Holiday Power Rankings

Connor Green '16 has had his ups and downs, but he's the leader of a 7-0 Amherst squad and coming off of a 39-point performance against Babson. (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)
Connor Green ’16 has had his ups and downs, but he’s the leader of a 7-0 Amherst squad and coming off of a 39-point performance against Babson. (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)

Our effort so far this basketball season has been a little bit lacking, I will admit. As happens with this stuff, school work is getting priority over NESCAC sports blogging (somehow my mom thinks one is more important than the other. Imagine that!). Luckily, I’ve got a little window to give a quick overview of where teams are right now before they take their holiday break. I haven’t seen every single team play yet but I’m getting there.

1. Amherst (7-0)

The only undefeated team left in the league, Amherst is playing more to the level of their talent this year than it did last. As hinted at in the beginning of the year, Coach Dave Hixon has decided to go to a lineup of four shooters surrounding one big man for long stretches, including the starting lineup. He has done this type of lineup in years past, and the Jeffs don’t actually give up a lot in size since Jeff Racy ’17, Michael Riopel ’18, and Johnny McCarthy ’18 all go 6’5″or 6’6″. They are outscoring teams by 24.7 ppg so far, but a lot of that is because when it is a blowout late, Amherst’s back of the bench is still better than the teams they have played so far. Don’t get too excited when the Jeffs blow out teams by 30 because of that depth factor.

2. Wesleyan (7-1)

As many expected, the two finalists from the NESCAC championship game a year ago are the class of the league, with the Cardinals showing that their late run last year was no fluke. Their only loss to Lyndon State is a puzzling one, but it was in the first game of the season and by just two points, 80-78, so we will let that one slide. The balanced attack of last year where anybody could be the leading scorer for a given game has yielded to an attack led by BJ Davis ’16 who is averaging 19.7 ppg on 52.4 percent shooting. Davis has also kept his assist and turnover rate at the exact same as last year, so the ball being in his hands a lot has been a good thing. He also was responsible on Saturday for the game winning shot against Williams.

3. Tufts (6-2)

Nobody plays a harder season opening schedule, and the Jumbos have walked the tightrope to get to 6-2. Three of their wins have come by three points or less, though one of their losses is also by only three points. At this point last year, against a similarly difficult schedule, Tufts was 2-6 (many of those losses were close, too). Turning those close losses into wins I think is a factor of the Jumbos’ perimeter players becoming the leaders scoring-wise. It is easier to get baskets at the end of games with guards than big men. Vincent Pace ’18 (18.3 ppg) is becoming that go-to guy on the perimeter, and other guys like Tarik Smith ’17, Ryan Spadaford ’16 and Stephen Haladyna ’16 give more scoring punch out there. That has made the lack of scoring from star center Tom Palleschi ’17 (11.0 ppg) not too much of an issue.

4. Colby (5-1)

The Mules might chafe at this spot since their only loss was in overtime in the first game of the year, but they also needed a Ryan Jann ’16 three to beat a 2-5 Regis team by a point. I got to see them play on Saturday against Bowdoin, and the skill on offense is there to play with anyone. All five starters are threats to score the ball, and they do a great job of moving the ball. They lead the league with 19.5 apg, and the return of forward Patrick Stewart ’16 as someone capable of filling it up from deep is a big help. I worry about their defense which is the third-worst in ppg with 76.3. Some of that is because Colby likes to play at a fast pace, but it is still frustrating that a team with five seniors can’t play better team defense.

5. Williams (5-2)

Only one member of the rotation is a senior, two of the three top scorers are freshmen, and two starting guards are injured. Yet the Ephs are 5-2 and had an early 16-point lead over Wesleyan before ultimately losing on that BJ Davis shot. Starting point guard Mike Greenman ’17 could be back for their next game, and shooting guard Chris Galvin ’18 is also supposed to be back after Christmas. I suppose it’s better for the Ephs to be injured early on, as it’s allowing more young players to get minutes. Their game tomorrow against Springfield, a team that beat Trinity, will be another good benchmark for the young team.

6. Trinity (4-2)

Maybe this is a little bit of a disappointing start for the Bantams, but they had some questionable non-conference losses last year also and then went 9-1 in the NESCAC. Neither of their losses are particularly bad, and Coach Jim Cosgrove is also playing a very deep rotation at this point of the season. At a glance, the statistics for their big three of Ed Ogundeko ’17, Jaquann Starks ’16, and Shay Ajayi ’16 aren’t great. Then you realize that none of them is averaging more than 25.0 mpg. So while Ogundeko’s 12.5 rpg is already fantastic, it becomes flat out ridiculous when converted to per 40 minutes: 21.0 with the next closest player at 15.7 rebounds per 40 minutes. The bottom line is the Bantams have the best scoring defense and second-best rebounding margin so far. They are going to be good come NESCAC games.

7. Bowdoin (4-3)

My dear Polar Bears could have really used that win over Colby Saturday, and even though seven feels low, this is a good team, albeit with some potentially killer faults. Two of their three losses are by a combined six points. Lucas Hausman ’16 is a menace, but he isn’t a superhero. Colby did a good job in their win over the Polar Bears of harassing him and not allowing him to get to his favorite spots. Hausman still had 22 points, but it took him 22 shots to get there. For me, I’m interested to see how the identity of the team evolves. Will they become run-and-gun, completely abandoning the ethos of last year, or will they try to still retain some of that defensive identity?

8. Bates (4-2)

Bobcats fans might be a little mad at me for putting Bowdoin over them, but the Bobcats don’t have as good a win as Bowdoin does over Babson, though that Babson loss looks worse and worse every time a NESCAC team wins in overtime against the Beavers. Anyways, the loss of Graham Safford ’15 has not hurt this team offensively at all. Bates is averaging 86.8 ppg, second best in the NESCAC. Mike Boornazian ’16 is the man leading the way with 15.5 ppg. Most encouraging is that the three-point production of not only Safford but also Billy Selmon ’15 and Adam Philpott ’15 has been replaced by guys like Shawn Strickland ’18  and Josh Britten ’16. Britten barely played at all last year, and his shooting is valuable to open up space inside for the Bobcats.

9. Conn College (5-2)

Guess what, the Camels are hot right now! They’ve won five games in a row, and they just had their best win of the season over a 6-3 Eastern Connecticut team that beat Trinity earlier this week. Point guard Tyler Rowe ’19, who had 22 vs. Eastern Connecticut, has very quickly become a starter and is providing a huge spark with 12.3 ppg and 3.1 apg. David Labossiere ’19 is playing so well that the coaching staff can’t keep him off the court, and he just started his first game of the season. Some players are taking smaller roles because of it, but the Camels are playing well together. And don’t look now, but they play vs. Hamilton and Middlebury, the two teams below them in our rankings, in the first weekend of NESCAC play. Could they really open 2-0 in the NESCAC?

10. Hamilton (5-3)

The Continentals are 5-3 even though they are essentially playing without their top three scorers from last year. I say essentially because Ajani Santos ’16 is actually still on the roster and playing, but he is averaging just 1.6 ppg. He has actually been playing more and even got the start last game against Hobart. However, he scored just two points and continues to be somewhat of a mystery. If he is able to get everything straightened out, he would join Peter Hoffmann ’19 and the others on this young nucleus to make a pretty intriguing team. As it is, without him Hamilton is reliant almost entirely on perimeter scoring.

11. Middlebury (4-5)

Do I think Middlebury is the worst team in the NESCAC … well maybe, actually. At this point I can’t put them above anybody. Two of their five wins are blowouts against an 0-8 Johnson State team, but there are a couple of close losses to RPI and Skidmore. The statistics say that Middlebury is 4-5, but again that is colored by those two games vs. Johnson State. Granted, I’ve only been able to watch them for stretches online, but what I’ve seen hasn’t looked great. They have nobody who can score inside besides Matt Daley ’16, and nobody besides Matt St. Amour ’17 looks to be an average or better three point shooter. And they’re young. Daley and Connor Huff ’16 are the only seniors making an impact. We’ll see. 

Brotherly Love: Bates Season Preview

Marcus (left) and Malcolm (right) will take over as the leaders of the Bobcats, both on and off teh court. (Courtesy of Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)
Marcus (left) and Malcolm (right) will join Mike Boornazian ’16 as the leaders for the Bobcats this season. (Courtesy of Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Editor’s Note: Things can be a little confusing now that the season is underway. Consider the rest of our previews as season predictions based off of a compilation of conversations with coaches and players and observations from the first couple of games.
All statistics that appear next to players’ names are from the 2014-15 season.

The 2014-2015 season was a historic one for the Bobcats. They finished with the second best record in NESCAC play at 7-3 and the most wins in school history with 21. Their season was put on hold when they lost to Wesleyan, whom Bates had beaten earlier in the year, early in the NESCAC tournament. However, the Bobcats’ impressive record earned them an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, and the Bobcats sure took advantage. Carried by extraordinary defense and scoring contributions from everyone, Bates beat St.Vincent easily in the first round and Stockton in overtime in the second round. Their season came to an end against NESCAC foe Trinity in the Sweet 16 in a crazy atmosphere at the Webster Center at Babson College. They finished the year #22 in the country according to

Coach Jon Furbush brought some new faces into the program this year including assistant coaches Jim Murphy, formerly the women’s coach for the past 21 years, and Mike Tomaino ’15, who played wide receiver for the Bobcats and served as the team’s manager as a student. The Bobcats lose a lot of key players, including two starters from last year, but you better believe Coach Furbush has taken the tournament experience as a building block for this season. The players are surely not thinking about the past season, and are ready to continue their success.

“We have a lot of young guys who are more than capable of filling in for graduated players and have success. We’ll be ready.”  – Mike Boornazian ’16.

2014-2015 Record:

21-7 overall; 7-3  NESCAC (t-2nd); Lost to Wesleyan in NESCAC Tournament Quarterfinals; Lost to Trinity in NCAA Sweet 16

Head Coach: Jon Furbush, 8th Season, 94-85 (.525), Bates College Class of 2005

Returning Starters: Three

Mike Boornazian ’16 (15.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg)
Malcolm Delpeche ’17 (7.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg)
Marcus Delpeche ’17 (9.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 58.1% FG)

With three returning starters, the Bobcats are in a good position. Coach Furbush has his newest 1000-point scorer Mike Boornazian back, who will figure to take and make a lot of shots for Bates. Malcolm and Marcus Delpeche can provide a spark at any moment with one of their posterizing dunks.

Projected Starting Lineup

PG Shawn Strickland ’18 (1.2 ppg, 5.5 mpg, 85.7% FT)

Standing at 5’8″ 160 pounds, Shawn Strickland is the new starting point guard for Bates. He has a strong build and knack for getting into the lane and his smaller size contributes to his quickness and allows him to beat defenders off the dribble and create scoring opportunities. Playing in only 5.5 mpg last year, he is a little inexperienced, but this year he is already averaging 24.2 mpg (second on the team) with 11.5 ppg, so expect him to keep helping the Bobcats find ways to win.

SG Josh Britten ’16 (1.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 5.5 mpg)

Britten has battled injuries in his first three seasons at Bates and looks to make an impact in a huge way this year. His sample size is small, but this lefty can shoot the three ball very well (44.4 percent so far this year) and play above average defense. His 6’0″ 185-pound frame can be a matchup problem for lighter guards because of his physicality on defense. He is averaging 7.5 ppg this year, scoring a season-high 13 points in a winning effort against Maine-Fort Kent.

SF Mike Boornazian (15.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg)

Boornazian is the returner who enjoyed the most success last season. At 6’4″ he causes mismatches all over the floor. Guards have trouble defending his three point shot and forwards usually get beat off the dribble. He needs to use this extra attention to facilitate the ball to open shooters as well as push the ball in transition. Look for him to have the ball late in games this year, which is something everyone should be afraid of.

PF Marcus Delpeche (9.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 58.1% FG)

Didn’t I just write about this guy? Oh wait, there are two of them?!?! (NESCAC players let out sigh). Marcus has an athletic 6’7″ frame that leads to him getting a lot of easy buckets. He shot 58.1 percent from the field last year and doesn’t look to be slowing down. He needs to work on staying out of foul trouble as it has limited his minutes so far this season. Expect him to be a part of a lot of big plays for the Bobcats and provide some highlight reel dunks along the way.

C Malcolm Delpeche (7.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg)

Malcolm is just one of the twin towers for the Bobcats. At 6’8″ 210 pounds, he can jump out of the gym and creates a lot of second chance opportunities. He has improved his midrange game this year, which will cause forwards to press him more, leading to more … you guessed it, dunks. He is second on the team this season with 13.0 ppg and first with 8.5 rpg. And you can’t use the hack-a-Malc method on this Delpeche brother. He is shooting 92.3 percent from the stripe!

Breakout Player: PG Shawn Strickland

Strickland has looked very good so far this season and it looks like he will continue that trend. If he can keep up his play and control the game like a true point guard, the Bobcats won’t miss a beat. He is going to play a lot of minutes for this team so that will give him the opportunity to show everyone that he can ball.

Everything Else

So far Bates is 2-2 on the season, currently on a two-game skid. They look to bounce back this Tuesday, Dec. 8 against Husson at Alumni Gymnasium. One of the problems so far for Bates has been their defense, as they have given up 100 points in two straight games. Scoring has been their strength, scoring a combined 181 points in those loses. Look for Bates to try and push the tempo as the season goes on and start scoring in transition. Strickland can get down the floor quick, and because of Bates’ all-around athleticism this should lead to quick scoring opportunities.

Mike Newton ’16 is the ultimate utility man for Furbush’s team. He can get rebounds in bunches and hit from behind the arc as well. His motor seems to never run out and he will provide solid minutes late in games. Coach Furbush knows how important depth is on a basketball team, and players like G Justin Zukowski ’18, G Quin Leary ’17, F Max Eaton ’17 and PG Jerome Darling ’17 will contribute off the bench. The Bobcats feel and know that they can be a top team in the NESCAC this year. They have a lot of experience returning and some young players showing promise. Bates is poised to stick near the top of the NESCAC standings.

Four Way Way Too Early Thoughts on NESCAC Basketball

F Matt Palecki '16 and the Polar Bears shocked #11 Babson earlier this season. (Courtesy of Brian Beard - CIP/Bowdoin Athletics)
F Matt Palecki ’16 and the Polar Bears shocked #11 Babson earlier this season. (Courtesy of Brian Beard – CIP/Bowdoin Athletics)

We are only a few weeks into the season, and March is still further away than the beginning of the academic year last September. So let’s jump to conclusions! All these come with the enormous caveat that we are not even 1/6 through the season yet.

1. The NESCAC is not as good as we thought: Only two undefeated teams remain: Amherst and Williams. Six teams have multiple loses. That’s a lot of losses. Pretty much every team can overcome the early losses and still make the NCAA tournament as an at-large given they finish near the top of the NESCAC. The only team that is already in deep trouble is Middlebury with their four losses, but at least they’ve lost to good competition in teams with a combined record of 15-7. So it’s not like a death sentence for anybody, really. What it is though, is a disappointing start for a league that annually preforms very well out of conference.

Will it affect the NESCAC overall come March? We were somewhat doom and gloom early on last year about the NESCAC getting at-large bids because of non-conference losses, and the league was still able to get four bids pretty easily. And that the league did well in the NCAA tournament last year, which might help give a little more goodwill with the committee, even if officially it doesn’t matter. Let’s just hope that everyone starts playing a little bit better.

2. Bowdoin beating Babson is the best game of the year so far: There is not a lot of competition for this one, though Colby can lay claim to best ending with Ryan Jann’s three pointer to beat Regis. In terms of significance, Bowdoin beating Babson, the #11 team in the country per,  is much bigger. I was lucky enough to be there, and the game was a showcase for the individual offensive talents of forward Jack Simonds ’19 and guard Lucas Hausman ’16. The two combined for 62 of Bowdoin’s 88 points, and many of those points came off of isolation plays run for one of them. Hausman continues to be a marvel averaging just below 30.0 ppg so far, and Simonds is already a full-fledged Robin to Hausman’s Batman averaging 16.8 ppg. In the game Sunday, Bowdoin took advantage of a somewhat sleepy Babson team to control the first two thirds of the game. Bowdoin had a 17-point lead with 14:54 left in the second half, but Babson chipped away at the lead the rest of the way. In overtime, Simonds and Hausman scored the first 14 points for the Bears, most of them at the foul line.

The game did raise worries about the Bears’ ability against certain opponents. Babson absolutely dominated inside, out-rebounding Bowdoin 54-32 and out-scoring them in the paint 54-30. Many of those buckets came in transition with Bowdoin allowing Babson forward Bradley Jacks to beat them down the floor and get position for a lot of easy buckets. That transition defense can be cleaned up, but the rebounding margin is a harder task. Without John Swords ’15, the Polar Bears lack a true center who can control the paint. Another worry for Bowdoin is that they had just FOUR assists against Babson. As a team! Sure, some assists might have gone uncounted, but the fact remains that the Polar Bears are relying on the individual brilliance of Hausman and Simonds to dangerous levels.

3. Connor Green ’16 is in for a weird year: We noted in our Amherst preview that Green ended last season on a cold streak, and the struggles have carried over to this year with Green shooting 38.0 percent overall and 29.6 percent from deep. There is a reason to believe this might be more than just a shooting slump though. Green is a volume shooter who requires a lot of shots to get into a good rhythm. Even two years ago with National POY Aaron Toomey ’14 on the roster, Green lead the Jeffs in shots per game with 13.9. Last year he shot 14.0 shots per game but actually saw his ppg slip from 17.9 to 16.0 because of a drop in shooting percentage.

This year he is scoring 13.0 PPG on 12.5 shots per game. Some of that is because his minutes are down since Amherst is blowing teams out so far, but even once games get closer, will it make sense for Green to shoot it much more than 10 times per game? With the continued development of other players like Eric Conklin ’17 and Jeff Racy ’17, players who can score more efficiently than Green though not at the same volume, Amherst has so many options on offense that it might not make sense for Green to shoot all that much. The most decorated player on the Amherst roster could hypothetically end up being the one who gets the most in the way of their success. At the same time, Green just scored 21 points last night against Westfield State, albeit on 20 shots.

4. If you can, watch Wesleyan vs. Williams Saturday at 7:00 PM

The Ephs are a surprising 5-0 despite losing their three top scorers from last year. Dan Aronowitz ’17, your most recent NESCAC POTW, is leading the way with 19.4 ppg. The next two highest scorers are freshmen: forward Kyle Scadlock ’19 and guard Bobby Casey ’19. The real story is the improved defense for the Ephs as they are allowing 63.0 ppg, 8.8 ppg less than last year. Neither of Hayden Rooke-Ley ’15 or Ryan Kilcullen ’15 was a good defensive player, and I’m guessing having another year with Coach Kevin App is paying dividends, too. Still, I do need to include the requisite caveat that it is just four games against teams we don’t know too much about.

Wesleyan began the season with a loss to Lyndon State, a team usually not very strong (they did also beat Endicott who is decent so who knows), and they’ve needed to hold off a couple of other teams for close wins. Part of the problem is early season injuries to Jack Mackey ’16 and Joe Edmonds ’16. You can’t blame guard BJ Davis ’16 though because he is averaging 21.4 PPG on 58.2 percent shooting with 3.0 APG to boot. The game last year in December went to overtime, and this one will be a great opportunity to see just how well the Ephs are playing.

Bantams Want to Remain Elite: Trinity Season Preview

Andrew Hurd '16 with the ball in the Sweet Sixteen Game vs. Bates. (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)
Andrew Hurd ’16 with the ball in the Sweet Sixteen Game vs. Bates. (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)

At the end of the 2014-15 regular season, Trinity stood at 19-5 and atop of the NESCAC with a 9-1 conference record. After beating Colby in a close NESCAC Quarterfinal matchup, the Bantams fell to Wesleyan by 3 points in the semifinals. Trinity posted a good enough record and strength of schedule to be granted an NCAA Tournament at-large bid by the NCAA selection committee, and Coach Cosgrove and the boys went dancing. They grooved their way to the Elite 8 beating Colby-Sawyer, Salisbury, and Bates — only to hear the music fade in a heart wrenching overtime loss to Babson. The NCAA March Madness run was Trinity’s best since 1999 when they lost to Connecticut College in the Elite 8. Their lone Final Four run came over a decade ago, and the 2015-2016 Bantams have plans to top that ’95 Final Four banner hanging in Oosting Gymnasium this year.

In the off-season, Head coach James Cosgrove was awarded NESCAC Coach of the Year, while assistant coach Tyler Simms took an assistant job with Brown basketball, and three new assistant coaches have hopped on in Sean Flynn, Ed Quick, and Alex Conaway ’15. Despite the Bantams losing some size after graduating six seniors, they return their most talented players and acquired some up and coming talent to help replace those losses. Trinity came into the season ranked as the 12th best team in the nation, but dropped to 18th in the most recent “” rankings.

“We recognize it as a good and a bad thing […] based on the fact that every team wants to play their best against us and beat us […] This group is very different from last years group, and we have to actually accomplish something and not be complacent with what we accomplished last year. […] the vets know what’s expected by leading with positivity, as well as addressing things that people have to improve upon for us to have the successful year that we look forward to.”

-Ed Ogundeko ’17

2014-2015 Record:

23-7 overall; 9-1 NESCAC (1st); Lost to Wesleyan in NESCAC Tournament semifinals; Lost to Babson in NCAA Elite 8.

Head Coach: James Cosgrove, 6th season, 71-59 (.546)

Returning Starters: Two

G Jaquann Starks ’16 (14.1 ppg, 2.1 apg, 43.6% 3PT)
F  Shay Ajayi ’16 (10.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.6 spg)

At this point, Coach Cosgrove seems set on his starting lineup, which will feature four proven seniors along with experienced junior center Ed Ogundeko ’17, who started the first 10 games last season. Andrew Hurd will be running the point; he was effective down the stretch getting starter minutes and proved he can distribute and handle the ball with ease. With Hurd at point guard this year and Starks holding down shooting guard, it will allow Cosgrove to get the most out of his starting five. It is tough to win with just five guys though; Chris Turnbull ’17 will serve as a spark plug off the bench.

Projected Starting Lineup:

Guard Andrew Hurd ’16 (5.0 PPG, 3.2 APG, 2.6 A/TO)

Andrew Hurd transferred to Trinity as a junior last season. While only starting 5 games last year, he did a good job handling the ball and got a lot of minutes off the bench (21.2 MPG). So far this year Hurd has been hot on 6-12 shooting and posting a 6.7 (20/3) Assist to Turnover ratio which is what you need out of your point guard. His quickness should add some spunk as he had 42 steals in his 2015-16 campaign.

G Jaquann Starks ’16 (14.1 ppg, 2.1 apg, 43.6% 3PT)

Jaquann Starks, a 2015 NESCAC First Teamer, will certainly be a key for the Bantams this year. No doubt about it—he can shoot the lights out, which is a big reason to why he is leading the team with 58 points this season. With Starks moving to shooting guard he is able to get more quality shooting looks, and it should prove beneficial for the Bantams down the stretch.

G Rick Naylor ’16 (5.4 PPG, 36.3% 3FG, 1.6 APG)

Rick Naylor played in every game last year and started 5 games, averaging 5.4 points per game. He was second on the team in 3-pointers shooting 36.3%. With Naylor starting at small forward and Starks at shooting guard, look for the Bantams to be a threat from 3-point land. Naylor is a strong 6’3 body at small forward and should play a much more prominent role this year.

F  Shay Ajayi ’16 (10.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.6 spg)

Shay Ajayi’s senior leadership is seen on and off the court, and the Bantams will benefit from him staying consistent as the year progresses. He got off to a hot start this year posting a double-double in the first two games. His season totals for points sit at 9.8 PPG, third on the team. He is a body that is wasted on the bench, and his lengthy, athletic 6’6 physique makes him a staple down low. He is averaging 10.o RPG, and the Bantams need him to continue that production given the loss of other big men to graduation.

F/C Ed Ogundeko ’17 (9.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.4 BPG)

Ed Ogundeko is Trinity’s big boy standing at 6’6, 235 pounds with a powerful build. He has a lot of potential and will play a large role for the Bantams this year. Ogundeko is doing a good job supplying the team with buckets, as he is second on the team with 14.3 PPG in the first four games. Being solely a center this year is working out for the Bantams and Ogundeko, who is averaging a double-double so far.

Breakout Player: Chris Turnbull ’17

Bantam Junior Chris Turnbull, a small forward from New Jersey, has waited his turn. He is a threat from beyond the arc, and his 6’4 long build tailors him as a good defender and rebounder. He only averaged 14 minutes per game as a sophomore, but in his first game this year he spent 28 minutes on the hardwood compiling 9 points and 8 rebounds while showing some confidence attacking the basket. If Turnbull’s 3-point game heats up, he will be a big time help for the Bantams. If you flashback to exactly one year ago, Turnbull caught fire and dropped 17 points on Springfield, going 3-4 from distance helping Trinity to an 81-76 win.

Everything Else

Losing a couple key big men from last year in Alex Conaway ’15 and George Papadeas ’15 will certainly put pressure on Ajayi and Ogondeko. Expect a lot from the two 6’6″ bash brothers this year, as they have combined for a total of 5 double-doubles in their 1st four games back. There is a 3rd (little) bash brother in 6’5 freshman Connor Merinder who will get his minutes down low. Conaway’s presence on the bench as an assistant coach will help keep the big men in line.  The return of Starks is going to be vital for this team. His ability to shoot the ball matches that of championship caliber scorers, and when Starks gets hot there is no stopping him. Hurd will take on a more prominent role as the point guard, which will allow for Starks to be a pure shooter off the ball.

Chris Turnbull ’17 and Eric Gendron ’18 have come into their own this year, and will be key players off the bench with Gendron averaging 7.5 ppg so far. Langdon Neal ’17 transferred from American University this year and has seen 13.3 mpg while averaging 4.0 ppg. Coach Cosgrove feels he is still adjusting to Trinity’s playing style, so look for him to gain presence as the season continues. Freshmen Erick Santana ’19 and Paul Colson ’19 have done well with their time on the court and Coach Cosgrove will keep them warm on the bench. With Trinity hanging on to their three top scorers from last year in Ajayi, Ogundeko, and Starks, they could match or even surpass last year’s great performance.