The first year under the direction of head coach Rob Krimmel served as yet another rebuilding season for the St. Francis Red Flash. They were the 20th youngest team in the nation, thereby stumbling their way to a 5-24 finish. The Red Flash lost 19 of their first 20 games by an average scoring margin of -14.5 points, but to Krimmel’s credit, the team fought hard late in the conference season by winning four of their last nine contests.
One of their glaring weaknesses was scoring the basketball (306th nationally in offensive efficiency), in large part due to a high turnover rate. The inexperienced Red Flash, devoid of a natural point guard since losing Chris Johnson in the middle of the 2011-12 season, turned the ball over on 23.3% of their possessions, the worst rate in the NEC. It’s a major reason why Krimmel and his staff focused on procuring a couple of pass-first point guards for this year’s recruiting class.
“(Last year) the roster was made up with a lot of guys that looked like point guards, but were better ‘2’ guards,” said Krimmel. “There’s a huge difference. We just thought having a guy that’s a true point guard, who’s played the position his whole life, makes the job of the other guys a little bit easier.”
This April, Krimmel’s vision became a reality when St. Francis received a commitment from the moderately recruited point guard, Malik Harmon.
For those who pay attention to the New York City (NYC) high school basketball scene, Harmon is a familiar name. The 5’11” guard had a wonderful senior season at Christ the King in Queens, guiding the team to 28-3 record and a state championship. Christ the King is well-known for their talent on the court, in fact Harmon’s highly sought after teammate, Jon Severe, also signed a Division I scholarship to play at Fordham. Running the show for a storied NYC high school program – and earning an All-Queens, all-city, and all-state selection – is no small feat, and it’s Harmon’s winning pedigree that has Krimmel excited for the years ahead.
“Malik comes from a great program with a winning foundation, winning mentality and he wants to help his teammates win,” explained Krimmel. “I love what Malik brings to the table with his ability to shoot the ball, his ability to find the open man, and his demeanor. I’m staring at the gym right now – we’re ready to do (agility drills) – and he has a huge smile on his face. He’s a perfect fit for St. Francis.”
Krimmel and his staff could have moved on after securing Harmon, yet they were intent on grabbing another pass-first floor general in Greek native, Georgios Angelou. A year older then Harmon, Angelou excelled running the point at Lykeio Kanithou in Greece, averaging 22 points and eight assists per game while shooting 62% as a senior.
“Georgios is a very good shooter, in fact he’s probably one of our best shooters,” said the second year head coach. “He’s challenging Ben (Millaud-Meunier) with some of the numbers we do drill-wise. It makes it a lot easier for a coach when you have three or four guys on the play that can make shots, especially with the point guard.”
The Red Flash may have lost standout Umar Shannon, who’s heading to Quinnipiac as a fifth year senior, yet Krimmel, a former sharpshooter himself, wants his team to continue to rely on the three-point shot. Last season, only 31 teams in Division I basketball had a higher percentage of their total points derived from the three-pointer than St. Francis. With all-rookie NEC selection Millaud-Meunier, Dominique Major (who led the team in made threes last season), and Stephon Whyatt returning, the additions of Harmon and Angelou could very well stretch out NEC defenses, making things a little easier for St. Francis’ young, yet talented frontcourt.
Speaking of the low block, the first scholarship commitment for the Red Flash’s 2013-14 roster came from Patrick Wrencher, a bruising, physical power forward. Wrencher gives Krimmel something the team was lacking last season – a post presence.
“He’s a true back-to-the basket type of player, but he can step out and shoot it from 15 feet. He’s a kid that’s different from what we have. At 6’7″, 255-260 pounds, he’s a strong kid.”
With a solid core at the 4/5 in Earl Brown, Stephon Mosley, and Ronnie Drinnon, Krimmel can take his time developing Wrencher in his rookie campaign. Given the early reports, the athletic Wrencher does need time to improve his conditioning and post skills, especially after a stress fracture whittled down the talented big man’s senior season at Moeller High.
“It’s nice to have a guy like Patrick who’s different from what we have, but develop him at a pace that allows him to have success, and not throw him to the wolves, really like we had to do to Ronnie (Drinnon) last year,” said Krimmel.
Overall, there are some good, young pieces for Krimmel to work with moving forward. St. Francis has the second most returning possession minutes of the ten NEC teams, so roster continuity will be on the Red Flash’s side. For a team that has struggled tremendously the last decade to remain relevant, season number two in the Krimmel era should give fans a clear indication on whether the St. Francis ship is heading in the right direction.
This concludes Big Apple Buckets 2013 recruiting series with the NEC. In case you missed your favorite team’s recruiting recap, we’ve provided you with the linked stories of the other nine programs below.
Bryant | Central Connecticut | Fairleigh Dickinson | LIU Brooklyn | Mount St. Mary’s | Robert Morris | Sacred Heart | St. Francis Brooklyn | Wagner |