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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, February 2, 2012

Eddie Mitchell starting to get comfortable in freshman season

LAWRENCEVILLE — When Eddie Mitchell signed with the Rider men’s basketball team, he knew there were big shoes to fill.

Justin Robinson, one of the best point guards in school history, graduated leaving a void the young Mitchell would have to step into whether he was ready or not.

It has taken a little while, but Mitchell is starting to figure out what it takes to play point guard at the collegiate level.

He had one of his best games in the win over Siena, finishing with six points, six assists and just one turnover.

“There were times where I felt like maybe I got it,” Mitchell said. “Then there were times where I’m like, ‘I’m not even close,’ so there have been ups and downs.”

But that’s usually the case with freshmen point guards.

“We put him in a tough spot where he has a lot of responsibilities as a freshman,” said coach Tommy Dempsey. “But that’s what he came here for — to be in this position.”

Mitchell was inserted into the starting lineup for the game at Florida and has started every contest since.

He’s averaging 4.8 points and 3.2 assists per game, respectively.

Over the last three games — all Rider wins — he has 17 assists.

“I always look for my teammates to get a shot first,” Mitchell said. “The number of shots I take doesn’t really matter. If we get a win and I get my teammates good shots, then I think I’ve done my job.”

In time, he will develop into the type of scorer he was in high school, where he averaged 16.2 points per game at La Salle in the Philadelphia Catholic League.

“I don’t need that right now,” Dempsey said. “I need him to take care of the ball, play good defense and get his teammates shots. He’ll become more of a scorer next year. Right now, he knows what we need from him and he’s focused on that.”

Mitchell said it took him some time to adjust to playing against bigger, more physical players.
He was also frustrated by the team’s slow start to the season.

“It was tough because I felt like I was a big part of the problem,” Mitchell said. “We needed a point guard and I wasn’t exactly ready when we needed me to be. I took a lot of that load on my shoulders. I feel as though if we had a good point guard, a lot of those losses would have been wins.”

But that’s behind both Mitchell and the Broncs now. They have won three in a row and grabbed sole possession of fifth place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

“We’re coming together,” Mitchell said. “When we play as a team, the game’s easier and more fun.

It’s better than some people getting mad because we’re losing and trying to take the game over. We’re playing together from start to finish.”

Jones, Myles bring a spark

Senior Jeff Jones and sophomore Anthony Myles have formed quite a partnership off the bench.

Jones is Rider’s leading scorer at 13.3 points per game while Myles is averaging 9.9 per game.

“Our bench is good and our depth is really good,” Dempsey said. “That’s one of the things that help you through the long grind. Depth has been important to us and all the strong teams in the league have quality depth. Are we the best? That might be overstating it, but we definitely have some firepower off the bench and some bodies we can throw at you.”

Freshman forward Junior Fortunat has also emerged as a key contributor off the bench. He had 10 points in the win over Siena.

Jones, Myles and Fortunat combined to outscore the Saints’ bench 41-6 in that game.

Dempsey optimistic on Lindsey

Nurideen Lindsey, a transfer from St. John’s, began practicing with the team last week after he enrolled in school for the second semester. Second semester classes began on Jan. 23.

Lindsey, a sophomore, announced his decision to transfer from the Big East school in early December.
Rider is seeking a waiver that would allow him to become eligible at the beginning of his junior

Dempsey said the school has not applied for the waiver and most likely won’t do so until after the season.

The coach said it’s not time sensitive.

He did say he was optimistic that the waiver will be granted once the school applies for it.

If the NCAA denies the waiver, Lindsey will have 1 1/2 years of eligibility remaining and can begin play next December.

TV time

Rider’s game on Feb. 24 against Loyola at Alumni Gymnasium will be broadcast on ESPN2, the MAAC announced Thursday.

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