#120 Stony Brook Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Stony Brook Seawolves
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #120
Conference Rank: #2 America East
The 2015-2016 campaign will be looked back upon fondly by Stony Brook. They dominated the America East and reached their first ever NCAA Tournament. But gone are their superstars from that team and the coach who led them there, so there is certainly some rebuilding to do. Coach Steve Pikiell took the Rutgers job and the Seawolves brought in former Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals to take over the program. Boals is a defensive minded coach and that fits in nicely with what Stony Brook has done in the past. Time will tell if it was a good hire or not, but picking up a young coach who can recruit and knows how to play defense is a great way for Stony Brook to start rebuilding.
2015-16 Record: 26-7, 14-2
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jeff Boals
Coach Record: 0-0 at Stony Brook, 0-0 overall
Who’s Out:
It took until March of his senior season, but the basketball world finally learned just how good Jameel Warney has been during his time at Stony Brook. For four years, the 6-8 forward had dominated the America East, finishing his senior season averaging 19.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. For Warney, finally being able to reach the NCAA Tournament after so many close calls was a perfect way to end his collegiate career. If it was just Warney, Stony Brook would feel better moving forward, but they also lose Carson Puriefoy, Rayshaun McGrew and DeShaun Thrower. Puriefoy was the team’s second leading scorer, averaging 14.9 points per game, and the team’s most prolific outside shooter. McGrew was Warney’s frontcourt mate and took advantage of all of the attention the opposing defenses put on Warney.
Who’s In:
The focus of the Seawolves will shift to the backcourt now, but picking up bodies to man the front line was a top priority for the new coaching staff. What they came away with is junior college transfer Junior Saintel. He is not a typical big, bruising forward, but he is a great athlete who can block shots and finish above the rim. The frontcourt does get a couple redshirt freshmen who will need to be ready to compete for minutes. Alonzo Campbell is an interesting option. He has not played basketball in a couple years after redshirting last season and missing his senior year of high school with an injury, but he is a big seven-footer who can make an impact on the defensive end. He is also surprisingly good at handling the ball for a player of his size. Akwasi Yeboah is ideally a wing, but at 6-6 and 230 pounds, he could spend some time at the four spot for Stony Brook. Regardless, he has quite a bit of international experience playing with the United Kingdom under 16 and under 18 teams and brings a lot of versatility to the table. The other newcomers are junior college transfer UC Iroegbu and incoming freshmen Michael Almonacy and Andrew Garcia. Almonacy can handle the ball and help replace Puriefoy, while Garcia is a big 6-5 guard who can score in bunches.
Who to Watch:
Warney and Puriefoy grabbed a lot of the headlines, and rightfully so, but the Seawolves have plenty of talent returning. Ahmad Walker is ready to emerge as the new star of the team after averaging 10.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists. Walker is in for a big senior season, especially if he can be more consistent with his outside shot. But even when his shot is not falling, the 6-4 guard can score by attacking the basket. He attempted 141 free-throw attempts last year and even Warney, who was regularly hacked by opposing defenders who had no chance of stopping him, barely had more than that. Walker can handle the ball to help replace Puriefoy, hit the glass to help replace Warney and McGrew and score to help replace everybody. Bryan Sekunda and Lucas Woodhouse will be the top shooters on the team. Sekunda, a 6-6 wing, connected on 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts last season and Woodhouse knocked down an impressive 44.9 percent of his attempts. Woodhouse also dished out 3.6 assists per game and is ready to take over as the team’s primary ball handler, a role he played at Longwood before transferring to Stony Brook. Roland Nyama, a 6-6 wing, is another capable shooter, although he has yet to get much of a chance to show his stuff. Kameron Mitchell saw his playing time decrease dramatically last season, but two years ago the 6-4 senior was a part-time starter.
Final Projection:
The backcourt is deep and talented and ready to lead the way, but it is the play of the frontcourt that will determine where Stony Brook ends up in the wide open American East. With Saintel and Campbell leading the group of newcomers, there is potential, but the Seawolves will need Tyrell Sturdivant to emerge as a leader. The 6-7 junior averaged about a dozen minutes per game in 2015-2016, totaling 3.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Sturdivant can rebound, but somebody in the frontcourt needs to emerge as a decent scoring threat so the backcourt can get some open looks from beyond the arc. This is a team that can shoot very consistently from the outside, but that was with the opposition collapsing in on Warney. Those open looks from the outside could be much more difficult to come by this time around. This group has more than enough talent to compete for another America East title, but the lack of proven interior scoring options will likely keep them on the outside looking in.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Lucas Woodhouse, Senior, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Ahmad Walker, Senior, Guard, 10.2 points per game
Bryan Sekunda, Junior, Guard, 7.3 points per game
Junior Saintel, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Tyrell Sturdivant, Junior, Forward, 3.1 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.2 (96th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.1 (20, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.8 (43, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (45, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (206, 6) 
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.9 (68, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.5 (263, 7)
Rebound Margin: 7.7 (16, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.4 (26, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (67, 1)