#107 Iona Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Iona Gaels

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #107
Conference Rank: #1 MAAC

Iona Team Page#107 Iona Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Iona Basketball Tickets

Iona was practically unstoppable during much of MAAC play. The team ended up losing just three of their 20 conference matchups and won 11 games in a row stretching from mid-January to mid-February. An overtime loss at Manhattan ended that streak. It would be a couple weeks later when the Gaels would meet the Jaspers once again, but this time an NCAA Tournament bid was on the line. Iona once again lost to Manhattan and they had to settle for the NIT. Once there, Coach Tim Cluess’ high scoring team fell in the first round to Louisiana Tech.

2013-14 Record: 22-11, 17-3
2013-14 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Tim Cluess
Coach Record: 92-45 at Iona, 92-45 overall

Who’s Out:
No team in the country made more three-pointers than the Gaels in 2013-2014, but the loss of Sean Armand will hinder that statistic. Armand hit a team high 96 three-pointers and was a huge reason the Gaels ranked 12th in the country in three-point shooting percentage, connecting on 44.2 percent of his attempts. Tre Bowman was another major shooting threat, hitting 68 long balls at a 40.0 percent clip. Those two alone accounted for over 30 points a game. Mike Poole, a transfer from Rutgers, stepped into a starting last season and added 6.0 points per game. Fellow guard DaShawn Gomez is the other departure.

Who’s In:
Despite all of the losses on the perimeter, Iona has a lot of talent there. This is a team that played very small most of last season. There is still time to add more size to the roster, but for now Coach Cluess has brought in a couple experience small forwards to boost the team’s overall size. Jeylani Dublin is a senior transfer who spent last season at Longwood, where he averaged 10.4 points and 4.2 rebounds. Dublin is not a shooter, but he is a good finisher around the basket. Najeal Young, a junior college transfer is another 6-6 small forward who should compete for minutes right away. Perhaps the most important newcomer is Kelvin Amayo, a transfer from Marshall. However, some nagging injuries could limit him early in the year. But Amayo is a versatile talent who can run the point or play anywhere else on the perimeter. The lone incoming freshman, at this point, is point guard Schadrac Casimir. Minutes will be hard to come by for Casimir this season, but he will learn under some great point guards.

Who to Watch:
And the best point guard on Iona is A.J. English, who averaged 17.2 points and 4.3 assists in 2013-2014. English is yet another quality outside shooter, although he did only shoot 35.4 percent from long range. For most teams that is a perfectly fine number, but not surpassing the 40 percent plateau at Iona is a disappointment. Either way, English is an amazing playmaker who leads this team up and down the floor in a hurry. Isaiah Williams is a big 6-7 guard who allows the Gaels to play small and remain backcourt oriented without sacrificing size. He started 24 games during his first season in the program and was another one of those shooters who hit over 40 percent from beyond the arc. Wing Grant Ellis has not seen much playing time yet, but eventually that will change. Whether or not he can crack the regular rotation this year or not will depend on his health and the play of the newcomers. Tavon Sledge rounds out the backcourt. The speedy senior point guard has yet to live up to his potential, yet he should at least be a capable backup for English and potentially a secondary ball handler when Coach Cluess wants even more speed on the court.

Final Projection:
David Laury is the scorer in the frontcourt. As a junior the 6-9 forward averaged 14.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest. Most of the time he is the only big man on the floor, although he could get more help from Ryden Hines, a 6-10 sophomore, and Daniel Robinson, a seven-footer, this time around. Those two both averaged less than seven minutes per game as freshmen, so it remains to be seen if Iona is actually going to have enough size to ever play big. This will be one of the highest scoring teams in the country again and the rest of the MAAC has had a tough time keeping up. With a solid core in English, Williams and Laury, anything but a trip to the NCAA Tournament will be a disappointment.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
A.J. English, Junior, Guard, 17.2 points per game
Kelvin Amayo, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Isaiah Williams, Junior, Guard, 11.3 points per game
Jeylani Dublin, Senior, Forward, 10.4 points per game at Longwood
David Laury, Senior, Forward, 14.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 83.6 (4th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 77.6 (325, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.7 (15, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.4 (262, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 10.2 (1, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.6 (12, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.4 (120, 5)
Rebound Margin: -5.1 (326, 11)
Assists Per Game: 17.5 (3, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.6 (40, 1)


See All Top 144 Basketball Previews