Robert Morris Colonials
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #98
Conference Rank: #1 NEC
Robert Morris Team Page
The 2011-2012 campaign was supposed to be one of rebuilding for Robert Morris. With just one senior on the roster, the expectations were down a little bit. And perhaps a third place finish in the NEC was a slight disappointment, but it was still a squad that won 26 games and made a nice run in the CIT. This year they will shoot for a more prestigious postseason tournament. With Velton Jones leading the way, the Colonials have the depth, talent and experience to reach the NCAAs. Jones averaged 16.0 points per game last year and added team highs with 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals. Jones is a good enough outside shooter to keep the opposition honest, but he will do most of his scoring around the basket. With junior Anthony Myers available to provide another ballhandler or give Jones a break, RMU is in great hands at the point guard position.
2011-12 Record: 26-11, 13-5
2011-12 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Andrew Toole
Coach Record: 44-25 at Robert Morris, 44-25 overall
Lawrence Bridges started 34 games during his senior season, but the 6-5 forward averaged less than 20 minutes per game and rarely put up big numbers. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game and did a lot of the dirty work. Bridges was a glue player, but his production can certainly be replaced and there are plenty of players who are ready to turn into senior leaders this year.
Third year coach Andrew Toole added three players to the roster and a couple of them will make an impact right away. Karvel Anderson, a 6-2 guard, will add some much needed experienced depth on the perimeter. The junior college transfer averaged nearly 25 points per game last year at Glen Oaks Community College in Michigan. He should be capable of providing a nice offensive spark off of the bench. Vaughn Morgan, a 6-6, 235 pound forward, is another juco transfer who has the strength and experience to play right away. Morgan is a good athlete who has enough size to play the four spot. His athleticism makes him a very good rebounder and shot blocker and that is where his greatest impact may be felt this season. However, he is not a bad scorer either and Robert Morris’ frontcourt will be in great shape if he can emerge as a consistent scorer at this level on top of his defensive skills. Incoming freshman Stephan Hawkins is a big 6-9 forward, but will need some time to add weight to his frame.
Who to Watch:
Hawkins will have time to develop since the Colonials do not lack bodies in the frontcourt. Small forward Lucky Jones had an amazing freshman campaign despite spending most of the season coming in off of the bench. Jones is a dynamic scorer who can knock down the long ball, but he also led the team with 6.1 rebounds. Russell Johnson can stretch out the defense with his shooting ability as well. Johnson is only 6-6 and on the lean side, but he is a great athlete who works hard on the glass. Thus, he can, and will, play at the four spot. Mike McFadden was eligible after the first semester during the 2011-2012 campaign after transferring in from Iona. He wasted no time getting into the starting lineup. McFadden has the size to play the five spot in the NEC and proved to be a consistent interior scorer. But while McFadden was waiting to be eligible, Lijah Thompson got a lot of playing time. Thompson is more of an undersized center than McFadden and he is a strong rebounder and the biggest shot blocking threat on the Colonials squad. Thompson’s knack for getting into foul trouble made it easier to have him come in off the bench, but when Robert Morris needs a stop, Thompson will be roaming the paint. Keith Armstrong gained some valuable experience as a freshman and will have to battle it out with Morgan for minutes off of the bench behind Thompson.
Velton Jones may get most of the headlines, but RMU has another great guard in Coron Williams. The 6-2 junior is the shooter on the team and knocked down an impressive 41.0 percent of his 5.7 attempts per game from beyond the arc. The inside presence of McFadden and Thompson and Jones’ ability to drive and dish will again give Williams plenty of open looks. And he can knock them down in bunches. Besides Myers, who is primarily a point guard who can hit some long balls, there is no depth on the perimeter. That is where Anderson will have to come in and make something happen. With Jones presumably stepping into a starting job on the wing, Robert Morris will need to find a new offensive spark to come in off of the bench. If they do, they could finally get the best of LIU Brooklyn after two years of falling to the Blackbirds in the NEC Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Velton Jones, Senior, Guard, 16.0 points per game
Coron Williams, Junior, Guard, 10.8 points per game
Lucky Jones, Sophomore, Forward, 8.5 points per game
Russell Johnson, Senior, Forward, 8.5 points per game
Mike McFadden, Junior, Forward, 8.4 points per game