2006-0 NYC Metro Preview: Wagner
5. Wagner Seahawks
2005-06 Record: 13-14 (6-12 NEC)
Last season’s final ranking (NY Metro area poll): 11th
Head Coach: Mike Deane (4th year @ Wagner (26-32), 16th overall)
Leading Returnees: Points (Durrell Vinson-15.2 ppg); Rebounds (Vinson-9.6 rpg); Assists (Mark Porter-3.3 apg)
Returning Starters: 4 (G Mark Porter (Jr. 6’1, 190), G Jamal Smith (So. 6’5, 210), F James Ulrich (Jr. 6’6, 215), F Durrell Vinson (Sr. 6’7, 215)
Key Loss: G DeEarnest McLemore
Wagner will look to rebound from what could best be described as a disappointing 2005-06. The Seahawks, picked by many to contend in the Northeast Conference, failed to even qualify for the conference tournament, finishing tenth in the league with a 6-12 record. Luckily for head coach Mike Deane, many of the key players from last season will be back with added incentive to play well. Wagner returns two-thirds of their starting backcourt in Mark Porter and Jamal Smith. Porter will most likely take over the ball handling duties for the graduated DeEarnest McLemore, and look for Porter to score some from the position as well. Smith, a member of the NEC All-Rookie Team last season, can play the two or three due to his size and skill. Incoming freshman T.J. Czeski will look to earn minutes as a backup to Porter at the point.
The frontcourt will be anchored once again by Durrell Vinson, who led the team in scoring and rebounding last season. Named All-NEC First Team last season, Vinson is extremely active and can hold his own inside despite weighing only 215 pounds. Look for fellow starter James Ulrich to supply the help on the glass, and Matt Vitale to continue his role as a long-range specialist. Also coming off the bench to supply some long range offense is sophomore guard Joey Mundweiler. Incoming freshmen Michael Duty and Michael Orock will look to add some depth to the frontcourt, while late signee Christian Martinus Nielsen can play the two, three or four positions.
Having a large number of returnees can be looked at as a positive or a negative depending on your viewpoint. Look for the Seahawks to use the experience of last season to keep them humble and hungry throughout the year.
Schedule at a Glance
The season opens up at home November 10th when the Seahawks welcome Lafayette to Staten Island. While there are some tough games on the schedule, including a home date with Vermont and trips to Purdue and Indiana State, Wagner should do fine in non-conference play. After the opener with the Leopards, Wagner hits the road for three, visiting Manhattan, Maryland-Eastern Shore and William & Mary. Wagner will also play three schools from the Ivy League: Brown and Yale at home, and at Columbia. The two-game trip to the State of Indiana closes out their non-conference schedule.
Conference play opens with a home game against league favorite Robert Morris December 9th. This game should give the Seahawks a good idea of where they stand in the NEC early on. 2007 brings the rest of the conference, beginning with a three-game road trip to Monmouth, Fairleigh Dickinson and St. Francis (NY). A key home game in the opening month will take place January 18th when LIU comes to town. Another three-game road trip, this one taking place in early-February, could decide where Wagner finishes in the conference. The Seahawks visit Sacred Heart, Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA), teams that they went 1-4 against last season. The regular season ends with a trip to New Britain to take on Central Connecticut State, another team expected to finish near the top of the NEC.
Interesting Note: Last year, Wagner had a 3-6 conference record both at home and on the road.
2005-06 Team Averages
· Points per game: 67.1 - Points per game allowed: 66.6 - Scoring Margin: + 0.5
· Rebounds per game: 38.5 - Opp. Rebounds per game: 33.7 - Rebounding Margin: + 4.8
· Assists per game: 12.8 - Turnovers per game: 14.5 - Assist-to-Turnover Ratio: 0.9:1
· Field Goal Percentage: 43.9% - FG Percentage Defense: 41.5%
· 3-Point Percentage: 35.1% - 3-Point Percentage Def.: 31.3%
· Free Throw Percentage: 63.6%
· Longest winning streak: 4 (@ Brown, @ Yale, Columbia, @ Rhode Island) November 29th-December 17th
· Longest losing streak: 7 (@ CCSU, @ Long Island, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, @ St. Francis (NY), @ Monmouth, CCSU) January 26th-February 16th
· Wagner went 7-2 in 2005 and 6-12 in 2006.