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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 13, 2014

MAAC Preview

Iona's David Laury. (John Blaine Photo)

By Kyle Franko
@kj_franko on Twitter

Year in and year out, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tends to be the most competitive of the mid-major leagues from top to bottom. In 2014-15, that’s the case once again. Here’s one scribe’s best guess at predicting the unpredictable (last season’s record in parentheses).

1. Iona (22-11, 17-3) >> Tim Cluess’ Gaels have won 20 games five consecutive years and the preseason favorites are in line to finish atop the standings again. A.J. English (17.2 ppg) and David Laury (14 ppg, 8.3 rpg) are the key men for this free-scoring side.

2. Siena (20-18, 11-9) >> The Saints are ready to make the jump back into the top half of the conference in year two under Jimmy Patsos. Siena won the CBI last year and has a strong returning core with sophomores Marquis Wright and Lavon Long ready to star. An added bonus: the MAAC tourney is back in Albany.

3. Saint Peter’s (14-17, 9-11) >> Seniors Marvin Dominique (16.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg) and Desi Washington (13.5 ppg) may be the best inside-out combo in the league. Sophomore guard Trevis Wyche is coming off a solid rookie campaign.

4. Manhattan (25-8, 15-5) >> George Beamon, Michael Alvarado and Rhamel Brown are all gone from the team that oh-so-nearly beat Louisville in the NCAA Tournament. Then the Jaspers went through Steve Masiello degree-gate. The school stuck by the embattled coach, so we’ll see if that pays off. Versatile senior forward Emmy Andujar (8.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is the player to watch.

5. Quinnipiac (20-12, 14-6) >> It might be tough for Tom Moore’s Bobcats to repeat the third-place finish of their debut season, but seniors Zaid Hearst (15.5 ppg) and Ousmane Drame (13.7 ppg, 10.5 rpg) are still around. Gio McLean was a big get in the transfer market, but his status is in doubt due to fishy JUCO transcripts.

6. Rider (14-17, 9-11) >> With transfers Teddy Okereafor and Matt Lopez eligible, the Broncs are better than people think. They have a brutal non-conference schedule, so reserve judgment on Kevin Baggett’s squad until league play begins.

7. Marist (12-19, 9-11) >> Mike Maker takes over after Jim Bower’s unimpressive season, making it three in three years for the Red Foxes. Khalid Heart (14.7 ppg) is coming off a MAAC Rookie of the Year campaign and leading scorer Chavaughn Lewis (17.5 ppg) is still around so the cupboard isn’t bare for Maker, who arrives after an outstanding six-year stint in charge of Division III Williams College.

8. Monmouth (11-21, 5-15) >> The Hawks lost 11 of their final 12 games last season so King Rice has some work to do at the shore. He does get the team’s top two scorers back in Deon Jones (15.1 ppg) and Andrew Nicholas (14.3 ppg).

9. Canisius (21-13, 14-6) >> How do you replace Billy Baron? That’s one for his father, Jim, to figure out because on paper this roster, with only two seniors, is not great.

10. Fairfield (7-25, 4-16) >> Sydney Johnson says he’ll get it turned around following a seven-win season, but the offensively-challenged Stags (63.4 ppg) may struggle for points again. You can’t win in this college basketball climate if you can’t score.

11. Niagara (7-26, 3-17) >> Even with Antoine Mason and his 25.6 ppg now at Auburn, year two for Chris Casey promises to be better than last season’s seven-win campaign. The Purple Eagles will have more balanced scoring, but an improvement may not mean moving up the league standings.


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