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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Notes from Rider practice

Stopped by Rider practice early this morning, and came away with a few notes:

First, Tommy Pereira is more in the mix than I anticipated he would be.

Coming in -- partially because Periera grew up in England and came to Rider from the Canary Islands -- he was almost an afterthought when discussing Rider's freshmen.

There's no question Anthony Myles and Danny Stewart deserve to be the headliners of the class, and that they'll make an immediate impact. But Tommy Dempsey indicated Pereira is very much in the mix to get starters' minutes or something close to that.

Aside from Justin Robinson, Pereira is Rider's best outside shooter. That gives him an immediate role. But Dempsey has also been impressed with other aspects of his game and thinks he's a good fit in Rider's offense.

Next, Rider is leaning toward flipping Novar Gadson and Brandon Penn, using Penn as more of a small forward and Gadson as a power forward. The Broncs' hope is that will maximize those players' strenghts -- Penn's outside shooting, Gadson's muscle -- while minimizing their weaknesses, such as Gadson's often shaky perimeter shooting.

Because Rider's offense is so perimeter-oriented -- for all intents and purposes, they haven't had a center since Jason Thompson's departure -- there isn't always a huge difference between the guy playing the 3 and the guy playing the 4. But look for Gadson to play more as a post player than a guard.

Lastly, everyone is a full-go healthwise except for Dera Nd-Ezuma, who's still hobbled by tendinitis. Nd-Ezuma, who had injections in both knees last month, will not dress for Saturday's exhibition game against Division III TCNJ.


Anonymous marko said...

Thanks for the update. Any feedback on who played well in the scrimmage against Seton Hall. I understand Rider lost by about 5 points, but was the better team.

From the Seton Hall blogs it indicated that Justin Robinson was the best player on the court. Was curious about Penn, the freshman and Youngblood. For Rider to have an opportunity to do well one of this group will really have to be a key contributor.

Keep the updates coming. Can't wait for the season to start.

November 4, 2010 at 4:30 PM 
Blogger Ben Doody said...

Hey Marko,

Apparently, Kevin Willard and his staff were extremely impressed with Robinson.

I hadn't heard the "best player on the court" thing from anyone at Rider. It's not that that they thought he played poorly, but they didn't single him out as a star.

Myles apparently played very well -- above the expectations the coaches had based on his play in practice. The coaches were also extremely pleased with Pereira -- agian, maybe more than they thought they'd be at the beginning of workouts.

Stewart will be a factor from Day One, playing starters' minutes, whether or not he's actually in the starting lineup. It seems like his defense is a little ahead of his offense, but that's OK as long as other people are scoring.

Dempsey told me today he likes the way Penn has been playing, though he didn't shoot the ball particularly well against the Hall. As I wrote above, look for him to open the season as the starting small forward.

As for Youngblood, it's tough to say where he fits in. He certainly didn't have an overwhelmingly impressive season last year. He's definitely behind Myles and Pereira on the depth chart, and he might also be behind Jon Thompson and Pat Mansell.

I'm interested to see how he looks Saturday against TCNJ.

November 4, 2010 at 4:45 PM 

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