Last season the MAAC featured a strong group of freshman guards, who look like a great group of future league stars.
While Marist’s Khallid Hart walked away with Rookie of the Year honors last season, it appears that this group is primed to have an even greater impact on the league moving forward. However, when it comes to the toughest in their class to guard, the group is split after their first season.
For Hart, who led all freshmen averaging 14.7 points per game, he said the most difficult player to guard for him was 6-foot Siena Saint Marquis Wright.
“He’s a great passer and he’s always moving,” Hart said. “He’s always thinking a step ahead and a way to get his teammates a shot.”
Wright returned the favor and said Marist’s Hart was the toughest he went up against in conference play last season.
“He’s strong, he’s quick and he could shoot,” Wright said. “You just have to guard him straight up and him being a little bigger than me, it was a little tougher guarding him, but I think I handled him well.”
Hart scored 22 points in their first meeting, a Siena win at home, and 16 points in their second meeting, a Marist win.
Saint Peter’s sophomore Trevis Wyche said that Hart gave him the most trouble last season of all the freshman guards.
“He knew how to play,” Wyche said. “He was strong and he had an IQ for the game.”
Marist split the series with Saint Peter’s last season and Hart scored 15 points in each of their two meetings.
Rider sophomore Jimmie Taylor said that Siena’s Wright gave him the most problems last season because he could hurt you in different ways.
“He was more unpredictable, when we would be in the locker room scouting they’d say he’s doing more to get guys open, but actually he was a guy that could attack whenever,” Taylor said. “Him being a guard that people thought who would get guys open, but you sit back and just relax and he could go past you. He could just blow by you in a second, so that kept me on my toes.”
Canisius sophomore Zach Lewis said Hart’s toughness and durability made him more difficult to guard than any other freshman last season.
“He was playing 30 to 35 minutes a game, so he was always in attack mode,” Lewis said. “The other freshmen, they got a lot of minutes, but they weren’t always the best player on their team.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He 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.