Tuesday, August 24, 2010

America East: 2010-2011 Preview

The Players
Player of the Year: John Holland, Boston University
Holland led the conference in points per game last year and earned a spot on the America East first time. He was obviously a big part of the offense for BU, but will carry an even bigger load with the graduation of Corey Lowe. Losing Lowe and his exceptional assist rate may hurt Holland. His decision making ability will be put to the test and could play on the ball much more. Holland's sparkling efficiency suggests he will be ready to step up to the test.
Best of the Rest:
  1. Gerald McLemore, Maine - McLemore was Maine's leading scorer last year as a sophomore. He took the most shots for the Bears and posted the best effective field goal percentage. However, he was pretty one dimensional. Shooting the ball at nearly 40% from three is nice, but we would like to see him improve in other areas entering his junior season.
  2. Joe Zeglinski, Hartford - Zeglinski was a top scorer in the conference last year. He emerged last season as the featured player, but as you might expect saw a drop in efficiency. Zeglinski does a great job taking care of the basketball, but like McLemore needs to expand his game.
  3. Evan Fjeld, Vermont - The big man did it all for the Catamounts in a somewhat limited role last year. He led the team in eFG%, took great care of the ball, rebounded well, and was a solid shot blocker. With Blakely and Joseph gone, Fjeld should be the big man on campus in Burlington.
  4. Bryan Dougher, Stony Brook - Dougher was a prolific three point shooter last season and will be counted on more with the departure of POY El-Amin. Dougher can take care of the ball and will almost certainly be an extremely efficient player again next season.
  5. Greer Wright, Binghamton - Wright was the clear go to guy for Binghamton last season. The 6'7" rising senior led the team in assist rate and getting to the line. He finished extremely well at the rim, but probably took a few two many threes (30.8%).
Breakout Player: Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook
Tommy Brenton was clearly a solid player for Stony Brook last year. It is probably a reach to make him the breakout player, but we did it anyway. Brenton was named to the America East All-Defensive Team. He was a monster on the boards and got to the line well. So how can he possibly be a breakout candidate? Usage. On offense, he simply was not a top option for Stony Brook. He was only used on 15.7% of possessions and took a shot on only 11.1% of possessions. If Brenton can increase his impact while staying steady, then he could reach Marqus Blakely levels in terms of production across the board.
Other Breakout Candidates:
  1. Ben Crenca, Vermont - The 6'10" freshman got very limited playing time for the Catamounts last season. The big man did post an ORtg of 106.4 and was a great rebounder and good shot blocker. He will need improvements, but he will be important for UVM this season.
  2. Mahamoud Jabbi, Binghamton - Jabbi was very similar to Crenca in terms of production last year, but with an even more polished offensive game. However, Jabbi saw a lot of minutes for the Bearcats and was unable to assert himself in the offense. Jabbi may not have great upside for a breakout candidate, but he is an efficient big man with little downside.
  3. Mike Black, Albany - The freshman guard was a big part of the Great Danes offense when in the game last season. Black's three point shooting and assist rate both look very promising. If he improve his ball control and two point shooting from his freshman year he could have a true breakout season for Albany.

The Teams


Will Harris was the best player for Coach Will Brown last season. His departure is unfortunate for the Danes, and it will be interesting to see who steps up. Tim Ambrose is back with his comprehensive but mildly inefficient play. Ambrose featured an excellent assist rate, but did not shoot the ball well or take great care of the basketball. Still, he is a very interesting piece to have given his ability to be a tremendous focal point in the offense. Mike Black and Logan Aronhalt both have potential for the Great Danes. Black featured an excellent assist rate and three point shooting. However, turnovers and two point shooting were weaknesses. Aronhalt took a plethora of shots when in the game last season. Results were not good, but the ability to be used on a high percentage of possessions is the first step in becoming a go to guy. Fran Urli and Billy Allen were both efficient role players last season and are looking to build. However, the Great Danes still have a long ways to go on offense and defense to get back to the Jamar Wilson days.

Key Recruits: Luke Devlin (6'8") "He has a tremendous skill set for a big man and likes to play physical," [Coach Will] Brown said. "He has range to the three-point arc and is very clever in the low post. He possesses a very strong feel for the game, plus can pass the ball."

Binghamton has everyone back from a surprisingly decent offensive team. 1.01 points per possession in confernece play was not bad, but defensively they struggled giving up 1.05 PPP. Greer Wright was the clear go to guy for Binghamton. The 6'7" rising senior led the team in assist rate and getting to the line. He finished extremely well at the rim, but probably took a few two many threes (30.8%). He will certainly be the player with the biggest impact this season. Kyrie Sutton is a young player with high volume and low efficiency on offense. Sutton's rebounding and shotblocking presence alone makes him a useful piece. He has some severe warts, but is oozing with potential. Mahamoud Jabbi is a great mid major big man. He rebounds, takes care of the ball, and blocks shots. A 113.1 ORtg and solid defense makes him an excellent low post threat. Moussa Camara and Umur Peten were the other two players on Binghamton with an ORtg over 100.

Key Recruits: Rob Mansell and KJ Brown per RecruitRecon

Boston University

B.U. will be undergoing a makeover this season. John Holland is a very good start. Our pick for Player of the Year will be in for a nice season. Jake O'Brien is the other useful offensive piece back. At 6'8" he can step out and hit the three and should be ready to take a larger part. The only other (significant) guy back is Jeff Pelage. He is a great rebounder and shot blocker, but badly inefficient on offense. These three are not a bad start, but obviously B.U. will need to get production from incoming recruits. They have seven guys coming in per ESPN. Head coach Pat Chambers has said here, "We're really fired up about this year's incoming freshmen class. They have big shoes to fill with what the nine seniors accomplished last season, but I know they will continue to carry the torch and take pride in BU basketball."

Key Recruits: (see above)


Hartford was just another young team in the America East. Everyone is back for the Hawks, but they will need major improvements. Neither offense nor defense were good for Hartford. Joe Ziglinski is a solid foundation, but the players around him need to step up. Anthony Minor and Kevin Estes were the only two players with ORtg's above 100, but neither got many minutes. Andres Torres (no, not the baseball player) is an interesting piece. He hesitantly shot the ball at a high percentage and had a great assist rate. Turnovers were his main problem. He provides some upside for the Hawks. Without dramatic improvemnt it should be much of the same for Hartford.

Key Recruits: Mustafa Jones


Maine is, you guessed it, another young America East team. Only one player is lost from last year from graduation. Maine should once again be in the upper half of the conference due to good, solid defense. On offense, Maine will be led by Gerald McLemore. Murphy Burnatowski will be looking to build on a solid freshman year. At 6'7" he was a presence on defense. Improvement on offense by Burnatowski would be great for a Maine team looking for scorers. Shooting will continue to be a problem. McLemore was the only player last year with an eFG% over 50%. However, defense is the key for the Bears. Stony Brook, B.U., and Vermont are all losing key guys. Slight improvement from Maine could put them in the hunt for an America East Title.

Key Recruits: Alasdair Fraser


Yet another team with just one senior gone from last year. Unfortunately, UMBC doesn't have much to build on from last year. Their defense was awful and their offense was decent at best. Shooting last year was a big problem for UMBC and should continue to be. Chris De La Rosa, the Siena transfer, will be entering his second season with the program. He distributes the ball extremely well, but does not shoot the ball well enough. With better shooting, De La Rosa could be a top point guard in the America East. It sure does look like another sub par season could be in store for UMBC. (Edit: It has been brought to our attention that former GW member Travis King will use his final year of eligibility at UMBC this season. Thanks neilballofrubber.)

Key Recruits: Chase Plummer and Matt Conway

New Hampshire
New Hampshire is another young team that can't shoot. Unlike most of the bottom teams from last year, New Hampshire played solid team defense. They have a year to get better and something to build on. Alvin Abreu is their go to guy. His wart, like the rest of the team, is shooting. New Hampshire, in fact, did not have a single player with an eFG% over 50%. Russell Graham is coming off a season where he was 5th in the nation in assist rate. His 33.5 eFG% negates the great job he does distributing. The good news for New Hampshire is the defense should be there again. It is hard to place who is going to step up on offense, but New Hampshire looks like they will be an average team in conference.
Key Recruits: Jordan Bronner, Scott Morris, and DeAndre Buckley
Stony Brook
One would figure Stony Brook would be taking a step back after the graduation of Muhammad El-Amin. However, Stony Brook has the parts to stay very competitive in conference. Chris Martin should be used on many possessions, but the Seawolves have a three head monster to go along with Martin's high usage. Bryan Dougher, as described above, will be a top shooter and scorer. Brenton will also be a solid offensive contributor. On defense, Brenton and Joyner are both active. The two are also solid offensive and defensive rebounders. The seawolves have the pieces to stay at the top of the conference. If everything goes according to plan, then Stony Brook should be competing for a second conference title in as many years.
Key Recruits: David Coley, Anthony Jackson, Al Rapier
The America East Conference Champions have a lot to replace coming into this season. Evan Fjeld should be the go to guy for the Catamounts. I already discussed above the potential of Ben Crenca. Other than that, UVM mainly has a bunch of role players who will need to adjust to a new role. It is hard to picture Vermont not taking a step back. Vermont has been the class of the America East in recent years, but it seems unlikely another trip to the NCAA Tournament is in store for the squad from Burlington.
Key Recruits: Josh Elbaum, Brian Voelkel, Sandro Carissimo, and Ryan McKeaney


  1. Gilliam transferred to Akron, but UMBC has a transfer in senior Travis King.

  2. Thanks for the tip, much appreciated.