2006-07 NYC Metro Preview: St Peter's
11. St. Peter’s Peacocks
2005-06 Record: 17-15 (9-9 MAAC)
Last season’s final ranking (NY Metro area poll): 5th
Head Coach: John Dunne (first year at SPC)
Leading Returnees: Points (Raul Orta-11.9 ppg); Rebounds (Todd Sowell-10.2 rpg); Assists (Kevin Spann-2.5 apg)
Returning starters: 3 (G Kevin Spann (So. 6’0, 175), G Raul Orta (Jr. 6’4, 200), F Todd Sowell (Jr. 6’8, 245)
Key Losses: G Keydren Clark, G Kaimondre Owes, F Ivan Bozovic
Year One A.K. (After Kee-Kee) begins in Jersey City with a new coaching staff as well, with John Dunne taking over the Peacock program. For the former Seton Hall assistant, this is his first collegiate head coaching job, but he does have a wealth of experience as an assistant, which should help. The first task is to find how this team can replace some of the scoring of Keydren Clark, who graduated as the sixth leading scorer in NCAA history. It was thought that Kaimondre Owes would return to help with that responsibility, but his scholarship was revoked by Coach Dunne.
That means that more will rest on the shoulders of guard Raul Orta and forward Todd Sowell, the only other players on the team last season to average double figures in scoring. Sowell has some size to him as well, and he can also attack the glass, shown in his average of 10.2 rebounds per game last year. Orta attempted the second-most three pointers last season and made 37.0% of his tries, but the jump shooter needs to get to the foul line more this year. And when he gets to the charity stripe, he needs his 56.6% number from the line to improve. Kevin Spann will be the distributor for this team, and with Clark gone he should have the ball in his hands a lot more.
Four newcomers will be welcomed into the Peacock program this season, although one (Akeem Gooding) redshirted last season. Gooding is more of a swingman, while guards Nick Leon and Lawrence Graham will vie for backcourt minutes. Scott McRae is a versatile forward who can score as well as rebound, so look for him to get a shot at earning playing time as well.
Schedule at a Glance
The season opens up at home for the Peacocks, hosting Maryland-Baltimore County November 11th. This is followed with an appearance in the Tyler Ugolyn Columbia Classic, which is winnable from SPC’s perspective. They open with Kennesaw State, the face either host Columbia or New Jersey Institute of Technology the following night. Non-conference matchups include visits Fairleigh Dickinson, Lafayette, and Long Island, and trips to Monmouth, Seton Hall, UNC-Greensboro, and Florida State. St. Peter’s will also be involved in Bracketbuster Weekend February 16th-18th.
Conference play opens with a trip to Loyola (Maryland) December 8th. This could be looked at as a must-win for the Peacocks, especially when you see that they return home to face league favorite Marist four days later. To entertain any thoughts of competing for the MAAC title, St. Peter’s would be advised to split these two games. After Marist, the MACC looks to be wide open, so expect the standings throughout the year to reflect this. St. Peter’s has two three-game home stands during conference play, Canisius-Manhattan-Loyola (MD) from Jaunary 13th-19th, and Niagara-Siena-Iona from February 9th-14th. In 2005-06, St. Peters had a losing record at home (4-5) in MAAC play, but went 5-4 on the road.
Interesting Note: While scoring 26.3 points per game last season, Keydren Clark was also the team’s second-leading rebounder with 4.1 rebounds per game.
2005-06 Team Averages
· Points per game: 74.5 - Points per game allowed: 75.2 - Scoring Margin: -0.7
· Rebounds per game: 37.3 - Opp. Rebounds per game: 38.5 - Rebounding Margin: -1.2
· Assists per game: 13.6 - Turnovers per game: 13.1 - Assist-to-Turnover Ratio: 1:1
· Field Goal Percentage: 42.2% - FG Percentage Defense: 44.6%
· 3-Point Percentage: 33.9% - 3-Point Percentage Def.: 33.3%
· Free Throw Percentage: 72.5%
· Longest winning streak: 5(@ Lafayette. Monmouth, @ Canisius, @ Niagara, Fairleigh Dickinson) December 1st-22nd
· Longest losing streak: 4-twice (@ Florida, Oakland-Michigan, @ Pittsburgh, @ Seton Hall) November 9th-28th, (@ Manhattan, Iona, Fairfield, @ Siena) January 8th-19th
· St. Peter’s won three straight to reach the MAAC Tournament final last year before falling to Iona.