#135 Wagner Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Wagner Seahawks
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #135
Conference Rank: #1 NEC
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For the second time in three years, Wagner won the NEC regular season title, but fell short in the conference tournament and had to settle for the NIT. Last season it was LIU Brooklyn who upset the Seahawks in the NEC tournament final and this team did not have a good showing in the NIT either with an 80-59 first round loss at Baylor. Coach Bashir Mason has turned this into a consistent program though and Wagner will get another crack at getting to the NCAA Tournament in 2019.
2017-18 Record: 23-10, 14-4
2017-18 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Bashir Mason
Coach Record: 110-79 at Wagner, 110-79 overall
Key Departed Players:
Blake Francis, Guard, 17.3 ppg
JoJo Cooper, Guard, 14.3 ppg
Shack Scott, Forward, 3.2 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Ramone Saunders, Senior, Guard, 14.3 ppg
Devin Liggeons, Senior, Guard, 6.4 ppg
AJ Sumbry, Senior, Forward, 6.4 ppg
Elijah Davis, Senior, Guard/Forward, 7.0 ppg
Nigel Jackson, Sophomore, Forward, 5.7 ppg
Chase Freeman, Sophomore, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Tyler Plummer, Sophomore, Guard, 1.9 ppg
Key New Players:
Lonnie Rivera, Junior, Forward, Transfer from American U
Jonathan Norfleet, Freshman, Guard
Tim Graham, Junior, Guard/Forward, JC Transfer
Tyrone Nesby IV, Freshman, Guard
Jeff Coulanges, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Losing guards Blake Francis and JoJo Cooper is a huge concern though. Francis was the team’s top scorer with 17.3 points per game and he was by far the most prolific and consistent outside shooter. Cooper added 14.3 points per game and also ran the point. He added 6.1 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest. Ramone Saunders, Devin Liggeons and Elijah Davis added plenty of experience on the perimeter though. Saunders averaged 14.3 points per game and added 6.4 rebounds. Liggeons could emerge as a more dangerous shooter, while Davis has done a very good job attacking the basket. Either way, both Liggeons and Davis are very good rebounding guards. With the addition of a couple more tough guards in junior college transfers Jeff Couglanges and Tim Graham, Wagner has plenty of options. AJ Sumbry was the regular starter in the frontcourt last year with four guards around him. He is back for his senior season after averaging 6.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks last season. Nigel Jackson was effective off the bench in 2017-2018 and the Seahawks add more size with Lonnie Rivera, who will likely spend most of his time at the four spot, after he transferred in from American University. This is once again a very talented senior class that Wagner possesses. They were not expected to do much last season, but they did anyway and this year the expectations should be higher.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.2 (164th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.4 (68, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.7 (274, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.2 (34, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (120, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.0 (176, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.1 (183, 5)
Rebound Margin: 5.4 (36, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (193, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.7 (254, 5)