2007-08 Marist Basketball Preview
Marist Red Foxes
Overall Rank: #135
Conference Rank: #3 Metro Atlantic
2006-07: 25-9, 14-4, 1st
2006-07 postseason: NIT
Jared Jordan? Will Whittington? James Smith? Who needs them? The trio only averaged 46.1 points, 10.6 assists and 15.2 rebounds last year. Marist’s best chance to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament may have been last year; a loss in the MAAC Tournament put an end to that, but they are not going away just because of the loss of a few key players.
Jordan averaged 17.2 points and 8.7 assists and will get his shot in the NBA after being drafted in the second round. Whittington even outscored Jordan and the long range specialist drained four long balls per contest. Smith was often overshadowed by the talented backcourt, but the big man averaged 11.3 points and a team high 6.0 boards per game. Seldom used Miles Orman has also run out of eligibility and guard Gerald Carter has transferred. So how the heck do you replace Jordan, Whittington and Smith?
Former players from Syracuse, Vermont and Texas A&M is a good place to start. Louie McCroskey, the representative from the Orange, can do it all. The 6-5 wing showed flashes of potential at Syracuse, but given further minutes, McCroskey should be able to develop a consistent level of play with Marist. Ryan Schneider is the replacement for Whittington. The big forward who can shoot the long ball spent two seasons as a Catamount where he averaged 6.4 points as a sophomore. He may not shoot the long ball at a 40 percent clip like Whittington, but he is a more effective rebounder. Late pick-up David Devezin is reportedly headed to Marist after spending a year with the Aggies and at San Jacinto College. Devezin has yet to prove himself at the Division I level, but has enough talent to play right away and fill a huge need for the Foxes. He is a tough and quick point guard and, if he lives up to his potential he had coming out of high school, will dominate the MAAC. Prior to the arrival of Devezin, Marist would have to depend on some newcomers to run the point. Dejuan Goodwin, Jay Gavin and Jermiah Bowman are all options. Goodwin and Gavin are the likely candidates to see minutes as freshmen. Redshirt freshman Lawrence Williams and incoming freshman Cory Bauer will solidify the front line.
Who to Watch:
Ryan Stilphen and Wilfred ‘Spongy’ Benjamin will be interesting to watch in the frontcourt. The seniors are by far the most experienced big men on the team and there is little depth to speak of behind them. Thus, it will be dangerous for Coach Matt Brady to start both of them. If the team wants to go big, they have that option, but if they want to go small, there are plenty of quality choices for that too. In any event, there are six starters on this team and having a player like Benjamin coming off the bench will be a huge asset. Stilphen will give the Red Foxes a little more scoring punch, while Benjamin is a better rebounder, leaving the door open for Coach Brady to substitute based on the opposition.
Marist has enough talent to win the MAAC again this year. And they definitely have enough firepower and depth to win the conference tournament and reach the NCAAs. Ben Farmer is the best returning three-point shooter, but the team could use a little more scoring punch out of the wing. Marist fans hope Farmer will be more aggressive now that he is a senior leader on the team. Getting all the newcomers and transfers adjusted is important, but even the returning guys have a big adjustment to make without Jordan, Whittington and Smith on the floor.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
David Devezin, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Louie McCroskey, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Ben Farmer, Senior, Guard, 5.7 points per game
Wilfred Benjamin, Senior, Forward, 5.9 points per game
Ryan Stilphen, Senior, Forward, 10.8 points per game