2013-14 Patriot League Men's Basketball Preseason Preview

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG

Nov. 1, 2013

CENTER VALLEY, Pa.- Two stars gone after being selected in the NBA Draft. Two new teams who are expected to make an instant impact. If nothing else, change will be in the air as the 2013-14 men's basketball season tips off for all 10 Patriot League teams Friday.

2013-14 Patriot League Men's Basketball Media Guide

One of the new members already has a bulls-eye, as Boston University picked up all 18 available first-place votes and 162 points to earn a clear top ranking in last week's Patriot League preseason poll. The Terriers were followed by Lafayette (130/2 first-place votes), Army (115), Bucknell (113) , Loyola University Maryland (109), Lehigh (93), Holy Cross (70), Colgate (49), American (36) and Navy (23).

The Terriers will also enter their first Patriot League season with the Preseason Player of the Year, as senior guard DJ Irving was given the honor and joined on the senior-laden Preseason All-Patriot League Team by Bucknell guard Cameron Ayers, Loyola Maryland guard Dylon Cormier, Lehigh guard Mackey McKnight and Holy Cross forward Dave Dudzinski. Patriot League Preseason Poll and All-League Team

The men's basketball season begins on Friday, with the 18-game Patriot League schedules opening up for all teams on Jan. 2. The Patriot League Tournament will include all teams and be played entirely at home sites, and concludes with the championship on March 12 at 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. 2013-14 Patriot League Composite Schedule

A synopsis is included below for each of the 10 Patriot League teams, and also features video interviews conducted with coaches at Men's Basketball Media Day on Oct. 24. Teams are listed in order of their position in the preseason poll. More information on each team and the entire Patriot League can be found in the 2013-14 Men's Basketball Media Guide

For a playlist of all men's basketball head coaches' interviews, as well as the preseason poll video, go here

BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS

PRESEASON POLL: 1st
PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: D.J. Irving, (Sr., G) (Preseason POY)
2012-13 RECORD: 17-13 Overall, 11-5 America East (2nd)
POSTSEASON: Lost at Loyola Maryland in first round of College Insider Tournament (CIT)
HEAD COACH: Joe Jones, 3rd Season at BU/ 10th Season Overall - 119-137 Overall, 33-29 BU

The Terriers wear the bulls-eye entering their first season in the Patriot League, and were picked first in the preseason poll for good reason with a host of top players returning.

Senior guard DJ Irving was named the Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year after averaging 14.2 points and 3.6 assists per game to earn first-team America East recognition last year. Irving enters his senior season with 392 career assists and a spot as a Lou Henson Preseason All-American.

Senior forward Dom Morris was a third-team America East pick with 11.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Maurice Watson Jr. had 11.2 points and 5.4 assists per game to join Morris on the third team. The Terriers have every player who averaged more than two points per game back in the lineup this year, with John Papale (9.3 ppg), Malik Thomas (7.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Travis Robinson (6.7 ppg) and Nathan Dieudonne (4.5 ppg) also returning. Highly-touted freshman Cedric Hankerson also joins the lineup.

Boston University plays a challenging slate including games against Connecticut, Harvard, Maryland and Saint Joseph's before playing its first Patriot League contest at home against Holy Cross on Jan. 2.

LAFAYETTE LEOPARDS

PRESEASON POLL: 2nd
2012-13 RECORD: 19-15 Overall/10-4 Patriot League (T2nd)
PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Beat Holy Cross in quarterfinals; Beat Lehigh in semifinals; Lost to Bucknell in championship
HEAD COACH: Fran O'Hanlon, 19th Season at Lafayette/Overall - 258-275 overall/Lafayette, 122-119 Patriot League

Lafayette has enjoyed an impressive run of success in recent seasons, but had to play the role of bridesmaid with runner-up finishes in three of the last four Patriot League Tournaments. The Leopards hope to make the final step in 2013-14, even as they try to replace first-team All-Patriot League point guard Tony Johnson.

There is one All-Patriot League player back, as Seth Hinrichs was the team's leading scorer last season with 14.5 points per game. Hinrichs also fits perfectly into Lafayette's perimeter offense as he is currently the Patriot League all-time leader with a 45.9% mark from three-point range.

Dan Trist (12.4 ppg), Joey Ptasinski (9.6 ppg) and Bryce Scott (8.2 ppg) are also back for a team that won seven straight games before falling to Bucknell in the League title contest. Six other players saw action in at least 20 games last year, while four freshmen join the competition for playing time.

Lafayette has seven road games on its non-League schedule, including a trip to Villanova to open the season on Nov. 8 and visit to Seton Hall as the final game before Patriot League play on Dec. 27.

ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS

PRESEASON POLL: 3rd
2012-13 RECORD: 16-15 overall, 8-6 Patriot League (4th)
PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Beat American in quarterfinals; Lost to Bucknell in semifinals
HEAD COACH: Zach Spiker, 5th Season at Army/Overall - 53-67 Overall/Army, 20-36 Patriot League

Coming off its best season in the Patriot League era, Army hopes its outstanding freshman class continues to develop as it seeks its first League title.

The Black Knights had their first-ever winning Patriot League record and first winning overall mark since 1984-85 last season, and have plenty of key pieces back. Kyle Wilson (13.0 ppg) was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year while Dylan Cox (5.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Kevin Ferguson (3.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and Larry Toomey (6.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg) all emerged as key contributors in their freshman seasons. The Black Knights have the veteran leadership of Josh Herbeck (7.9 ppg), though they do lose two significant scorers in first-team All-League selection Ella Ellis (17.0 ppg) and Kyle Toth (8.2 ppg).

Army has a large roster that includes seven incoming freshman who competed for the United States Military Academy Preparatory School last season. The Black Knights again field a young team, with Herbeck as the only senior on the squad.

BUCKNELL BISON

PRESEASON POLL: 4th
PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Cameron Ayers (Sr., G)
2012-13 RECORD: 28-6 Overall, 12-2 Patriot League (1st)
PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Beat Navy in quarterfinals; Beat Army in semifinals; Beat Lafayette in championship
POSTSEASON: Lost to Butler in second round of NCAA Tournament
HEAD COACH: Dave Paulsen, 6th Season at Bucknell/20th Season Overall - 361-185 Overall, 99-65 Bucknell, 50-20 Patriot League

An unprecedented three consecutive outright regular-season titles, two trips to the NCAA Tournament and another to the NIT had Bucknell as the top dog in the Patriot League for the past three years. To stay that way, the Bison will have to overcome the loss of one of the best classes in school and Patriot League history.

Mike Muscala, who stands fourth in Patriot League history in scoring and second in rebounding and blocked shots, was a second round NBA Draft pick and is beginning his professional career in Spain. His dependable classmates, Joe Willman and Bryson Johnson, have also moved on to create three big holes in the Bison lineup.

The Bison do bring back one very important piece in Ayers (12.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg), who finished second on the team in scoring last year. No other returning player averaged more than three points per game last year, though Ryan Frazier, Steven Kaspar and Ryan Hill shared the point guard position while Brian Fitzpatrick and Dom Hoffman saw time in the frontcourt. Freshmen D.J. MacLeay, John Azzinaro and Ben Oberfeld will also try to make contributions in their first year.

Bucknell plays at Stanford, Penn State and St. John's in the first two weeks of the season, and has seven non-League road games before beginning defense of its Patriot League title on Jan. 2 at home against American.

LOYOLA MARYLAND GREYHOUNDS

PRESEASON POLL: 5th
PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Dylon Cormier (Sr. G)
2012-13 RECORD: 23-12 Overall, 12-6 MAAC (T2nd)
MAAC TOURNAMENT: Lost to Manhattan in quarterfinals
POSTSEASON: College Insider Tournament (CIT): Beat Boston University in first round, Beat Kent State in second round, Lost to East Carolina in quarterfinals
HEAD COACH: G.G. Smith, 1st Season at Loyola Maryland/Overall

Loyola Maryland enters its transition to the Patriot League with plenty of transition on the roster, with first-year Head Coach G.G. Smith taking over a team that lost three of its top four scorers after making the quarterfinals of the College Insider Tournament (CIT) last season.

The good news for the Greyhounds is the return of top scorer Dylon Cormier (16.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg), who leads all Patriot League players with 1,213 points in his career. While Erik Etherly, Robert Olson and Anthony Winbush have all moved on after combining for over 35 points per game, the cupboard is not bare with RJ Williams (4.9 ppg, 4.0 apg) entering his junior season after playing in only 17 games last year. Five other student-athletes who played in at least 27 games last season also return to the court for the Greyhounds in 2013-14.

Loyola Maryland will take on a non-League schedule that includes games against Connecticut, West Virginia, Saint Joseph's and Miami (Fla.) before playing its first Patriot League game at home against Navy on Jan. 2.

LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS

PRESEASON POLL: 6th
PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Mackey McKnight (Sr., G)
2012-13 RECORD: 21-10 Overall, 10-4 Patriot League (T2nd)
PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Beat Colgate in quarterfinals; Lost to Lafayette in semifinals
POSTSEASON: Lost at Wyoming in College Basketball Invitational (CBI) first round
HEAD COACH: Brett Reed, 7th Season at Lehigh/Overall - 115-73 Overall/Lehigh, 49-35 Patriot League

Replacing the Patriot League's all-time leading scorer (and top-10 NBA Draft pick), CJ McCollum, would be hard enough. But throw in the loss of two other players who have gone on to continue their career overseas, and Lehigh has its work cut it out to continue its recent success in the Patriot League.

Without McCollum, as well as Holden Greiner and Gabe Knutson, Lehigh's top returning scorer is Mackey McKnight (11.9 ppg). The preseason All-Patriot League guard also led the League with 4.9 assists per game last year, and will look to dish off to long-range shooters Anthony D'Orazio (6.4 ppg), Stefan Cvrklaj (4.7 ppg) and Corey Schaefer (4.6 ppg). Justin Goldsborough and Conroy Baltimore have experience in the frontcourt, while Lehigh also brings in six freshmen and has Jesse Chuku ready to go after sitting out last season.

The Mountain Hawks take on a non-League schedule that features visits to Minnesota, Houston and Pittsburgh, as well as a three-game homestand at Stabler Arena in December.

HOLY CROSS CRUSADERS

PRESEASON POLL: 7th
PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Dave Dudzinski (Sr., F)
2012-13 RECORD: 12-18 Overall, 4-10 Patriot League (7th)
PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Lost to Lafayette in quarterfinals
HEAD COACH: Milan Brown, 4th Season at Holy Cross/11th Season Overall - 130-173 Overall, 35-53 Holy Cross, 20-22 Patriot League

After finishing under .500 in Patriot League play for the first time since 2010, Holy Cross will look to veterans Dave Dudzinski and Justin Burrell to lead the way back in 2013-14.

Dudzinski (15.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg) led the team in both scoring and rebounding, and is the third-highest returning scorer and top returning rebounder in the League. Burrell (12.1 ppg, 3.7 apg), the 2012 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, will have the keys to the offense at point guard once again.

Cullen Hamilton (6.3 ppg) and Malcolm Miller (5.7) provide additional scoring options for the Crusaders, though the graduation of three players from last year's team means that no other returnee averaged more than three points per game. The Crusaders have two other players who saw action in at least 15 games last year, and five freshmen ready to compete for playing time.

Holy Cross takes on perhaps the most difficult non-League schedule of all 10 teams, facing five squads who made the NCAA Tournament last season with trips to North Carolina on Nov. 15 and national runner-up Michigan on Dec. 28.

COLGATE RAIDERS

PRESEASON POLL: 8th
2012-13 RECORD: 11-21 Overall, 5-9 Patriot League (T5th)
PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Lost to Lehigh in quarterfinals
HEAD COACH: Matt Langel, 3rd Season at Colgate/Overall - 19-43 Overall/Colgate, 7-21 Patriot League

Colgate had its best season in three years in 2012-13, going 11-21 overall and 5-9 in the Patriot League to finish a tie for fifth place that was the best showing for the Raiders since 2009. While the Raiders lose some pieces from that squad, they have one of the top scorers in the Patriot League back in Murphy Burnatowski.

Burnatowski averaged 17.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last year, and the second-team All-Patriot League pick is the League's top returning scorer. He has help from a couple of returning starters with second-leading scorer Pat Moore (9.8 ppg) and Luke Roh (4.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.5 apg), who finished in the top six in the Patriot League in both rebounds and assists, back on the floor in 2013-14.

The Raiders can also look to newcomers to fill in some of the departures from the roster, which included Mitch Rolls and Brandon James. Austin Tillotson and Ethan Jacobs are both ready to step in after sitting out last season following a transfer to Colgate, while a handful of other returnees saw time last year and five freshmen have been added to the roster.

Colgate plays a daunting non-League schedule that includes trips to Wake Forest, Syracuse and Georgetown, though the Raiders will also have five home games before an opening League game against Lehigh on Jan. 2.

AMERICAN EAGLES

PRESEASON POLL: 9th
2012-13 RECORD: 10-20 overall, 5-9 Patriot League (T5th)
PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Lost to Army in Patriot League quarterfinals
HEAD COACH: Mike Brennan, 1st Season at American/Overall

American enters its first season in the post-Jeff Jones era with plenty of question marks, with two key players to replace from a team that finished under .500 in League play for the first time.

The Eagles lose both Stephen Lumpkins (14.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg) and Daniel Munoz (10.3 ppg, 3.6 apg) from last year's team, and do not bring back any players that averaged double digits a season ago. John Schoof (9.6 ppg, 2.5 apg) and Tony Wroblicky (7.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) are the top returnees, while no other player averaged more than four points per game a season ago.

American will get the benefit of a few fresh faces, however. Junior guard Darius Gardner is eligible after sitting out last season following a transfer from Stephen F. Austin, where he averaged 4.7 points and led the team in assists as a sophomore in 2011-12. The Eagles also bring in six freshmen and have two transfers that will be eligible next season for a transition under first-year Head Coach Mike Brennan.

American will challenge itself during the non-League schedule, playing just three home games while going to George Mason, Ohio State and St. Mary's (Calif.).

NAVY MIDSHIPMEN

PRESEASON POLL: 10th
2012-13 RECORD: 8-23 Overall, 2-12 Patriot League (8th)
PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Lost to Bucknell in quarterfinals
HEAD COACH: Ed DeChellis, 3rd Season at Navy/18th Season Overall

The transition continues for Navy in its third season with Head Coach Ed DeChellis, but the Mids can now point to a number of key returnees from last year's young squad.

There are still only two seniors on the roster, with juniors Worth Smith (10.2 ppg) and Brandon Venturini (8.8 ppg) and sophomore Tilman Dunbar (9.5 ppg, 4.9 apg) back after leading the team last season. Dunbar also finished second in the Patriot League in assists as a freshman.

Navy's next three scorers, Kendall Knorr, Kevin Alter and Thurgood Wynn, also return to the roster along with four others who saw action in at least 20 games last year. Navy also features a group of nine freshmen to compete for playing time.

Navy plays seven of its non-League games on the road, though the Mids do have a three-game homestand against UMBC, Maryland Eastern Shore and The Citadel from Nov. 23-Dec. 4.