could be a problem.


-For those that missed my first blog entry, each conference preview will also include a random order of finish. It sounds just like what it is. Teams are drawn at random and placed in order. The purpose for this is to demonstrate that at the end of the season, generally every single major and minor media preseason preview (including my own) isn’t all that more accurate than simply randomly picking the teams.

1. Manhattan
2. Siena
3. Niagara
4. Iona
5. Loyola, MD
6. Canisius
7. Fairfield
8. Marist
9. Rider
10. Saint Peter’s

-Please feel free to send me feedback at, whether it’s good or bad. Some conferences are harder to research and write about than other conferences, so every comment and critique helps so long as it’s constructive.

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