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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, October 29, 2014

Anthony D'Orazio looking to make impact in only year at Rider

Lawrenceville >> Remember the Lehigh team which upset Duke in the NCAA Tournament?

Well, if you look at that squad’s statistics you’ll find a name that might become familiar to Rider fans this season.

Anthony D’Orazio was part of that 27-win team as a sophomore and then went on to start on the Mountain Hawks’ 21-win side as a junior.

But he missed all of his senior season with an injury, and after completing all his coursework at Lehigh, was looking to transfer to complete his graduate degree.

Rider had an opening on both its basketball team and in its MAcc forensic accounting program where he is working toward a graduate degree.

“I’m here for one year. I’m here for one shot,” said D’Orazio, who started 29 games for Lehigh alongside the likes of C.J. McCollum and Mackey McKnight in 2012-13.

“It’s not like you’re really developing a player anymore,” D’Orazio added. “I’m supposed to have all my skills, all my knowledge and utilize it to the best of my ability to bring this team the best chance to win.”

That’s what Rider head coach Kevin Baggett is hoping for.

The third-year boss said he hopes D’Orazio, who played high school basketball at Camden Catholic and is a childhood friend of center Matt Lopez, can bring some of that experience.

“He gives us a presence who has been to the postseason,” Baggett said. “I just think he’s a pretty good leader.”

Baggett acknowledged D’Orazio will be a key player in the Broncs’ rotation. He’ll either start or be the sixth man.

After all, you don’t take a one-year player if he can’t help right away.

“I’m constantly yelling at him to be more aggressive shooting shots,” Baggett said. “I don’t know if he was that aggressive at Lehigh, but I want him to be more aggressive here at Rider.”

D’Orazio said he does a little bit of everything.

“I play well on defense, I pass the ball well and can knock down open shots if I’m contested,” he said.

Still, he has the one thing Rider has been chasing for quite some time: an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Maybe he can leave some of that mid-major magic in Lawrenceville.

“The urgency and uniqueness of playing in the tournament brings to light how you should practice every single day,” D’Orazio said. “The consistency, the accountability ... the little things you see on a winning team that you have to replicate in order to do it all again.

“That year we went and played and beat Duke, we really hit a stride from February on. It’s just a matter of getting hot at the right time. I think if we can consistently improve during practices, we’ll put ourselves in a good position for the MAAC Tournament and after.”

Ref Speak

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference coordinator of officials Mike Kitts stopped by Rider last week to talk rule changes.

Baggett said the biggest point of emphasis is going back to the old block/charge rule. The officials are also cracking down on weak-side defenders who arrive late on post players going up for a shot.

Hand-checking on the perimeter will still be called tightly, Baggett said.

The third-year coach added he’s had officials come in and work the team’s intra-squad scrimmages to help players adjust.

Three Weeks To Go

The Broncs open their season Nov. 14 with a six-mile trip north on Route 206 to face Princeton, but first they’ll tune-up with a scrimmage Friday and an exhibition Nov. 8 against Division II Kutztown at Alumni Gym.

Friday’s scrimmage against LIU Brooklyn is closed to the public and media.


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