#121 Saint Mary's Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Saint Mary’s Gaels

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #121
Conference Rank: #4 West Coast

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Saint Mary’s ended up where they always seem to end up, well behind Gonzaga and right around BYU. The Gaels slipped at the end of the season though and did not give themselves much of a chance to end the year on a high note. After losing their regular season finale at Santa Clara, Saint Mary’s lost their opener to Portland in the WCC Tournament. They still earned a home game in the NIT, but didn’t give Vanderbilt much of a game in a 75-64 loss. With five starters gone, there is a lot of rebuilding to do. But do not expect the Gaels to fall from the WCC elite, either in the future or this season. Coach Randy Bennett will put together a squad that can compete.

2014-15 Record: 21-10, 13-5
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Randy Bennett
Coach Record: 304-145 at Saint Mary’s, 304-145 overall

Who’s Out:
The losses are massive for the Gaels and there is no way to sugarcoat it. Brad Waldow dominated in the paint during his time in Moraga, California, culminating with a senior season in which he averaged 19.0 points and 9.1 rebounds. Kerry Carter and point guard Aaron Bright were the other double digit scorers on the team. Carter knocked down 39.6 percent of his three-point attempts, while Bright dished out 3.8 assists. Garrett Jackson and Desmond Simmons usually rounded out the starting five. Jackson was a good shooter when he needed to shoot and Simmons was a very good complimentary big man for Waldow during his lone season with Saint Mary’s. Treaven Duffy, who was a ways down the depth chart, is the only departure of a player who didn’t start at least 20 games in 2014-2015.

Who’s In:
Saint Mary’s once again used their pipeline to Australia with this class. Guard Kyle Clark, small forward Tanner Krebs and center Jordan Hunter are all incoming freshmen from Australia. Clark is a big 6-6 guard who has a lot of experience playing on the Australian U17 team. Krebs, also 6-6, will add more size and depth to the wing. Hunter is a bit of late bloomer, but the 6-10, 215 pound center is playing good basketball right now and has the potential to be a key player in a year or two. Evan Fitzner, a 6-10 center from San Diego, redshirted last season and will look to add depth to a frontcourt that does need options. The final two freshmen are Stefan Gonzalez and Franklin Porter. Gonzalez is a point guard, but he can certainly score too. The reigning Gatorade Player of the Year in Idaho, Gonzalez could play some point guard as a freshman or provide an offensive spark off of the bench. Porter is a pure shooter and can make a big splash when his shot is falling. But the eligibility of Joe Rahon will be the big newcomer for the Gaels this year. Rahon started 64 games during his two years at Boston College. In 2013-2014 as a sophomore, Rahon averaged 9.0 points, 3.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds.

Who to Watch:
Rahon will team up with Emmett Naar to form a pretty good backcourt. Naar averaged 6.3 points and 3.9 assists last season. Both can handle the ball and both can do some scoring as well. Naar connected on 44.9 percent of his three-point attempts last season. He only took 78 three’s, but with Carter and Bright gone, Naar will be asked to shoot and score much more this time around. Calvin Hermanson has the potential to turn into a key player for the Gaels despite averaging just 8.3 minutes per game as a freshman. There are high hopes for the 6-6 forward and eventually he will start to produce. Now would certainly be a good time since Coach Bennett will give him the opportunity. Dane Pineau and Jock Landale will see much bigger roles too. Pineau, at 6-9, and Landale, at 6-11, have the unenviable job of trying to replace Waldow. Pineau played in all 31 games last year and averaged 3.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game. That experience should give him the first crack at the starting job.

Final Projection:
It is also possible that Pineau and Landale could both start. Saint Mary’s is not a team that really wants to run a small lineup, so somebody needs to step into the power forward position. That would leave Hermanson to play at the three spot, which is where he is better suited to play. However, this team does have a lot of 6-6 wing types that would at least provide Coach Bennett with some rebounding to help cover for an undersized power forward in that regard. Coach Bennett will find the right fit depending on the matchups. More importantly, this team needs former role players to turn into stars. Naar is the obvious choice since he was in the regular rotation last year, but there was some talent waiting behind a very good starting five and they are ready to show what they can do.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Emmett Naar, Sophomore, Guard, 6.3 points per game
Joe Rahon, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Tanner Krebs, Freshman, DNP last season
Calvin Hermanson, Sophomore, Forward, 2.5 points per game
Dane Pineau, Junior, Forward, 3.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.1 (127th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.0 (102, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.7 (69, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (166, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.3 (77, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.3 (60, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.5 (92, 5)
Rebound Margin: 6.9 (14, 2)
Assists Per Game: 15.0 (32, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (133, 6)


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