Monday, November 19, 2012

Men's Preview: Young Marist Set To Move Forward

Here's another in the series previewing conference teams for this season.

Up now ...


2011-12 RECORD: 7-11 in MAAC play, 14-18 overall. Won a play-in round conference tournament game, 64-52, over Saint Peter's; lost a quarterfinal-round contest, 87-63, against Iona.

KEY LOSSES: Guard R.J. Hall (4.2 ppg.).

KEY RETURNEES: 6-1 senior guard Devin Price (13.6 points, 4.7 rebounds per game last season), 6-10 junior center Ada Kemp (5.5, 7.2), 6-5 sophomore swingman Chavaughn Lewis (14.4, 4.7), 6-5 junior swingman Jay Bowie (7.3, 4.3), 6-1 sophomore guard T.J. Curry (2.0, 0.7), 5-8 sophomore guard Isaiah Morton (7.8, 1.7), 6-5 sophomore guard Many Thomas (2.7, 1.7).

KEY NEWCOMER: 6-10, 240-pound freshman center Eric Truog.

NOTES: There had been considerable turnover on the roster in recent years, but a very young squad seemed to turn things around late last season with a 7-3 record in its last 10 games ...  a 1-2 start so far in non-league play this year, the losses to decent mid-majors Colgate and Stony Brook (by three points), and the victory over Columbia ... Not too many changes since a year ago, except at the point guard spot where sophomore T.J. Curry has supplanted another sophomore, Isaiah Morton, in the starting lineup ... It appears to be a case of Curry taking care of the ball better. He has a 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio so far (12-3), while Morton only has two assists and five turnovers to date and had more turnovers (84) than assists (83) last season. Morton, though, is the first guard off the bench and is still getting considerable minutes (18.3 per contest)...Other than Dorvell Carter, who only played three games a year ago, the top six scorers are back from last season, yet the Red Foxes are still relatively young. The only senior in the playing group is Devin Price, who struggled somewhat earlier in his career after head coach Chuck Martin came aboard, but became one of the league's better guards last year and has picked up where he left off this year (14.3 ppg.) ... Of the top eight players, only two others are juniors, four are sophomores and one is a freshman ... Kemp, who had foot issues late last season, appears back to full health and is averaging 11.0 points and 10.0 rebounds thus far ... Lewis's numbers are down a little (he's averaging 10.7 ppg. so far), but he's one of the best young players in the conference ... Lewis and Bowie (5.7, 5.3) make a nice wing duo ... The top three subs are Morton at guard, Manny Thomas on the wing and 6-10, 240-pound freshman Eric Truog (2.0, 3.0) in the post ... There seems to be enough talent in place for Marist to take another step forward this season.

MARIST'S STRENGTHS: There's good young talent at every position, and at least three strong reserves so depth, barring future injuries, won't be an issue ... The Red Foxes, though, have to maintain the progress they made late last season. Was that a result of surprising some teams late, or a young team finally starting to mature? Price is a certified sniper (6 treys in three games, thus far). Kemp is as good a true "center" as there is in the league, particularly if he continues to score in double figures ... Truog looks like a good back up for Kemp ... Curry is an efficient point guard, although not as flashy as Morton.

MARIST'S WEAKNESSES: Other than Kemp and Truog, both centers (and, they won't likely be together on the court very often), there isn't another "big" getting minutes thus far; there's no true power forward. Marist has to make due with a center and two "wing" players as its front court, so rebounding might become an issue. And, the team is still relatively young. MAAC teams that rely mostly on upperclassmen traditionally have the most success. Marist has only one senior and two juniors among its top eight players.

REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS: That 7-3 finish a year ago was nice, but it might be too much to ask for the team to extend that through a full season and produce something like a 21-9 record. The Red Foxes are probably a year away from being able to contend for a spot in the top three of four standing positions. But, there's a good chance Marist can finish out of the play-in round of the MAAC's post-season tournament. Figure Marist to finish somewhere between fourth and eighth.

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