#20 Saint Mary's Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Saint Mary’s Gaels
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #20
Conference Rank: #2 West Coast
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With four starters returning, including leading scorer Jordan Ford, Saint Mary’s is in a great position to not only return to the NCAA Tournament, but compete with Gonzaga for a conference title and make a push towards the second weekend of the tournament. Ford is a great scorer and averaged 21.1 points per game last season. The 6-1 senior took 170 three-pointers and the same number of free-throws. He can do damage from anywhere on the floor and will certainly do so again in 2019-2020.
2018-19 Record: 22-12, 11-5
2018-19 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Randy Bennett
Coach Record: 414-174 at Saint Mary’s, 414-174 overall
Key Departed Players:
Jordan Hunter, Center, 7.9 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Jordan Ford, Senior, Guard, 21.1 ppg
Malik Fitts, Junior, Forward, 15.2 ppg
Tanner Krebs, Senior, Guard, 8.9 ppg
Tommy Kuhse, Junior, Guard, 6.2 ppg
Elijah Thomas, Junior, Forward, 4.0 ppg
Matthias Tass, Sophomore, Forward/Center, 3.7 ppg
Dan Fotu, Sophomore, Forward, 2.8 ppg
Jock Perry, Junior, Center, 2.1 ppg
Quinn Clinton, Sophomore, Guard, 1.0 ppg
Kristers Zoriks, Sophomore, DNP last season
Key New Players:
Kyle Bowen, Freshman, Forward
Alex Ducas, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Logan Johnson, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Cincinnati, eligible?
Aaron Menzies, Senior, Center, Transfer from Seattle
The main problem the Gaels had last season was at the point guard position. An injury to Kristers Zoriks forced Tommy Kuhse and Jordan Ford to do a bulk of the ball handling and that resulted in a WCC worst 10.0 assists per game. Zoriks redshirted back in2017-2018 so he will be hoping to make his debut this year. Kuhse did a great job under the circumstances and averaged 6.2 points and 2.9 assists last season. Even if Zoriks does not live up to his billing right away, Kuhse has proven that he can handle the ball and Ford will continue to create his own shot no matter who else is on the floor. Tanner Krebs and Logan Johnson, if he receives a waiver after transferring in from Cincinnati, will do plenty of scoring from the perimeter as well. Malik Fitts is the big man who can stretch the defense with his outside shooting. But Fitts is not just one of the most efficient shooters in the conference, he is also a tough rebounder and solid defender. Seattle transfer Aaron Menzies will get the first crack at replacing center Jordan Hunter. Menzies is a 7-3 senior who was ready to make an impact last season before a hand injury ended his 2018-2019 campaign. With Seattle two years ago he averaged 11.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. Matthias Tass showed some promise as a freshman and junior Jock Perry is another big body who can at least make an impact on the defensive end of the floor. Once again Coach Randy Bennett has a very talented team in Moraga, California. And with so many upperclassmen on the roster, Saint Mary’s should find themselves in a position to compete with Gonzaga for the top spot in the WCC.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.4 (172nd in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.3 (26, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.2 (43, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.8 (179, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (204, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.8 (34, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.2 (58, 6)
Rebound Margin: 5.4 (25, 2)
Assists Per Game: 10.0 (346, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.5 (17, 2)