2006-07 NYC Metro Preview: Saint Francis (NY)
12. St. Francis (NY) Terriers
2005-06 Record: 10-17 (7-11 NEC)
Last season’s final ranking (NY Metro Area poll): 13th
Head Coach: Brian Nash (10-17 @ SFC, overall)
Leading Returnees: Points (Allan Sheppard-11.6 ppg); Rebounds (Sheppard-4.8 rpg); Assists (Jamaal Womack-2.7 apg)
Returning Starters: 3 (G Jamaal Womack (Jr. 5’8, 170), G/F Allan Sheppard (Sr. 6’5, 200), F James St. Robert (Jr. 6’8, 230))
Key Losses: G Sean Dantzler, G/F Christian Brown, G Nick Jones
Just like Stony Brook, St. Francis heads into this season with a better sense of what their second year head coach expects. Brian Nash fielded a competitive team last season, but a three-game skid to end the season meant that the Terriers would remain home for the Northeast Conference tournament. It seemed as if the Terriers couldn’t find much continuity, seen in the use of fifteen different starting lineups last season. The silver lining in this “cloud” has to be that eleven players averaged at least thirteen minutes per game, and six return. This group is led by Allan Sheppard, who led the team in scoring, and was also the team’s second best rebounder.
The floor general will be Jamaal Womack, who was the team’s leading assist man last year. However, while Womack had a respectable assist to turnover ratio (1.6:1), the team as a whole had a ratio of 0.8:1. Womack and Ruandy Melo will be two of the Terriers’ key components in the backcourt. James St. Robert and Lex James will be asked to provide some muscle in the paint, and Sami Pekkola prefers to shoot from behind the arc, with 50 of his 82 attempts last season coming from distance. In addition to the returnees, Coach Nash has brought in six new faces this season.
Four of the newcomers arrive by way of various junior colleges, including guard Otis Campbell and swingman Marcus Williams. JUCO transfer Bass Yessoufou will add some bulk to the Terriers’ frontline. Don’t be surprised if you see Campbell and Williams, teammates at New Jersey powerhouse St. Anthony, teamed up in the backcourt at some point. Freshman David Burton will see time at small forward, and Robert Hines is an active power forward despite being “only” 6’5. The combination of newcomers and returnees should mean at least a return to the NEC Tournament this season, if not a mid-range seed.
Schedule at a Glance
St. Francis has a tough non-conference slate, and it all begins in Syracuse in the Black Coaches Association Invitational. The Terriers will be joined by the home standing Orange, UTEP, and Pennsylvania. Although SFC will open with the Orange, they will play all three teams in the tournament. In other non-conference games, St. Francis will visit UMass, Fordham, St. John’s and Hofstra while hosting Manhattan and Columbia. Conference play begins on November 29th with a trip to Central Connecticut State. This game, along with a visit by their namesakes from Pennsylvania (St. Francis-PA) on December 7th, is the only two NEC games for the Terriers before 2007.
St. Francis will have two three-game road trips in league play. The first stretches from January 13th-20th, visiting Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac, and Wagner. And the second goes from February 15th-22nd, with trips to St. Francis (PA), Robert Morris, and LIU. What makes this fact interesting is that the Terriers closed out last season with three games on the road. They lost all three, the last of which (67-64 @ LIU) was the difference between playing in the conference tournament and staying home. St. Francis went 2-12 (1-8 NEC) on the road last season, a record that must improve if the Terriers want to finish at or above .500 in 2006-07.
Interesting note: Even though St. Francis committed 411 turnovers last season, they forced opponents into 418 turnovers.
2005-06 Team Averages
· Points per game: 63.7 - Points per game allowed: 67.1 - Scoring Margin: -3.4
· Rebounds per game: 34.5 - Opp. Rebounds per game: 36.0 - Rebounding Margin: -1.5
· Assists per game: 11.8 - Turnovers per game: 15.2 - Assist-to-Turnover Ratio: 0.8:1
· Field Goal Percentage: 41.1% - FG Percentage Defense: 43.1%
· 3-Point Percentage: 34.3% - 3-PT Percentage Defense: 31.9%
· Free Throw Percentage: 65.8%
· Longest winning streak: 4 (Wagner, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (PA), Robert Morris) February 9th-18th
· Longest losing streak: 5 (Hofstra, @ Manhattan, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary’s, @ Robert Morris) December 22nd-January 12th
· Ended season on a three-game losing streak.