2. Marist Red Foxes
2005-06 Record: 19-10 (12-6 MAAC)
Last season’s final ranking (NY Metro area poll): 6th
Head Coach: Matt Brady (3rd season @ Marist, overall (30-27))
Leading Returnees: Points (Jared Jordan-16.1 ppg); Rebounds (Ryan Stilphen-7.0 rpg); Assists (Jordan-8.5)
Returning Starters: 4 (G Jared Jordan (Sr. 6’2, 187), G/F Will Whittington (Sr. 6’3, 174), F/C Ryan Stilphen (Jr. 6’8, 222), F/C James Smith (Sr. 7’0, 250))
Key Loss: G/F Carl Hood
After a season in which the Red Foxes improved their win total by eight games, Marist heads into 2006-07 as the favorite to win the Metro Atlantic. Eight of their top nine scorers from last season return, beginning with guard Jared Jordan, the league’s pick as preseason Player of the Year. Jordan was the team’s leader in both points and assists per game, spearheading an offense that averaged 76.9 points per game. He’ll be joined in the backcourt by classmate Will Whittington, a solid perimeter shooter who led the Red Foxes in three point attempts and makes in 2005-06. With the departure of Carl Hood, Ben Farmer will be the player most likely to move into the starting lineup. In a sixth man role last season Farmer shot over fifty percent from the field and behind the arc. Also look for more minutes from Gerald Carter. Marist will have one of the best backcourts in the nation this season.
The frontcourt will be led by junior Ryan Stilphen and senior James Smith, both of whom started every game for the Red Foxes last season. Both are accurate shooters, and Stilphen led the team in free throw attempts last year. An improvement in his percentage (56.3%), however, is needed. These two, along with senior Miles Orman, saw the majority of playing time among the frontcourt returnees. Shae McNamara, another returnee who saw action last season, will also have a chance to earn more minutes. Only those who aren’t familiar with the Red Foxes would think that there is a significant drop-off when going from the backcourt to the frontcourt. This group could be the difference between playing one game in the NCAA Tournament and possibly sticking around for the entire weekend, if not the next week.
With the number of people returning, Marist didn’t need a whole lot when it came to recruiting. Incoming freshmen Dejuan Goodwin and Lawrence Williams and junior college transfer Wilfred Benjamin will compete for minutes at the guard and forward spots respectively, but they may have a tough time garnering a lot of playing time. And even though he has to sit out this season due to transfer rules, Syracuse transfer Louie McCroskey should help the guards, especially Jordan and Whittington, improve even more in practice.
Schedule at a Glance
After opening on the road against Ohio and Delaware, the Red Foxes play Florida Atlantic in their home opener November 19th. Marist will take part in two in-season tournaments this year, the inaugural Old Spice Classic and the Pepsi Marist Classic. The Old Spice Classic, which takes place in Orlando Thanksgiving weekend, includes Arkansas, Minnesota, Montana, Southern Illinois, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Western Michigan. Marist will open with Minnesota November 23rd and face either Arkansas or Southern Illinois the following night. The Pepsi Marist Classic will be a four-team event on campus, with Marist opening with Northern Illinois. Also taking part in the event are Bucknell and Central Arkansas.
Other non-conference games include a home date with Old Dominion, and road contests against Richmond and Wright State. Marist will also take part in the ESPN Bracket Busters event.
MAAC play starts for Marist in early December at home against Canisius December 8th, followed by a trip to St. Peter’s two days later. January will include a tough three-game road trip, visiting Siena, Niagara and Canisius in the middle of the month. Niagara is the pick of the league to be the Red Foxes’ main competition for the MAAC crown, which makes the January 18th meeting in upstate New York all the more intriguing. The return date takes place eight days later in Poughkeepsie. The MAAC is always a competitive league, so don’t expect teams such as Fairfield and St. Peter’s to simply roll over. The season ends at home against Siena February 24th.
Interesting Note: Marist will appear on television five times this season, including three games on ESPN2.
2005-06 Team Statistics
+ Points per game: 76.9 - Points per game allowed: 72.4 - Scoring Margin: + 4.5
+ Rebounds per game: 35.2 - Opp. Rebounds per game: 33.7 - Rebounding Margin: + 1.5
+ Assists per game: 15.7 - Turnovers per game: 13.3 - Assist-to-Turnover Ratio: 1.2:1
+ Field Goal Percentage: 49.0% - FG Percentage Defense: 43.3%
+ 3-Point Percentage: 38.5% - 3-Point Percentage Def.: 37.2%
+ Free Throw Percentage: 68.2%
+ Longest winning streak: 8 (@ Liberty, @ Siena, @ Rider, Manhattan, Fairfield, @ St. Peter’s, Siena, Loyola-Maryland) January 10th-30th
+ Longest losing streak: 3 (Ohio, @ Manhattan, Iona) December 6th-11th
+ During their eight-game winning streak, Marist averaged 83 points per game.