#72 Saint Joseph's Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview


Saint Joseph's Hawks

2017-2018 Overall Rank: #72

Conference Rank: #6 A-10
Saint Joseph's Logo
Saint Joseph's followed up their 2016 Atlantic 10 championship with a major letdown season ending with an 11-20 record. Injuries plagued Saint Joseph's all season long, leading to a disastrous season with just four conference wins. The Hawks saw their three best players all miss extended time, with none of them playing more than 24 games. Dynamic guards Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble both saw their seasons cut short due to injury. Pierfrancesco Oliva, who started 30 games in 2015-16, missed the entire season with a knee injury. Coach Phil Martelli will have a fully healthy roster to begin this season, which should lead to much better results. If everyone is able to stay on the court this time around, Saint Joseph's could be a dangerous team in the Atlantic 10.
2016-17 Record: 11-20, 4-14
2016-17 Postseason: None
Coach: Phil Martelli
Coach Record: 414-293 at Saint Joseph's, 414-293 overall
Who's Out:
One silver lining for Saint Joseph's after their rough 2016-17 season is that they will return the majority of their contributors. The Hawks will lose just two role players to graduation in Brendan Casper and Javon Baumann. Casper went from being a walk-on player to earning a scholarship and getting solid rotation minutes. Casper averaged 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game while averaging 18.3 minutes as a senior. Baumann was a four-year player for Saint Joseph's and averaged 2.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last season.
Who's In:
The most important addition for Saint Joseph's will be the improved health of their key players. Coach Phil Martelli added a couple of true freshmen to his roster this season as well. Taylor Funk and Anthony Longpre will join the Hawks this season, but they may be buried on the depth chart to begin their careers. Funk has the best chance of getting important minutes as a three-star 6-8 forward who averaged 24.3 points as a senior. Longpre is a 6-10 forward who was unranked out of high school. Longpre played for Canada's U19 National Team at the FIBA World Cup. Both freshmen will provide the Hawks with depth down low.
Who to Watch:
Shavar Newkirk was the team's leading scorer last season, but he played in just 12 games after tearing his ACL in late December. Newkirk had averaged 20.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game up to that point. Newkirk's health will be crucial for the Hawks as they hope he regains his pre-injury form. The next leading scorer for the Hawks was Lamarr Kimble with 15.5 points per game, but he suffered a foot injury in February, causing him to miss the last seven games of the season. Kimble led the team in assists with 4.5 per game and was the Hawks' leading scorer in conference play. James Demery was the team's last standing leading scorer with 14.5 points per game, even though he missed ten games himself early in the season. Demery also led the team in rebounding with 6.5 boards per game. Pierfrancesco Oliva started 30 games as a freshman in 2015-16, but missed the entire 2016-17 season due to knee surgery. Oliva will be back and fully healthy to begin this season. Charlie Brown stepped up as a freshman last season, averaging 12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and shooting a team-high 38.4% from three. Brown was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team. All the injuries allowed role players like Chris Clover, Nick Robinson and Markell Lodge to get important playing time last season. Clover averaged 7.8 points per game as a junior after scoring just 0.5 per game as a sophomore. Robinson made 19 starts and averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Lodge was the only player to make all 31 starts, averaging 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The Hawks will also have Jai Williams, Lorenzo Edwards and Gerald Blount back on the roster this season.
Final Projection:
Saint Joseph's will be in line to be one of the most improved teams in the nation this season. Everything seemed to go wrong last season, but this is a team that won the Atlantic 10 Tournament just two years ago. Getting star players Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble fully healthy will be a major bonus for the Hawks this season. Coach Phil Martelli has very little roster turnover as well, so this should be an experienced team with established chemistry. Saint Joseph's could more than double their conference win total from last season, and might even find themselves in the NCAA Tournament discussion.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Lamarr Kimble, Junior, Guard, 15.5 points per game
Shavar Newkirk, Senior, Guard, 20.3 points per game
James Demery, Senior, Forward, 14.5 points per game
Charlie Brown, Sophomore, Forward, 12.8 points per game
Pierfrancesco Oliva, Sophomore, Center, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.5 (258th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.1 (203, 12)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.8 (297, 12)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.4 (159, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (314, 13)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.4 (290, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.0 (325, 14)
Rebound Margin: 0.7 (166, 6)
Assists Per Game: 11.4 (304, 14)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (74, 4)