What To Expect From Quinnipiac

Monday night, Quinnipiac University held its annual Basketball Media Night at the TD Bank Sports Center. During the reception, head men’s basketball coach Tom Moore addressed the media on the state of his squad heading into the season. The Bobcats return a solid core of talent headlined by senior forward Ike Azotam, while only losing four players from last year’s team. Umar Shannon, a fifth-year transfer from Saint Francis (Pa.), and freshmen Kasim Chandler, Alain Chigha, and AJ Sumbry will be called upon to fill the void left by last year’s departures which include two starters in Jamee Jackson and Dave Johnson.

Moore spoke very highly of the new additions to the team.

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“I very rarely say this, but every one of the new kids will play,” Moore said.  “You just never get a recruiting class like that.  You never get a recruiting class where you feel like all of whom will play this year and will help us win games at times this year.”

Although Moore would not divulge his starting lineup for the season opener in the Connecticut 6 this weekend, he did praise a number of returning players who saw extended playing time last year. Azotam, Ousmane Drame, Shaq Shannon, Evan Conti, and Zaid Hearst make up the returning core and would be a strong potential starting lineup for the opener. Although the lineup is still up in the air, Moore stressed the idea that the starting five would not necessarily be the ones accumulating the most minutes. The backcourt situation is especially fluid, and Moore’s promise to let the newcomers see game action leaves the door open to a multitude of exciting combinations which will certainly develop chemistry over the course of the year.

Rebounding will still be the name of the game when it comes to this Bobcats squad. Last year, Quinnipiac led the nation in rebounds per game and offensive rebounds per game. One thing to pay attention to in the early part of the season is the effect the new post defense rules will have on Quinnipiac’s system. Azotam and Drame are top of the line forwards, but if they begin to rack up fouls early in games, the bench’s depth will be tested. Juniors Justin Harris and Marquis Barnett have seen limited minutes in their time with the Bobcats, and freshmen Chigha and Sumbry are not yet battle tested. Coach Moore expressed trepidation in regard to the new rules, and with good reason – just last Friday, MAAC rival Manhattan saw three of their bigs foul out after playing a combined 32 minutes against Division II Nyack.

Quinnipiac opens their season this Saturday in the first game of the Connecticut 6 Classic vs. Hartford. Following that, they will travel to La Salle on November 12th to take part in the 9:00AM game of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon broadcast on ESPN2.

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