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Beginning Monday, June 21st, 2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the opening day of the 2004-05 Season.

 

Bookmark the 144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back each day to see which team is previewed next.



#63 Saint Mary’s Gaels
West Coast Conference
2003-04: 19-12, 9-5, 2nd 
2003-04 postseason: none


By Adam Glatczak



The Gaels have improved gradually since Randy Bennett took over three years ago. They took some bigger steps last year, finishing 19-12 and making national ripples in December when they went to Arizona and led almost the entire way before falling by six at the end. St. Mary's also had a close call against USC, played Gonzaga tough three times and was clearly the second-best team in the West Coast Conference. With their nucleus returning intact, the Gaels have a shot at knocking off the Zags in 2004-05.

Who’s Out: Chase Poole and Tyler Herr were steady players who saw a lot in their time at SMC, playing on teams that won as few as two games and as many as the 19 last year. Once some of the leading scorers on the team, both saw their offensive numbers diminish as the talent around them improved. Herr started 28 games in 2003-04 and averaged eight points per game while shooting 40% from three. Poole was often the second reserve off the bench and scored just 5.1 ppg.

Who’s In: California transfer Erik Bond, a 6-7 Washington prep star, left the Golden Bears after one season. His loss is the Gaels' gain, and he should become a key player immediately.

Who to Watch: Paul Marigney came back from a torn ACL and his offensive flair was a big reason for the Gaels' improvement. The cold-blooded scoring machine hit for 16 points a game while usually coming off the bench. He is one of the top players in the WCC. Aussie Daniel Kickert is a classic international big man, very skilled offensively but in need of some toughening. He gets knocked around at times but is still learning and has room to become even better than the 14 points, five boards a game player he was as a sophomore. Frederic Adjiwanou of France was listed as a senior last year but has another year of eligibility. He also has potential to be even better, is tougher inside than Kickert and was an animal against Arizona (17 points, 11 rebounds). E.J. Rowland is an offensive presence (13 ppg) at point guard and good at breaking down the defense either passing or shooting inside the three-point line. Former Colorado State transfer Jonathan Sanders started 28 games last year but, like Poole and Herr, saw his scoring production drop some with Marigney's re-emergence.

Projected Conference Rank: 2nd. The next logical step for St. Mary's is a postseason bid, but the Gaels will need to conquer the Gonzaga hurdle if they want to win the WCC. That much was proven last year, when SMC lost to the Zags at home, on the road and at a neutral site. All three games were pretty similar: St. Mary's was close in all but never put a serious scare into the Bulldogs down the stretch. The natural progress by Bennett's program suggests it's possible, but at this point the Bulldogs have earned the right to be favorites in the WCC until proven otherwise. Still, St. Mary's has an excellent shot to win 20+ games, and if they do so the Gaels will be in the hunt for an NCAA bid.

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT

 

« Team #64 , Team #62   »

 


Email Joel Welser: jwelser_chn@ameritech.net

Chat About CHN's Top #144 Ranking: http://pub14.ezboard.com/fcollegehoopsnetfrm8

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