St. Joseph’s Hawks
Overall Rank: #69
Conference Rank: #4 A-10
2006-07: 18-14, 9-7, 6th
2006-07 postseason: none
St. Joseph’s struggled last year and much of those disappointments can be blamed on youth and inexperience. However, that is not a viable justification a year later. In order for the Hawks to flap their way back to the postseason, last year will have to be viewed as a building block to the future, not a major failure. Coach Phil Martelli has enough talent on this squad to mold them into a legitimate NCAA Tournament team, but going 9-7 in conference will not be as easy as it was last year.
Jawan Carter was one of those youngsters who had a solid season. Carter was not a consistent scorer, but showed his potential with some big games. On the season he averaged 7.6 points and 2.3 assists, but all his potential will be playing for Delaware in the future. Little used Alvin Mofunanya, Artur Surov, Pete Kathopoulis and Marcus Mitchell will not be returning to the program.
Two years ago Tasheed Carr was the sixth man at Iowa State. Now he will be a major contributor and leader for St. Joe’s. The 6-3 guard had a dismal shooting season as a sophomore at ISU and that slump needs to stay in Ames if he wants to help the team reach the NCAA Tournament. Even if the shooting does not get much better, Carr is still a big, hardworking guard who will get to the basket and help on the defensive end. Charoy Bentley was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Connecticut in 2007 and his scoring ability could provide a spark off the bench. However, it is Idris Hilliard, a 6-7 forward, who is the more highly touted newcomer. Hilliard can play either forward position and his versatility and energy will get him some minutes off the bench. His outside shot needs some work, but Hilliard will find his way to the basket and do quite a bit of scoring.
Who to Watch:
The problem for Hilliard is finding a spot in the rotation. With Ahmad Nivins and Rob Ferguson manning the frontcourt, a majority of the minutes are spoken for. Nivins earned All-Conference first team honors last year after averaging a team high 16.6 points and 7.6 rebounds. Now an upperclassman, Nivins is expected to continue his dominance in the paint. Ferguson makes things a little easier for Nivins. Ferguson spends most of his time on the perimeter and is one of the most consistent shooters on the team, but the 6-8, 230 pound power forward will mix it up in the paint and help out on the glass. The versatility continues with Pat Calathes. The 6-10 Casselberry, Florida product has the size of a forward and the game of a point guard. Calathes actually led the team in assists and three-pointers made during the 2006-2007 campaign and continued to use his size to rival Nivins in the rebounding department. The frontcourt trio each averaged over 30 minutes per game and their ability to stay out of foul trouble, especially Nivins, is amazing. Still, getting a little more production out of players like Rockwell Moody and Arvydas Lidzius would be beneficial.
The talent of the frontcourt can only do so much to cover the deficiencies of the backcourt. Darrin Govens started at point guard six of the last eight games of his freshman season. Govens was inconsistent at best last year, but did improve at the end of the season. If he can continue to improve and become an effective distributor, the Hawks will be in good shape. D.J. Rivera and defensive specialist Garrett Williamson had decent freshmen campaigns as well, but again consistency will be the key. The backcourt has plenty of talent and a year in the system will certainly make them better, but just how much they improve will be the difference between the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Darrin Govens, Sophomore, Guard, 7.3 points per game
Tasheed Carr, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Pat Calathes, Senior, Guard, 13.9 points per game
Rob Ferguson, Senior, Forward, 11.3 points per game
Ahmad Nivins, Junior, Forward, 16.6 points per game