Last season, Zach Spiker’s Army Black Knights (16-15, 8-6 Patriot League) solidified their first winning season since the 1984-85 campaign when they defeated American in the first round of the Patriot League tournament. All-conference first teamer Ella Ellis led the charge with a fantastic KenPom offensive rating of 118, despite using more than 28% of Army’s possessions. Four freshmen in Kyle Wilson, Kyle Toth, Larry Toomey, and Dylan Cox all had a significant impact, with Wilson and Toth each earning a coveted spot on the Patriot League 2012-13 all-rookie team.
Even though Ellis graduates, the youthful Black Knights were finally legitimate contenders in the recently expanded Patriot League. After Navy and Boston University, the Black Knights had the highest percentage of returning possession minutes in the league.
Unfortunately for Army, things just got a little more difficult, as a source has confirmed to Big Apple Buckets that Kyle Toth has decided to leave the academy. Toth’s name has been officially removed from Army’s roster online, so Spiker must move forward without one of his up-and-coming sophomores. Toth was third on the team in scoring at 8.2 points per game, while finishing second to only Ellis in three-pointers made last season.
The unexpected loss of Toth allows for senior Josh Herbeck, among others, to step up in his absence. Herbeck suffered from an injury plagued junior season, after logging only 28.6% of the team’s total minutes. He’ll be looked upon by Spiker to fill the role of three-point specialist. He’s a career 39.3% three-point shooter in three seasons at West Point.
With so many different options at Spiker’s disposal, this may prove to be a nominal loss in the long run. For now, though, Army loses two fifths of their projected starting lineup and will possibly need to shift their offensive philosophy, if ever so slightly. Spiker’s teams in the past have relied heavily on the three-pointer, but losing your two of your best shot-makers could call for a revised offensive identity. And perhaps a revised preseason ranking among Patriot League head coaches.
We’ll have more on this situation when we profile the Black Knights in the near future.
You can follow Ryan on Twitter @pioneer_pride. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.