Despite graduating two 1,000 point scorers, Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said he believes he has the talent stocked to make another run at an America East championship in 2015.
One of the reasons is redshirt freshman Roland Nyama. Back in Novemeber, Pikiell said that he expected Nyama to replace Dave Coley’s position, but after one year in residency he believes the freshman who came from the Holderness School could have an immediate impact next season.
“He very easily could be the replacement for Dave [Coley], but he could play the two, the three and the four,” Pikiell said. “He’s a real good player for me at a lot of positions. I don’t know who’s he going to replace or what position I’m going to end him at or start him, but he can play three positions which I think is a real luxury to have.”
Pikiell said he was not sure he would have the minutes for Nyama in the rotation and the German native’s adjustment to Stony Brook factored into the decision to redshirt. Since then, Pikiell said he has gained 11 pounds and was one of his best players on the practice floor later in the season.
“He could score inside, he can shoot the ball, he could really handle it,” Pikiell said. “He’ll be one of our better defenders. He’s like a little bit like Ahmad [Walker], but a better perimeter shooter. Really excited how he continued to get better during the course of the year and by the end of the year, you could see him in the lineup.”
Pikiell redshirted Walker in 2012-13. This past season Walker started 31 of the 34 games the Seawolves played, scored seven points per game, and pulled down 5.3 rebounds per game.
The reinforcements continue with the 2014-15 freshman class with Stony Brook closing on three commitments during the early signing period. DeShaun Thrower went on to win Mr. Basketball in the state of Michigan and Pikiell said he would like to see him as a freshman play both the point guard and shooting guard spots in his offense.
Stony Brook brings in much needed size and Pikiell said he believes Chester commit Tyrell Sturdivant will be an instant contributor as well.
“He’s bouncy, he can shoot the three, he’s a good passer which we need and he’s sneaky athletic,” Pikiell said while noting that he will play his freshman season. “He’s got that good size and that good athleticism, I’m excited about him.”
Bryan Sekkunda brings a versatile skill set and will be another shooter to a class that Pikiell believes is physically ready to play.
The freshman class of four will complement rising juniors Carson Puriefoy and Jameel Warney who appear to the strength of the core of the Seawolves next run. Warney will be the defending America East Player of the Year after leading the team in scoring and rebounding. Puriefoy will likely be the starting point guard after making second team All-America East last season.
Ryan Restivo covers the America East conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.