NYC Metro Preview: #2 Fordham
2. Fordham (2006-07 Record: 18-12, 10-6 Atlantic 10)
Head coach: Dereck Whittenburg
Returning Starters: 5- G Kevin Anderson (senior): 6-3, 185; G Marcus Stout (senior): 6-4, 195; F Michael Binns (senior): 6-7, 225; F Bryant Dunston (senior): 6-8, 233; F Sebastian Greene (senior): 6-8, 188.
In each year that Dereck Whittenburg has been on the Fordham campus, the win total has increased each season. And with all five starters, all seniors at that, back on campus, the Rams have a serious chance to win twenty games this season and compete for the Atlantic 10 title. And where does it all start? With senior forward Bryant Dunston (14.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg), who was a second team All-Atlantic 10 selection last season. Dunston has the ability to average a double-double this season, and his offensive skills take some pressure off of his teammates. On the defensive end, Dunston is Fordham’s leading returning rebounder and also was third in the A-10 in blocks last season.
Up front, Dunston will be joined by classmates Michael Binns and Sebastian Greene. Binns (5.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg) isn’t going to wow you with his numbers, but he’s a glue guy who can do a number of the little things on the court. Greene (9.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg) improved substantially from his sophomore to junior year, and another jump this season could move him consistently into double digits in scoring. Greene also was second on the team in blocks and third in steals. Also looking to contribute in the frontcourt is junior forward Chris Bethel (4.7 ppg), who only played about nine minutes per game in 06-07.
The backcourt is led by honorable mention All-Atlantic 10 selection Marcus Stout (15.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg), who led the Rams in scoring last season and was second in the A-10 in steals. He also led the team in three pointers made, knocking down seventy-four shots from behind the arc. Joining him in the starting lineup is Kevin Anderson (3.7 ppg, 4.0 apg), a senior who may not score much but does a good job directing the offense. Anderson, who is a solid on the ball defender, was also second on the team in steals last season. A pair of sophomores will look to contribute off the bench this season, and Brenton Butler (9.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg) did a good job of that last season. Butler also shot 43% from downtown last season. Classmate David Boykin, who only played five minutes per game last season, will look to earn more minutes this season as well. The one newcomer in the backcourt is 6-5 Mike Moore (New Haven, CT), a guard capable of playing both positions. Moore was named New Haven Register State Player of the Year last season after averaging 19.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
The schedule features an appearance in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic, an event that includes Maryland, UCLA and Michigan State. Three days after taking part in the Columbia Regional (Central Missouri St., Central Michigan and host Missouri), the Rams head north to take on Syracuse in the Carrier Dome (November 16th). Other non-conference games of note include Hofstra (December 5th) and Georgetown (December 22nd). The sixteen-game conference schedule stands to be tougher than it has been the past couple of years thanks to the overall improvement of the Atlantic 10.
For the first time in what seems to be ages, the words “Fordham” and “postseason” can be mentioned in the same sentence. But taking that next step, either to the NIT or the NCAA Tournament, could be tough thanks to the improved quality of the A-10. While Xavier, Rhode Island and St. Joseph’s may be looked at as known quantities, you can’t forget about teams such as Dayton, Duquesne, Charlotte and Temple. But this experienced team should be able to once again finish in the top five of the conference, if not higher. There’s more than enough talent on board to ensure a postseason appearance for the Fordham program; now it’s just a matter of going out and getting the job done.