Overall Rank: #110
Conference Rank: #1 America East
2008-09: 23-9, 13-3
2008-09 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kevin Broadus (37-25 at Binghamton, 222-120 overall)
Binghamton made their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in March and no matter what happened, they were happy to be the there and no matter what happened, they know the future looks bright. Unfortunately for the Bearcats their first foray in the big dance was against Duke in North Carolina, so it did not go all that well, but Coach Kevin Broadus has quickly turned this into a winning program and it will not be long before his team gets another shot to pull off an NCAA upset.
Key Losses: F Reggie Fuller, G Brandon Herbert
Four starters are back, but losing Reggie Fuller, who averaged 10.2 points and 7.0 rebounds as a senior, is a concern. The addition of junior college transfers Paul Crosby and Greer Wright, as well as division III transfer Mahamoud Jabbi, should give the Bearcats some experienced options. It is Crosby, a 6-8, 235 pound center, who is expected to contribute the most this year, but the team will need some production from Wright as well. Incoming freshmen wings Taylor Johnston and Dylan Talley have size and potential, but they will have a year to watch some of the best players in the conference before they will be asked to contribute.
Even if you count 6-4 superstar D.J. Rivera as a forward, the Bearcats still have a dynamic backcourt. Emanuel Mayben will play out of control at times, but he is a great athlete who does a lot for this team. He is a solid outside shooter and is never afraid to create a play for his teammates. His intensity lends itself to a large number of turnovers, yet he is emerging as a leader. Malik Alvin is not quite as effective from long range as Mayben and will do most of his damage getting to the basket. Alvin is a similar player otherwise, especially considering they both happened to average 11.5 points per game last year. Chretien Lukusa started 11 games last year and could find himself in a full-time starting position this year if he can be an effective rebounder from the wing.
The biggest thing standing between Binghamton and another America East title is the frontcourt. Not only was Fuller a very effective interior scorer and the team’s best rebounder, but he also was easily the best shot blocker on the team. Most of the time Fuller would start at the four spot while Kyrie Sutton and the now departed Jaan Montgomery started at the five. That was pretty much just on paper though and Fuller spent a lot of time playing the center position. Sutton is back after a relatively successful freshman campaign. He is not much of a scorer at this point in his career, but he is good shot blocker and rebounder. The starting job may be his for now, but the newcomers, most notably Crosby, will be in the mix very soon.
Who to Watch:
And it is very important that the newcomers can handle the jobs in the frontcourt so Rivera can spend some time at the small forward position. At 6-4, he is a little undersized to play power forward against certain opposition. But really it does not matter where Rivera plays. The Mid-Major All-American averaged a smooth 20.0 points per game and added 6.5 boards. He may be a little undersized, but he is a tenacious rebounder. This team will revolve around the multi-faceted Rivera and he can take over a game no matter where he plays.
Coach Broadus did a good job filling the necessary holes by going to the junior college ranks. It is not always the best way to build a program, but this program is already built and he needed to find a couple big guys who were experienced enough to keep the success of the program going and that is exactly what will happen if the Bearcats win another conference title.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Emanuel Mayben, Senior, Guard, 11.5 points per game
Malik Alvin, Senior, Guard, 11.5 points per game
Chretien Lukusa, Junior, Guard, 4.4 points per game
D.J. Rivera, Senior, Forward, 20.0 points per game
Kyrie Sutton, Sophomore, Center, 1.6 points per game