#99 Iona Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Iona Gaels

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #99
Conference Rank: #2 MAAC

Iona Team Page#99 Iona Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Iona Basketball Tickets

Iona finished fourth in the MAAC last season with an extremely talented team. That talent came together late in the season as the Gaels won three straight tight games to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. But the nation’s top offense could not keep up with Ohio State in the tournament. The good times will not be ending any time soon as Coach Tim Cluess keeps bringing talent into the program and returns senior guard Sean Armand. He averaged 16.6 points per game during the 2012-2013 campaign and added 3.0 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals. Armand is one of the most prolific, and unheralded, shooters in the nation. He connected on nearly 41 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

2012-13 Record: 20-14, 11-7
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tim Cluess
Coach Record: 70-34 at Iona, 190-67 overall

Who’s Out:
Armand will find more recognition this season with the departure of Lamont Jones. Jones led the Gaels with 22.6 points per game and he would take a majority of the big shots for Iona. That job likely falls to Armand now. Jones is the obvious big loss, but the overall team depth takes a pretty big hit with forward Taaj Ridley, wing Curtis Dennis and center Shawn Jackson also leaving. Ridley proved to be a capable power forward who would play tough in the paint and step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper on occasion. Dennis was primarily used as a shooter off the bench.

Who’s In:
Coach Cluess does not have too many holes to fill, but he will get plenty of new talent, especially if Mike Poole is cleared to play this year. Poole comes from Rutgers where he was a part-time starter over the last three years. The 6-5 wing is not a great scorer, although the Gaels themselves will remember otherwise since he dropped 18 points on them last year. But Poole is a great defender and the Gaels need all the help they can get on defense. Kelvin Amayo, who comes from Marshall, and Isaiah Williams, a junior college transfer, will immediately step into major roles. Amayo is a big, strong guard who can also add some toughness on the defensive perimeter. Williams is a very good scorer and could eventually be the best pure scorer on the team. At 6-6 he has some much needed size, yet he lacks the toughness to help the depleted frontcourt. That may not stop Coach Cluess from playing him at the four spot and running a four guard offense. Grant Ellis and Shackquiel Scott will add even more depth and size to the backcourt. Ryden Hines and Daniel Robinson are the only new help in the frontcourt. Hines has some polishing to do, but he is 6-10 and will always play hard. Robinson is more likely to see quality minutes as a freshman. The 6-11 forward has a nice offensive game, both inside and out.

Who to Watch:
The backcourt is loaded with more weapons than just Armand, Amayo and Williams. Tre Bowman and A.J. English have plenty of experience. Bowman, a 6-5 senior, started 16 games in 2012-2013, averaging 8.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. He may best be utilized this season as a shooter off of the bench. English had a promising freshman campaign when he was on the floor. In 17 contests, he averaged 7.0 points per game and proved to be a dynamic scoring threat who can knock down the long ball with consistency or attack the rim. DaShawn Gomez showed potential after coming in from the junior ranks, but with the influx of talent on the perimeter, he may find it difficult to earn much quality playing time. Iona will have plenty of scorers on the perimeter and it is up to Tavon Sledge to keep them all happy. The junior point guard is extremely quick and dished out 3.2 assists per game as a sophomore. And that was with Jones on the floor. Now that this is Sledge’s team, expect him to run up and down the floor and make some amazing passes along the way.

Final Projection:
David Laury is practically the only frontcourt player with any experience for Iona. The newcomers have potential, but the frontcourt newcomers are freshmen. This time they will almost have to play small, and in order to successfully do so, Laury needs to have another productive season on the glass. Considering he averaged 10.3 rebounds, it is not asking too much for Laury to keep this team at least respectable in the rebounding department. He is also a great interior scorer and a decent shot blocker. But it will be the lack of depth in the frontcourt that could keep Iona from making their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Tavon Sledge, Junior, Guard, 6.1 points per game
A.J. English, Sophomore, Guard, 7.0 points per game
Sean Armand, Senior, Guard, 16.6 points per game
Isaiah Williams, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
David Laury, Junior, Forward, 13.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.4 (1st in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 76.3 (334, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.4 (69, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.0 (275, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.3 (14, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.7 (60, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 78.1 (2, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.0 (174, 5)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (25, 1)
Turnovers Per Game:  12.4 (104, 3)


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