Despite finishing three games under .500 to end last season, St. Peter’s cycle of success feels eerily similar to the year before their 2011 MAAC championship run.
Head coach John Dunne was excited about having the chance last season to win games, which the Peacocks totaled 14 – the combination of their previous two seasons after reaching the NCAA tournament. St. Peter’s won seven of their final 10 games and return all but one scholarship player.
“I’m certainly excited about that having a core group that knows what it takes to win now and then you add guys around them with talent, I’m definitely looking forward to the season,” Dunne said.
By the time July workouts begin the Peacocks will have the majority of their roster on campus. St. Peter’s has Harcum junior college transfer Travis Hester on campus and Rodney Hawkins, who joined the team last season but should be eligible at the start of the second semester next season. Add to them Lincoln high school commit Elisha Boone and junior college transfer Simeon Dennis, when they arrive likely for the second summer session, they are all expected to contribute around the core of Peacocks starters.
Hawkins, at 6’8″, will help the front court depth once he is eligible to play and Dennis will provide a scoring punch off the bench after averaging over 15 points per game in junior college. Hester will, at the least, provide another three-point shooter off the bench for a team that made just 31.6% of its three-pointers last season.
Dunne said he is excited to see if Boone can fill the wing position that lone senior on the roster Chris Burke filled last season.
“We graduated size with Chris Burke, 6’4″ wing, and we bring in size with Elisha Boone,” Dunne said. “He can put it on the floor, strong finisher, you have to respect his shot; that’s not what he’s known for but certainly I think he’s going to be a guy that’s going to help us on the wing.”
“You put those four guys in with the core we have coming back, I don’t know how they all play together, how they all fit together and how our chemistry goes. It’s going to be a work in progress, but if it can come together for us and these guys buy in to team, I think we have a chance to be pretty good.”
The Peacocks have been focused on small group workouts so far through the month of June. Dunne said he would like to see his point guard Trevis Wyche take another step in his second season after averaging just under four assists per game last season.
“I think he’s out to take a big step going into his sophomore year and prove that he is one of the better point guards in the league, especially in his class,” Dunne said mentioning Marist’s Khallid Hart, who won MAAC Rookie of the Year and Siena’s Marquis Wright in his class. “I kind of feel like my guy gets a little slighted and never gets mentioned when I think he had a really nice freshman campaign himself.”
“He had a really nice assist to turnover ratio, especially on a team that wasn’t a gifted scoring team and I think his numbers are only going to get better in that regard. I think he’s a guy that can live in the paint and we’re looking for him to improve his efficiency when he gets into the paint scoring the ball as well.”
Ryan Restivo covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.