Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Off-Season Report: Small Steps at Marist

The major league baseball network has its "30 Teams in 30 Days" reports. And, now, the MAAC blog has its own version.

Call it "10 Teams in 10 Days."

In coming weeks, we'll take a look at all 10 league programs, first men and, then, women. Each report will include a look back and a look ahead. Hope you'll be looking forward to reading it all. Please note, though, that the so-called late signing period for recruits is ongoing so the list of incoming recruits will grow in subsequent weeks. This blog will produce a full recruiting list after the signing period ends.

We'll do the "10 teams in 10 days" reports in reverse order of finish in this past season's standings. First up ...

MARIST (1-17 in MAAC play, 1-29 overall)

2009-10 FINAL RPI: 334 of 347 Division I teams nationally.

RECAP: The 1-17 finish matches the worst conference record in history. Only Loyola's teams of 2002-03 and 2003-04 also had 1-17 records. The 1-29 overall record is the worst ever recorded by a conference team. The only other MAAC team to go through a season with a single overall victory was the 2003-04 Loyola team, which finished 1-27. It is not a stretch to rank the 2009-10 Marist team as the worst ever in the conference's 29-year history. The team's only victory was on Jan. 2 over Manhattan. It enters the 2010-11 season with an 18-game losing streak.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The start of a building process. Freshman swingman Candon Rusin, a 6-foot-4 sharpshooter, averaged 9.5 points per game. Freshman point guard Devin Price averaged 9.1 points and 2.6 assists. Freshman Sam Prescott, a 6-3 guard, averaged 7.5 points in 18 games before he was declared academically ineligible for the second semester. Freshman 6-7 forward Rob Johnson averaged 6.6 points and 3.2 rebounds. Despite all the problems, coach Chuck Martin's team never stopped playing with enthusiasm and effort.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Let us count the ways ... Three players were academically suspended for portions of the season, including 6-10 Villanova transfer Casiem Drummond who was projected to be the standout piece that could have made the team respectable last season. Instead, Drummond never played a game for the Red Foxes and, after his academic issues, transferred to an NAIA school. Prescott (second semester) and sophomore guard R.J. Hall (first semester) also had academic issues. This past year's team was far too young, far too small and not yet talented enough to be competitive. The team averaged just 56.1 points per game and got outscored by an average of 14.4 per night. Two potential key pieces for next season are also gone. Daye Kaba, an athletic 6-3 guard and Boston College transfer who was this season's third-leading scorer, gave up his final season of eligibility to embark on a professional career overseas. And, Naofall Folahan, a 6-10, 220-pound recruit signed during last fall's early period, received his release from that commitment recently and will likely play at a higher level. Only one other team nationally, Bryant, had as poor an overall record as Marist's 1-29 mark.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Things can't get any worse, right? There will be progress, but don't expect championship contention. This year's freshmen will be sophomores next season in a league where veteran leadership/experience is invaluable, so don't look for much more than a small step forward. Rusin and Price should eventually become one of the league's better backcourts. Prescott adds an athletic perimeter presence. R.J. Hall and Dejuan Goodwin provide some backcourt depth. But while the perimeter group will be solid, the Red Foxes need much help up front. Senior-to-be 6-9 center Korey Bauer (7.8 points, 6.5 rebounds) is a "banger," but doesn't rank among the league's elite big men. Same with Johnson (6.6, 3.2). Freshman Manelik Watson, a 6-8, 270-pound forward who red-shirted this season, will likely get thrown into the inside mix. Adam Kemp, a 6-9 center, is a signed incoming recruit, but most scouting services rate him primarily as a "project" right now.

PREDICTION FOR 2010-11: A little better, but still way too young and not enough talent on the roster to expect an escape from the conference's cellar. It's hard to envision the Red Foxes winning more than four league games and even approaching eight-to-10 overall victories. But, that would be improvement in an on-going growing process that might start paying dividends the following season.

1 comment:

Troy said...