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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 14th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Holy Cross Crusaders


Overall Rank: #91

Conference Rank: #2 Patriot


2005-06: 20-12, 11-3, 2nd (t)

2005-06 postseason: none


Holy Cross returns over 60 percent of their production in every major statistical category and have plenty of new and developing players ready to pick up the rest of the slack.  Coach Ralph Willard has averaged nearly 20 wins per season during his seven seasons at the helm of the Crusaders.  His eighth season should be no different.


Who’s Out: Kevin Hamilton did a little of everything, or a lot of everything actually, averaging 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.3 steals.  While the absence of Hamilton is a big loss, the Crusaders have plenty of options in the backcourt to replace his production.  Kevin Hyland started 18 games up front during his senior campaign.  He didn’t put up big numbers, averaging 3.3 points and 2.2 boards, but the frontcourt depth will take a hit.


Who’s In: Power forwards Eric Meister and Andrew Keister will battle for minutes in the paint.  Meister, a 6-7, 220 pounder is an intense player who can play both post spots.  Keister is quite athletic for a 6-9, 215 pound big man and he can battle in the paint and step outside to hit the short jumper.  Shooting guards Adam May and Zach Paterick aren’t expected to see too many minutes as freshman but both have the ability to contribute in the near future.  Pat Doherty missed most of last season due to an injury after receiving Patriot League Rookie of the Year accolades the prior season.  Doherty may start at the point, and at the least, will see plenty of minutes off of the bench. 


Who to Watch: Despite the loss of Hamitlon, the backcourt is still a dynamic group.  Torey Thomas averaged 11.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists and should be returning to the starting point guard spot.  Thomas isn’t a consistent scorer, but he can step outside and hit the long ball.  Keith Simmons returns to the shooting guard spot where he knocked down nearly 48% of his shots from beyond the arc last year.  The other wing spot is up for grabs between sophomores Colin Cunningham and Lawrence Dixon.  Cunningham, at 6-6, will add some more size to the perimeter, while Dixon would be more beneficial on the defensive end.


Final Projection: The backcourt will get all the press and accolades, but it is the experience of the frontcourt which will allow Holy Cross to compete for a Patriot League title.  Alex Vander Baan started 30 contests as a freshman and will once again start as the power forward.  Vander Baan is a solid rebounder, especially on the offensive end.  On the offensive end, the 6-8 Uxbridge, Massachusetts product has range all the way out to the three-point line.  He won’t connect on many of the long balls, but he can keep the opposition honest.  Tim Clifford, a 6-10 center, started 15 games as a sophomore a season ago.  Clifford is a solid rebounder and already ranks 10th all-time on Holy Cross’ blocked shots list.  He’s no slouch on the offensive end either, averaging 7.8 points per game in the 2005-2006 campaign.


Projected Post-season Tournament: none


Projected Starting Five:

Torey Thomas, Senior, Guard, 11.0 points per game

Keith Simmons, Senior, Guard, 14.2 points per game

Colin Cunningham, Sophomore, Forward, 3.7 points per game

Alex Vander Baan, Sophomore, Forward, 6.2 points per game

Tim Clifford, Junior, Center, 7.8 points per game

94 Iowa » Complete List » 92 Baylor

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