#68 Saint Mary's Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Saint Mary’s Gaels

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #68
Conference Rank: #3 West Coast

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Saint Mary’s just keeps doing what they always do. Last year the Gaels and Coach Randy Bennett made another trip to the NCAA Tournament and knocked off Middle Tennessee State in the first round before falling to Memphis in a squeaker during the round of 64. Coach Randy Bennett will have to find a new superstar to replace Matthew Dellavedova, but he has been down that road many times before and this is a program that can replace players even as talented as Dellavedova. The obvious candidate is Stephen Holt. The senior guard spent some time on the ball last season and he will again as the Gaels’ leader. Like Dellavedova, Holt can score from anywhere on the floor and will knock down plenty of three-pointers. He is tough and intense and that is the type of leadership Holt brings to the team.

2012-13 Record: 28-7, 14-2
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Randy Bennett
Coach Record: 263-124 at Saint Mary’s, 263-124 overall

Who’s Out:
Dellavedova averaged 15.8 points and 6.4 assists during his senior season. Obviously he was a very productive point guard who could score in a variety of ways, but he was also an amazing floor leader. The losses in the frontcourt will hurt too. Mitchell Young, a 6-9 forward, had a solid senior season following an injury filled 2011-2012 campaign. His tough defensive rebounding will be missed. Kyle Rowley never made much of an impact after coming in from Northwestern, but he was a big body who could eat up a few minutes and a few fouls.

Who’s In:
Freshmen Treaven Duffy, Calvin Hermanson and Dane Pineau will have time to develop their games, while more experienced newcomers Kerry Carter and Garrett Jackson look to make an immediate impact. Carter played two years at Citrus College in California and proved to be a big time scorer. At St. Mary’s this year he will do more shooting and defending than anything else. He has the toughness to come in off of the bench and keep the intensity up on the defensive end. Garrett Jackson will not likely have to worry about the bench. The small forward played at USC for two seasons and started 14 games as a sophomore in 2011-2012. Jackson ended that season averaging 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds. However, those numbers are a little misleading as Jackson was much more productive when he stepped into the starting job.

Who to Watch:
Some of the focus offensively could move to the inside where Beau Levesque and Brad Waldow return. Until last season Levesque was mostly viewed as a tough and scrappy forward who could knock down the occasional mid-range jumper. He is still tough and scrappy, but Levesque turned into a great shooter, knocking down 44.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Waldow is the more traditional frontcourt player who stays in the paint. Waldow is not afraid to throw around his 6-9, 260 pound frame on either end of the floor. The offense is usually going to run through Holt who will drive and dish, but Coach Bennett can work things through Waldow as well. Without Young, the Gaels will be undersized in the frontcourt. Levesque may be tough and scrappy, but he is really a small forward. The addition of Jackson will give the Gaels athleticism on the wing and he will certainly help on the glass, yet St. Mary’s will need Matt Hodgson and Eividas Petrulis to at least spell Waldow. Injuries have slowed Hodgson’s progress over the years and he is a big body who can grab boards and block a few shots.

Final Projection:
The hope is Jorden Page and James Walker III can help pick up the scoring slack left behind by Dellavedova. Page started 27 games in 2011-2012 and averaged 6.9 points and 1.8 assists. He can certainly help Holt run the show if the Gaels decide they would rather have Holt spend more time off of the ball. Walker, who spent time at Utah State and Citrus Junior College, started a handful of games during his first season with St. Mary’s. He is a versatile 6-3 guard who can fill in anywhere on the perimeter. Perhaps the biggest surprise of last season was the play of Jordan Giusti. As a freshman he played in every game and even earned a couple starts during the NCAA Tournament when Page was injured. If Giusti can keep getting better, the Gaels backcourt may not take as big of a step backwards as most expect. But there are big shoes to fill in the leadership department and the result could be a slow start for the Gaels. And a slow start could be the difference between the NCAA and the NIT.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Stephen Holt, Senior, Guard, 11.6 points per game
Jorden Page, Senior, Guard, 6.4 points per game
Garrett Jackson, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Beau Levesque, Senior, Forward, 10.6 points per game
Brad Waldow, Junior, Forward, 10.2 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.0 (26th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.9 (76, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.9 (25, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.9 (130, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (35, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.5 (37, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.5 (71, 3)
Rebound Margin: 8.4 (6, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.3 (67, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (62, 2)


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