MAAC deep dive for the 2020-21 season

1.Siena Saints
Lineup
PG: Jalen Pickett
SG: Nick Hopkins (Belmont)
SF: Aidan Carpenter
PF: Dana Tate (Rhode Island)
C: Manny Camper

Bench: Kyle Young, Colin Golson, Jordan King, Gary Harris Jr, Harrison Curry (Detroit), Jackson Stormo (Pepperdine)

Additions: Nick Hopkins (Belmont), Dana Tate (Rhode Island), Aidan Carpenter, Colin Golson, Harrison Curry (Detroit), Jackson Stormo (Pepperdine)

Departures: Don Carey (Georgetown)

Siena is one of the top mid-major teams in the country this season. The Saints are led by a future NBA player in Jalen Pickett who can do-it-all. Pickett led the Saints in both scoring and assists with 15.1 PPG, 6.0 APG, along with adding 4.6 rebounds-per-game. If Pickett continues his meteoric rise, he not only will be massive for Siena but a potential All-American. Pickett isn’t the only great player on the team though, Manny Camper averaged a double-double this past season and looks to continue providing that punch down-low getting boards. Two-key freshmen incoming are Aidan Carpenter and Colin Golson. Carpenter is a G/Wing hybrid who will be a valuable scorer for the Saints in 2020-21 and beyond. Golson, from all accounts, seems to be beloved within the Saints program early in his career. Don’t be surprised to see Golson step-into the starting lineup later in the season. Nick Hopkins will jump into the role left behind when Don Carey graduated and transferred to Georgetown. Hopkins was a proven shooter throughout his career with the Bruins and looks to continue that this season. A trio of big-man transfers coming into the fold this season is Dana Tate, Harrison Curry, Jackson Stormo. I expect Tate to play the biggest role of the three, and Curry should play a somewhat sizeable role also. Carmen Maciarello will get the Saints to their first NCAA Tournament since 2010.

2.St Peter’s Peacocks
Lineup
PG: Matthew Lee
SG Daryl Banks
SF: Doug Edert
PF: KC Ndefo
C: Fousseyni Drame

Bench: Hassan Drame, Noah Kamba (Murray State), Marty Silveria, Dallas Watson, Zarique Nutter

Additions: Noah Kamba (Murray State), Marty Silveria, Zaqrique Nutter

Departures: Aaron Estrada (Oregon), Majur Majak, Quinn Taylor, Derrick Woods

You’ve seen Virginia play, correct? St Peter’s is the MAAC version of UVA stylistically. Last season they didn’t play as slow-paced as Tony Bennett’s squad does, but still relatively slow ranking 197th in Adjusted tempo. I expect them to slow-it-down much more this season with the unexpected departure of Aaron Estrada. The Peacocks will let the game come to them and try winning the game with a defense led by KC Ndefo. The first-team pre-season MAAC player, Ndefo had a phenomenal 4.9 Defensive Box-Plus-Minus last season. Ndefo can guard any position and isn’t a slouch on offense either being able to score at-the-rim mostly. Sophomore guard Matthew Lee looks to take a big step this season with Aaron Estrada no longer being in-the-fold. Lee had 5.7 PPG this past season as a freshman but shot 45% from-three, albeit just on 59 attempts but the shot is pure. Doug Edert is another great shooter who proved himself to be one of the better scorers on the team, notching an astounding 44% clip from-three last season. Shaheen Holloway’s squad will look to play-it-slow and hardnosed trying to squeak out victories.

3.Manhattan Jaspers
Lineup
PG: Elijah Buchanan
SG: Anthony Nelson (Seton Hall)
SF: Jason Stanley-Douglas (George Mason)
PF: Warren Williams
C: Samba Diallo (UMass)

Bench: Samir Stewart, Marques Watson, Nehemiah Mack, Ebube Ebube, Nick Brennan, Adam Cisse, Daniel Schrier

Additions: Jason Stanley-Douglas (George Mason), Anthony Nelson (Seton Hall), Samba Diallo (UMass)

Departures: Pauly Paulicap (DePaul), Tykei Greene (Stony Brook)

It’s been a rough stretch for the Jaspers since the back-to-back tournament appearances in 2013-14, 2014-15. Since that stretch, they haven’t won more than 14-games in a given season. There is potential with this team to break-the-trend. Adding some key transfers most notably former Seton Hall guard Anthony Nelson and former UMass big-man Samba Diallo. I envision a big season for forward Warren Williams this season. Williams is a very efficient scorer who will need to produce with Pauly Paulicap moving on as a transfer. Elijah Buchanan is another player that could be special one day if he improves his shooting efficiency. 2020-21 could be a real make-or-break year for Coach Masiello.

4.Iona Gaels
Lineup
PG: Asante Gist
SG: Isaiah Ross
SF: Dwayne Koroma
PF: Dylan Van Eyck
C: Osborn Shema

Bench: Ryan Myers, Robert Brown, Johan Crafoord, Berrick JeanLouis, Colton Cashaw, Tahlik Chavez, Nelly Junior Joseph

The main talking point of this Gaels team is the hiring of controversial College Hoops coach Rick Pitino. The long-time CBB coach was let-go from Louisville due to a rash of different issues within the program that he turned a blind eye to. The final straw for Pitino was when an assistant paid top-recruit Brian Bowen Jr’s father for Bowen Jr to attend Louisville. That, along with holding parties for players and doing many other things against the NCAA rules, made it seem as if Pitino’s days in the Collegiate ranks were done. However, that’s not the case after a stint coaching Panthiakos in Greece for several years he decided to return to his home state to replace Tim Cluess, who retired due to medical reasons. The Gaels this season will be an intriguing team to follow, A lot of players from overseas along with a mix of returnees and JUCO guys. I think the lack of practice time for Rick Pitino’s team will be an issue not being able to have continuity and knowing how to play with each other will stunt the Gaels growth early. If the Gaels succeed early I imagine much of it will be due to senior guard Asante Gist.

5.Monmouth Hawks
Lineup
PG: Samuel Chaput
SG: George Papas
SF: Deion Hammond
PF: Melik Martin
C: Jarvis Vaugahan

Bench: Donovann Toatley, Jack Holmstrom, Myles Foster, Klemen Vuga, Myles Ruth, Gob Gabriel, Nikkei Rutty

Additions: Jack Holmstrom, Myles Foster, Myles Ruth, Klemen Vuga

Departures: Mustapha Traore, Ray Salnave (DePaul)

King Rice’s Monmouth Hawks look to be in for a solid season, led by first-team pre-season MAAC player Deion Hammond. Last year, Hammond went from a key-player for the Hawks to THE player for the Hawks. Hammond had 16.3 PPG but shot just 41% from-the-field. With losing guard Ray Salnave to DePaul, that gives senior George Papas a chance to step-up. Papas shot 35% from-the-field, 32% from-three, but there’s untapped talent there. Papas shot 88% from-the-line, which shows that his 3pt percentage may not be indicative of how good Papas is. The play down-low is top-notch by any means with that being said the two freshmen Klemen Vuga and Myles Foster have a shot to make a name for themselves as a freshman. If Hammond becomes more efficient, and if the post-play improves the Hawks could be very good.

6.Niagara Purple Eagles
Lineup
PG: Jordan Roberts
SG: Marcus Hammond
SF: Raheem Soloman
PF: Greg Kuakumensah
C: Nicholas Krathlom

Bench: Shandon Brown, Steven Levnaic, Nick MacDonald, Tah’Jae Hill, Touba Traore

Additions: Tah’Jae Hill, Touba Traore

Departures: James Towns

The Purple Eagles look to put last season’s 12-win season behind them. Being led by star guard Marcus Hammond, who had 14.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.9 APG while shooting 42% from-three in his breakout season. Hammond is a tremendous player who will be one of the top players in the MAAC this season. Justin Roberts transferred in from Toledo and sat in 2018-19, now in his first season for Niagara, Roberts proved to be one of the top 3pt-shooters in the MAAC conference with a fantastic 42% from-three. Raheem Soloman looks to be another future-star for Monmouth. Soloman took a slight back-step in terms of his shooting from his freshman to sophomore season. Going from 38% to 32% in-the-span of a season, that isn’t ideal, but it’s fixable. With the hand Greg Paulas was dealt, he did a fantastic job in 2019-20. The HC job was initially given to Patrick Beilein who resigned due to a family matter just before the season started, then giving the job to Paulas. The Purple Eagles should be vastly improved in Paulas’ first true-season at the helm.

7.Canisius Golden Griffins
Lineup
PG: Majesty Brandon
SG: Jordan Henderson
SF: Jalanni White
PF: Scott Hitchon
C: Jacco Fritz

Bench: Malek Green, George Maslennikov, Armon Harried, Akrum Ahemed

Additions: Bul Akot, Tymu Chenery

Departures:

Majesty Brandon is back for his senior season, and he had quite the solid junior season. Brandon is a strong-guard who gets to the basket with ease. Jacco Fritz looks to be a future star in the MAAC. Fritz is 6’10 and is immensely talented at scoring down-low the-only thing with Fritz is that he needs to bulk up, and he becomes a force. Jordan Henderson looks to potentially be-a-star in the MAAC in the coming years. Henderson had 9.3 PPG while shooting 44% from-the-field, 37% from long-range for the Griffs. Malek Green could be an intriguing addition after having to sit last season due to transfer rules. Green had 7.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG in his sophomore season for Morehead State. The Golden Griffins have talent, but depth is a concern.

8.Fairfield Stags
Lineup
PG: Jesus Cruz
SG: Jack Wojcik (Richmond)
SF: Taj Benning
PF: Zach Crisler (Rice)
C: Chris Maidoh

Bench: Tshiefu Ngalakulor (St Bonaventure), Supreme Cook, Caleb Green, Jason Edokpayi, Allen Jeanne-Rose, Jalen Leach

Additions: Tshiefu Ngalakulor (St Bonaventure), Zach Crisler (Rice), Jake Wojcik (Richmond), Supreme Cook, Jason Edompayi, Jalen Leach

Departures: Landon Taliferio, Vincent Eze, Wassef Methnani

The Stags did their best Virginia impersonation last season in terms of tempo, ranking 346th out of 353 teams on KenPom not only did they play slow, but they weren’t adequate at any piece of offense ranking 344th overall. Fairfield’s effective FG percentage was 348th, the turnover percentage was 333rd, none of those things will lead you to success, and that led them to a disappointing 12-wins. This season that has to turn-around led by Jesus Cruz and Taj Benning will be the ones tasked with doing just that. Cruz is the returning leading-scorer with 11 Points-a-game last season, but, just as the team as he was inefficient shooting 41% from-the-field, 25% from three. There is talent there with Cruz, but he needs to improve, and make better shot choices when they come to you, and not drain the shot-clock. Same deal with Taj Benning, shooting 35% from the floor but is a bulky and strong guard who should use that to his advantage and take what’s there at the basket. Chris Maidoh is a sneaky-player for the Stags, 6’10 but just 180 pounds, which I’m sure he plans on adding weight to be able to bounce around inside more with size and strength rather than just size. A trio of transfers enter, two need waivers with Crisler and Wojcik, but there’s no reason for them not to. The most significant one is Wojcik, a guy who two-seasons ago started 33 games for Richmond and shot 36% from three, which if he can do that this season, It’ll add a different dimension for Fairfield. The Stags should improve this season.

9.Marist Red Foxes
Lineup
PG: Matt Herasme
SG: Michael Cubbage
SF: Tyler Saint Furcy
PF: Braden Bell
C: Jordan Jones

Bench: Victor Enoh, Henry Makeny, Javon Cooley, Ricardo Wright, Raheim Sullivan, Hakim Byrd

Additions: Hakim Byrd, Javon Cooley, Ricardo Wright

Departures: Tyler Sagl, Tobias Sjoberg

The Red Foxes were one of the worst offensive teams in College Hoops this past season, ranking 343rd out of 353 teams on KenPom. Though, I think there’s an upside with this Marist team. Michael Cubbage led the team in scoring last season but, Cubbage shot a measly 20% from three last year. Beside from Cubbage, you have guys who can shoot, with Herasme, Saint-Furcy, Bell, who all shot above 35 percent from three. If I were HC John Dunne, I’m going to try and feed Jordan Jones this season the big-man proved to be a talented scorer last year. It should be a bit of a bounce-back for Marist this season.

10.Rider Broncs
Lineup
PG: Rodney Henderson Jr (CSUN)
SG: Christian Ings
SF: Nehemiah Benson
PF: Dontrell McQuarter
C: Tyrell Bladen

Bench: Allen Powell, Christian Ings, Corey McKeithan, Jaelen McGlone, Jordan Smalls, Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson

Additions: Allen Powell, Jeremiah Pope, Corey McKeithan, Jaelen McGlone, Jordan Smalls, Nehemiah Benson

Departures: Fred Scott (Boston College), Stevie Jordan, Dimencio Vaughn (Ole Miss)

The window was shut after last season with the losses of the top three scorers from last year’s team with Jordan, Scott, Vaughn. It’s a rebuilding year for the Broncs, which will be heavily reliant on newcomers, including five freshmen. The leading returning scorer is sophomore guard Christian Ings, who posted 4.2 PPG in 2019-20. Ings struggled shooting last season, posting just a 31% clip from three, 61% from-the-line. Rodney Henderson Jr was a sneaky-move for the Broncs after playing three games for the Matadors due to injury. Two seasons ago, Henderson had 10.6 PPG but shot just 38% from the field. D.J. Murray is another transfer who, to this point isn’t eligible, an Incarnate Word transfer that I’m leaving out due to that reason. A rebuilding season is in order for the Broncs.

11.Quinnipiac Bobcats

Roster

PG: Savion Lewis

SG: Matt Balanc

SF: Tyrese Williams

PF: Jacob Rigoni

C: Brendan McGuire

Bench: Tyree Pickron, Elias King, Seth Pinkney, Jamil Riggins, Tymu Cheeney

Quinnipiac was a solid team a season ago, finishing 10-10 in MAAC play. Things looked up for this season until Rich Kelley and Kevin Marfo decided to transfer. Losing their best scorer in Kelley and the best rebounder in the conference in Marfo will be key losses. Tyrese Williams is a really good guard that can score and pass. Jacob Rigoni is a small-ball four that can make shots from the perimeter at a high-level. The rest of this roster has a lot of question marks. If players like Matt Balanc and Tyree Pickron can take tangible steps forward, they can contend for a middling spot in the league, if not, this is a team likely to finish at the bottom of the MAAC.

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