Finals Week and Mid-Season Additions

December 16th, 2009

After two days with just one game combined (Rutgers beating Rider in overtime last night) things will pick up some for the remainder of the week. St. John's made some news on the injury front today, announcing that senior Anthony Mason Jr. will be out three more weeks due to his hamstring injury. Mason Jr., who received a medical redshirt last season due to a foot injury suffered against Boston College, would likely be a safe bet to return around mid-January.

There was also the announcement that sophomore guard Quincy Roberts will miss the remainder of the season due to recurring migraines which are linked to a concussion he suffered during the team's preseason trip to Canada. The school will apply for a medical redshirt and it's hard to see any reason for the NCAA to deny said request. The good news for head coach Norm Roberts and his staff is that they're blessed with depth at essentially every position on the floor, so even with Mason Jr. missing the first few weeks of Big East play they won't lack for bodies. 

As for additions to come following finals week Seton Hall and Marist stand to benefit from such arrivals. The Pirates welcome two players into the fold in Keon Lawrence and Jeff Robinson. Robinson will be eligible for the Temple game following his year out as a Memphis transfer while Lawrence returns from suspension due to a drunken driving charge picked up in early November. Bobby Gonzalez's team becomes deeper just in time for league play; the Pirates have two games before welcoming West Virginia and Syracuse to start the Big East portion of the schedule.

It will also be interesting to see where sharpshooter Jamel Jackson stands in the rotation with their addition as well; after playing sparingly against UMass the JUCO transfer caught fire against VMI (12-for-15 3PT) on his way to scoring 40 points. Coach Gonzalez noted after the game that matchups had a lot ot do with the disparity in minutes for Jackson and his playing time may rely more upon how he'd fit into the gameplan instead of the additions of Lawrence and Robinson.

Marist adds Villanova transfer Casiem Drummond, who will add some much-needed bulk to the frontcourt. How much of a role his addition plays is up for debate; he is a Big East-caliber talent but he didn't exact rack up minutes while playing on the Main Line. But for a team that's still searching for its first win of the season Drummond will be a key factor as the Red Foxes re-enter MAAC play at the end of the month.

The key with mid-season transfers is to make sure that they don't upset the team chemistry; while guys have spent time practicing there's a considerable difference in game action. Expect this to be something that a successful team such as Seton Hall would have to be  more conscious of as 2009 comes to a close; an upset of the rotation could do the trick for a team that's struggled like Marist has. 

Weekly Honors

America East: Stony Brook G Muhammad El-Amin was named to the conference's Honor Roll due to a pair of team-high performances in the Seawolves' 1-1 week: 18 points in a win over Colgate and 16 in a loss to Fordham.

Atlantic 10: Fordham had two honorees for their play in games last week: Freshman F Chris Gaston was named Rookie of the Week for his fifth consecutive double-double (25 points, 11 rebounds) in their win over Stony Brook and G Brenton Butler was named to the Honor Roll for his 25-point outing in the same game. 

Big East: Three players from area schools were named to the conference's Honor Roll on Monday. Rutgers C Hamady Ndiaye for his 22 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Monmouth, St' John's G/F D.J. Kennedy for his averages (12.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 3.5 apg) in a 2-0 week for the Red Storm, and Seton Hall F Herb Pope for his averages (18.5 ppg, 17.5 rpg) in a 2-0 week for the Pirates. 

Colonial: Hofstra freshman F Halil Kanacevic was named CAA Rookie of the Week due to his averages of 9.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 3.0 blocks per game in a 2-0 week for the Pride. It's the second time this season that Kanacevic has received the honor. 

Ivy: Two players from area Ivy League schools were honored on Monday. Columbia G Norwua Agho was named Co-Player of the Week (Harvard's Jeremy Lin) following a week in which he averaged 26.5 ppg in two road wins for the Lions. Agho currently leads the country in three-point percentage (64.4%). And Princeton F Ian Hummer was named Rookie of the Week for his 17-point performance in a win over UNC Greensboro. Named to the Honor Roll were F John Daniels (Columbia) and F Michael Sands (Yale). 

MAAC: Two area players were honored by the MAAC. Fairfield F Anthony Johnson was named Co-Player of the Week (Niagara's Tyrone Lewis) while Iona G Kyle Smyth was named Rookie of the Week. Johnson had a pair of double-doubles last week while Smyth led the Gaels to a win over Providence with 21 points. 

NEC: Two area players shared the Choice Hotels Player of the Week award on Monday. Sacred Heart G/F Corey Hassan averaged 22.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in a 1-1 week for the Pioneers while Monmouth F Travis Taylor averaged 24.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in a 1-1 week for the Hawks. 

Patriot: Army G Cleveland Richard was an Honorable Mention selection on Monday due to his averages of 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in a 2-0 week for the Black Knights. 

The Week Ahead

12/16 Monmouth at Princeton 7p
12/17 Albany at Iona 7:30p
Wagner at BYU 9p
12/19 NJIT at Rutgers 2p
Villanova vs. Fordham 2p (Newark, NJ)
Mount St. Vincent at Army 4p
Saint Peter's at FDU 7p
Rider at Monmouth 7p
Temple at Seton Hall 7p
Manhattan at LIU 7p
Wagner at Nevada 10:05p
12/20 Fairfield at Rhode Island 1p
Stony Brook at Sacred Heart 1p
Princeton at Maine 2p
Hofstra vs. St. John's 2p (Aeropostale Holiday Festival)
Binghamton at Marist 4p
12/21 St. John's vs. Cornell/Davidson Time TBD
NJIT at Virginia 7p
Yale at Providence 7p
12/22 New Hampshire at Army 2p
Sacred Heart at Holy Cross 7p
Navy at Seton Hall 7p
Lafayette at St. Francis (NY) 7p
Saint Peter's at Rutgers 7:30p
Wagner vs. Jackson State 8p (Las Vegas)

Game of the Week: Temple at Seton Hall (December 19th)

This is an intriguing game, especially after the Owls knocked off then-#3 Villanova on Sunday. The Pirates lack a quality non-conference win to this point in the season and this will likely be one of two opportunities (the other being Virginia Tech in Cancun on January 2nd) for them to pick one up. Juan Fernandez, described by fans and media alike as "Pepe Sanchez with a jump shot" lit up the Wildcats to the tune of 33 points and Lavoy Allen is a handful in the frontcourt.

Fran Dunphy's team is one of the nation's best defensive teams according to Ken Pomeroy's stats, ranking 18th in raw defensive efficieny and 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They play at a more deliberate tempo while the Pirates will look to ramp things up, and it will be interesting to see how Coach Gonzalez works Keon Lawrence and Jeff Robinson into the fold. To say the least this is a risky matchup in which to tinker with the rotation and possibly team chemistry if all hands aren't on deck.