#134 Fordham Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Fordham Rams
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #134
Conference Rank: #8 Atlantic 10
Fordham is heading in the right direction under Coach Neubauer. He led the Rams to a 17-14 record and a trip to the CIT. Fordham did not have much success in the postseason, losing to Richmond in the A-10 tournament opener and to Boston U in their CIT opener. That was not the best way to end the 2015-2016 campaign, but the Rams have plenty to be hopeful for heading into year two under Coach Neubauer. Point guard Joseph Chartouny led the conference with 6.2 assists per game and added 11.3 points and 2.2 steals per game, which earned him A-10 Rookie of the Year accolades. Fordham is in good hands with Chartouny leading the way and he is ready to become a leader and a star.
2015-16 Record: 17-14, 8-10
2015-16 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Jeff Neubauer
Coach Record: 17-14 at Fordham, 205-148 overall
Who’s Out:
Fordham does lose their top two scorers. Ryan Rhoomes led the Rams with 14.6 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. His presence in the paint will certainly be missed. Also lost is Mandell Thomas, who averaged 12.3 points per game and knocked down a team high 52 three-pointers. Jon Severe was another solid shooter, but really never found his stroke during his time with the Rams. He is off to Iona. Nych Smith and Ryan Canty are the other losses, but neither played a significant role last season.
Who’s In:
While losing Rhoomes and Thomas is a big blow, Fordham is on the upswing thanks to a stellar group of newcomers brought in by Coach Neubauer. Leading the way is former Eastern Kentucky guard Javontae Hawkins. The graduate transfer averaged 17.0 points last year with the Colonels and he is a big guard who should have no trouble adapting to life in the A-10. Junior college transfers Perris Hicks and Will Tavares will add even more experience to the backcourt. Tavares has the shooting ability to help replace Thomas. Freshman Chuba Ohams will battle for major minutes on the wing as well. The 6-7 small forward is a great athlete and a player who can get up and down the floor in a hurry. Papa N’diaye is another talented freshman who could make a big splash right away. The 6-9 big man is full of potential and is expected to turn into one of the best big men in the conference before his collegiate career is through. Fordham is plugging some holes with more experienced players with this group, but they are also building very effectively for the future. But the question always is not how much potential there is, but how quickly they can contribute. For Fordham to be a serious contender to reach the NCAA Tournament, the newcomers must pan out.
Who to Watch:
The new guys will not just be given a starting job though. They will have to earn it. Antwoine Anderson started 19 games as a sophomore and boosted his scoring total to 8.3 points per game. Anderson still needs his shot to start falling more consistently, but he is a very good secondary ball handler. Nemanja Zarkovic did not have a big sophomore season, averaging just 3.0 points per game, but he could emerge as a solid shooter off of the bench. Chris Sengfelder is the best shooter on the team and nobody is taking his starting spot away. The 6-7 junior connected on 39.8 percent of his 128 three-point attempts and grabbed 5.2 rebounds per contest. His scoring and rebounding dipped compared to his freshman campaign, but Sengfelder is a tough matchup and will be asked to do more on the glass this year now that Rhoomes is gone. David Pekarek is another experienced big man who can stretch the defense with his shooting ability. He started 11 games as a freshman, averaging 5.1 points and 2.0 rebounds.
Final Projection:
On paper, this is a Fordham team with all of the pieces to compete in the A-10. Last season there was a pretty clear gap between the Rams and the top of the conference and that gap may still be distinguishable in 2016-2017, but if all of the pieces come together this is a group that can beat the top teams on any given day. That may not be enough for a trip to the NCAA Tournament this year, but it will be a big step in the right direction. The only seniors on the roster are walk-on Matt Massimino and graduate transfer Hawkins, so the wait may not last too long. For now though, Fordham’s toughness on the glass could be what holds them back. Sengfelder is a solid rebounder, but replacing Rhoomes and his 9.7 rebounds per game will not be easy. And this team was not particularly great on the glass even with Rhoomes. In order to have a true post presence, N’diaye will need to have a big freshman campaign and that might be asking too much of a freshman, even one as talented as N’diaye.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Joseph Chartouny, Sophomore, Guard, 11.3 points per game
Antwoine Anderson, Junior, Guard, 8.3 points per game
Javontae Hawkins, Senior, Guard, 17.0 points per game (at Eastern Kentucky)
David Pekarek, Sophomore, Forward, 5.1 points per game
Chris Sengfelder, Junior, Forward, 10.3 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.2 (220th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.6 (91, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.8 (131, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.9 (258, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (92, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.6 (170, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.0 (246, 9)
Rebound Margin: 1.6 (135, 7)
Assists Per Game: 15.7 (38, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.1 (299, 14)