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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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baggett, Broncs hard at work

While Rider released the non-conference portion of its schedule on Tuesday, coach Kevin Baggett and his staff were hard at work.

Baggett, entering his second season in charge of the Broncs, has had an opportunity to work with most of the squad over the past couple weeks.

More importantly, he's got a good look at his newcomers and the way they blend with the veterans. The coach again has several new faces with five freshmen (Brandon Channer, Xavier Lundy, Jimmie Taylor, Khalil Thomas and the recently added Davis Graham) and a pair of transfers (Teddy Okereafor, Skylar Scrivano — both have to sit out this season).

"They're a talented group," Baggett said Wednesday. "Need some work, but that's what you expect with freshmen. What I like about this group is they're all business. There aren't a lot of questions. They're being sponges and soaking up everything I feed them and they're working hard."

Baggett also touched on this coming season's non-league slate, which features six of nine contests away from Alumni Gymnasium.

"It's tough especially as a mid-major because it's difficult to get games at home," Baggett said. "I don't mind going on the road because it make you tougher-minded. When you're on the road, it's everybody against you and it brings the group together. What we have to do is win more than one game in a row on the road."

Because the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will have 11 schools this season instead of 10 — Monmouth and Quinnipiac are in, Loyola is out — the number of non-league games for Rider shrunk from 12 last year to nine this season.

"It makes it more difficult," Baggett said, pointing out that the Broncs lost a non-conference rivalry game with Monmouth when the Hawks joined the league. "We try to play teams that are comparable to us, while also taking our shots against bigger schools."

Rider has games at Purdue and Villanova.

Baggett, like most coaches in the MAAC, uses the non-league schedule as a way to get ready for the conference slate.

With fewer games, though, does that make it more difficult to iron out the kinks?

"You just have to play what's on our schedule," said the coach, who went 19-15 in his debut season, leading the team to a second-place finish in the MAAC and the second round of the CIT. "No one is going to feel sorry for us. We have to get ready fast."


Baggett said he doesn't have a replacement yet for Michael Cotton, who left to take an assistant coach position at North Carolina Central.

Cotton is the second member of the Rider staff to move on after Lou Rowe went to Florida International.

Baggett promoted John Griffin from director of basketball operations to assistant coach and hired former Bronc Paul Johnson as DOB following Rowe's departure.

"It's the nature of the position," said Baggett, who had five previous stops before landing at Rider. "You would like some continuity with your staff, but those guys (Cotton and Rowe) got to go home. I got to go home when I came here."

Baggett said he's interviewing candidates and hopes to have a hire in place within the next two weeks.


Baggett is hopeful Ryan Thompson gets a shot in the NBA.

Thompson, younger brother of Sacramento Kings forward Jason, was with the Washington Wizards in Summer League, averaging 5.6 points per game in five contest out in Las Vegas. The Wizards went 2-3.

If Thompson doesn't catch on with the Wizards or another NBA team, he has already signed a contract to return to Belgium with Oostende. He spent last season with Belgian club Aalstar, averaging 18.3 points in 31 games.

Speaking of Thompsons, recent graduate Jon is close to signing a professional contract to play in the Czech Republic, Baggett said.


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