So, the America East year is over? Time to look into the crystal ball for next year.
1. Stony Brook
Martin carried them to their success with his dribble drive, but this team won’t go away when he graduates. Brenton should return his intensity and ability to attack the hoop and open it up for outside shooters. Their frontcourt should dominate the rest of the league with Brenton, Joyner, McAlister and Mayo (the latter two have a big time future in this league). With Do-er and Hayes, this team has two lights out spot up shooters– and if Hayes stays on his trajectory he can get shots at the rim. We can only hope Preboye or Coley or Anthony Jackson or Marcus Rouse or Al Rapier or Danny Carter (shit, this team is deep) don’t take the next step.
I started this team out at four. And then moved them to three. Then finally to second. It’s time to hold Will’s feet the fire, this team should produce — the league looks weak again this year. Fourth was nice, it’s time to make the next step. Mike Black need to be the Black of the last two regular season games, Devlin and Puk need to improve inside, Logan needs to find his role as a spot up shooter, not a gunner. Timmy is a huge loss, but the Danes should have the most solid line-up top to bottom of any team in the league- even if Watts is the guy at the three. The incoming class has a slasher (Suero) and big body (Rowley) and two x-factors (Page and Aussie 2). This team is two years away (I think the peak should be with Black and Logan as seniors) and Will Brown needs to hammer our a new rotation and find a new go-to guy (Timmy was a top 100 guy in the country in terms of shots taken).
With Fjeld gone, I want to knock this team down. They lose Accooee. They never seem all that great on paper. But with their near miss at Cleveland St., we got a glimpse of how they’ll recover. Luke Apfeld is one of the most bouncy, athletic bigs and he should help fill the void of the ‘Stache and Kissell on the boards. More importantly, Sandro Carissimo will have a full year at point. Brian Voelkel with continue to out-tough and out-smart the league. Brendan Bald could emerge as one of the best players in the league and Matt Glass didn’t get to the point where he could. And huh? 6-10 Pat Bergmann went 16 and 8 in the NIT, will he go Barnies and launch a senior year campaign out of nowhere? Hopefully somebody from a better conference offers Lonergan a fat check or he will continue to haunt this league.
4. Boston University
I had them higher originally, but losing Holland will be such a blow. DJ Irving should have no problem adjusting because he’s already the quickest player in the league. He exudes that stud mid-major point guard- at some point he’s probably going to take over the America East. For next year though, a lot more depends on how Partin reacts. He’s a shooter, but if you let him be #1 option, what happens on those off nights? After watching the AE and NCAA games, I don’t know if he’s ready. I think on the board someone was trashing this recruiting class by Chambers. That’s bunk in my opinion- we know nothing about Terry (who looked like an athlete when he got spot minutes) and Robinson because they were buried behind the league’s best talent. They’ll have their time next year. The problem is inside. Hazel is AE gold on the defensive end, but Dom Morris needs to fight off his inner Jake Lindfors and get that huge body away from the perimeter. Pelage hasn’t come around and with injuries etc, and he may have hit a ceiling, but he provides some muscle on the glass. What will Jake O’Brien be like? The 1st teamer predicted this year? Chambers has another well regarded class coming in, so I expect a similar season- it might take some time for the new Terriers to get used to each other, but they have enough talent to be a power player in this league.
They’re own infutility may have returned them to a great sleeper pick. McLemore is primed for a monster senior year and Ali Fraser is a load inside. Singleton is a solid point guard. It could all come together… too bad (for Maine) Woodward is awful.
6. New Hampshire
With Abreu and Ferg Myrick back, this is an intriguing team. Brian Benson is springy and will be on the best rebounders in the league. Bronner and Rhoads progressed and Buckley has talent, but it’s hard to see this team as dangerous. They’re still awful shooters.
Woo, woo! Could this be the year the rise from the cellar!? CDLR is good, while Satchell and Neller took a step back. I still have some faith in Jamar Wertz, my failed pre-season all rookie pick. Some solid looking recruits coming in (Will Wise could be a steal), this team needs a change of direction in terms of intensity and leadership.
This team should be amazing now that Joe Z, the human momentum killer, is gone. They would’ve beaten Boston if not for Joe Z’s 0-8 3FG. Genesis Maciel plays like Larry Bird against us, so they have that going for them… This team loses a ton of scoring and a ton seniors though, so it looks like it’s time to kick the rebuilding machine into gear.
This team should compete for being THE WORST team in the country. If Macon didn’t hate playing Sutton, his best talent, they might steal some games.
Too-Early, Wishy-Washy 1st Team All Conference Picks:
UAlbany player to be named later. Black? Logan? Devlin? “Association” Suero? Hell, the new Aussie? I think somebody will crack the top 5.