#144 Fordham Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Fordham Rams

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #144
Conference Rank: #11 A-10

Fordham Team Page#144 Fordham Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Fordham Basketball Tickets

Fordham has struggled since Tom Pecora took over the program in 2010. Those struggles didn’t start when Pecora arrived though, as the Rams haven’t made a trip to the postseason since 1992 when Fordham was last in the NCAA Tournament. Despite those struggles, there is reason for hope in 2014-15. That hope rests squarely on the shoulders of Jon Severe. The sophomore guard was a major pickup for the Rams when he committed to play for Fordham before last season. Severe, a local kid from Queens, was a 2013 Parade All-American and the Mr. Basketball for the state of New York as a senior and continued to thrive as a freshman last year. Severe set a Fordham freshman record for points in a season, 536, last year, averaging over 17 per game. With Severe back and a solid mix of returnees and highly touted newcomers surrounding him, Fordham basketball looks to be on the rise.

2013-14 Record: 10-21, 2-14
2013-14 Postseason: none
Coach: Tom Pecora
Coach Record: 34-85 at Fordham, 189-211 overall

Who’s Out:
Fordham loses a key cog from last year’s team in Branden Frazier. Frazier was the leader of last season’s Fordham team, leading the team in minutes, 36.8 per game, points, 18.2 per game, assists, 4.3 per game, and was third in rebounding, 5.1 per game. He was one of three seniors on last year’s team, joining Leo Walsh and Khalid Robinson, who each saw limited minutes last season, but that wasn’t the extent of the departures. Four players transferred this offseason and leave the back end of Fordham’s rotation depleted. Chris Whitehead and Jermaine Myers both leave after playing in at least 25 games apiece a year ago. Whitehead is a forward who averaged 2.5 points, 1.3 rebounds and an assist per game in 11.8 minutes per contest last season, while Myers leaves after leading the team in free throw percentage at over 90%. Also gone are brothers Jared and Jake Fay. Both players saw limited minutes, as Jake played in 15 games and Jared saw action in just three contests.

Who’s In:
Tom Pecora brings in a number of newcomers that has Fordham’s future looking bright. Leading the way is local forward Eric Paschall. The 6-foot-6 forward was a consensus three star recruit and he should have an early impact at Fordham. Paschall averaged over 20 points per game as a sophomore and junior at Dobbs Ferry in New York before transferring to St. Thomas More in Connecticut for his senior year, where he won the New England Prepatory School Athletic Council Player of the Year award. He will join a pair of red-shirt freshmen to lead the new players. Antwoine Anderson and Manny Suarez were both partial-qualifiers last season and they should provide a boost this season. Anderson is a 6-foot-1 guard from Rochester, New York who averaged 16 points per game in high school, while Suarez is a 6-foot-10 center who averaged a double-double in his final two year’s of high school and he should be a big addition to the frontcourt. Pecora went out of the country to fill the rest of the open roster spots, grabbing four international players. Serbian Nemanja Zarkovic is the best of the group. Zarkovic, who lives in Montreal, could fill a Fordham need a point guard. Rounding out the group are a pair of Germans, Zaire Thompson and Christian Sengfelder, who are teammates at Uprising Academy in Germany, and Dekeba Battee-Aston, an Australian product that played at Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachussetts.   

Who to Watch:
The frontcourt will be the area to watch for Fordham. Last season, Fordham relied on guard play to carry them, and the Rams will need the frontcourt to step up if they are to improve. Ryan Canty is a player who looks ready to breakout as a senior. Canty played in 25 games as a junior, starting six, and he finished the season on a strong note. Over the final six games of the season, Canty posted double digits in rebounds five times, including a career high 19 in Fordham’s A-10 Tournament victory over George Mason. He will be joined by Ryan Rhoomes, a 26 game starter a year ago who averaged 6.2 points and a team leading 6.9 rebounds per game, and Travion Leonard, who averaged 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds off the bench last season. Fordham will also count on newcomers Eric Paschall and Manny Suarez to contribute in the frontcourt and both should see big minutes and could be in the mix to start.

Final Projection:
Tom Pecora is firmly on the hotseat right now, but this year’s Fordham team could change that. The Rams have a lot of new faces, but the talent level has improved from last year’s team. While the frontcourt will be the spot to watch, the guards will still be key in 2014-15. The trio of Severe, Mandell Thomas and Bryan Smith will be relied on heavily. Severe is going to be the go to guy, with Thomas and Smith, who averaged 11.9 and 7.3 points per game respectively a year ago, serving as complementary wing players. The Rams will need one of them, or newcomer Zarkovic, to step up and be the team’s point guard. Severe is going to be featured off the ball, but Thomas or Smith could be candidates for the open point guard slot. If one of those players can fill the point guard role and the frontcourt can improve, Fordham could see great improvement this season.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Bryan Smith, Senior, Guard, 7.3 points per game
Jon Severe, Sophomore, Guard, 17.3 points per game
Mandell Thomas, Senior, Guard, 11.9 points per game
Ryan Rhoomes, Junior, Forward, 6.3 points per game
Ryan Canty, Senior, Center, 3.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.7 (143th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 78.0 (329, 13)
Field-Goal Percentage: 39.3 (337, 13)
Field-Goal Defense: 46.2 (291, 13)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (88, 4)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.6 (285, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.3 (52, 1)
Rebound Margin: -1.8 (255, 12)
Assists Per Game: 12.2 (205, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (80, 3)


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