Rider’s Not Going Anywhere

Rider’s Not Going Anywhere

With the graduation of Justin Robinson and Mike Ringgold, it would be easy to write off the Broncs of Rider for this upcoming season. Robinson was a four year starter at point guard and finished off his collegiate career with 1,480 points and 394 assists…good enough for tenth and sixth, respectively on Rider’s all-time lists. Ringgold is ranked a few spots behind Robinson at 14th with 789 career points. He is also ranked fifth in career rebounds with 789. That is some tough players to replace.

However, as long as Coach Tommy Dempsey is around, the Broncs will stay near the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings. The most difficult year should be the 2011-2012 campaign when the team has to immediately overcome the absence of Robinson and Ringgold. But there is plenty of talent remaining and coming in to keep Rider as a major threat in the conference.

In the backcourt, Jonathon Thompson is more than capable of taking over the point guard duties. After averaging 3.2 assists and 1.4 turnovers last season, he is already proven that he can get the job done. Fellow returnee Novar Gadson is a superb all-around scorer and can help ease the loss of Robinson’s outside shooting ability. However, the biggest factor keeping Rider in the mix is the addition of Jeff Jones. The 6-4 guard spent three seasons at Virginia before opting to transfer. Jones has the potential to be just as good of an outside shooter as Robinson and he has the size and experience to attack the basket and create plays for himself and his teammates. His time spent in the ACC will have him ready to play a huge role for the Broncs right away. It may take a combined effort, but there is more than enough talent to not only replace Robinson’s production, but even increase it.

The frontcourt will lack a little depth this season, but Brandon Penn and Daniel Stewart are capable players. Penn is more of a small forward than a power forward, but at 6-8 and 205 pounds, he certainly has the size to mix it up in the paint. However, Penn spends a lot of time stretching out the defense with his outside shooting ability. That will be a very valuable skill for the Broncs as long as Stewart can build off of his successful freshman campaign. Stewart, a 6-7 Philadelphia native, averaged 7.3 points and 7.1 rebounds during his first collegiate season. He has already shown that he can be a beast on the glass and a solid defender, but his offensive game needs to develop if the Broncs want to replace Ringgold. Ringgold was a very effective post scorer and that is what Stewart needs to turn into if this team hopes to win the MAAC. If Stewart can consistently reach double digits in the scoring column, this offense will have everything they need to return to the postseason.



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