As two of the key parts of Albany’s last two America East championship runs, senior Sam Rowley and redshirt junior Peter Hooley know what it takes to win a title.
This season, they will be trying to win their third straight title with a group that includes nine new players.
“We’re starting to get to know each other as players and figure out our roles on the team,” Rowley said who has led the team in rebounding each of the last two seasons.
“We had plenty of time to get accustomed to one another and we’ve seen how each new player can play,” said Hooley, who led the team last season with 15.5 points per game. “Now it’s all about everyone getting on the same page and embracing the system.”
The 6’4″ junior guard knows that he will have to get used to another point guard after D.J. Evans graduated following the team’s run to the NCAA tournament. Among those who are candidates to take over the point guard spot are junior college transfers Tre Green, Evan Singletary and Ray Sanders to go with a strong group of freshmen.
“I think our style of play is definitely a lot different than where people have come from, whether that be high school or junior college,” Hooley said. “You have to take care of the ball and not turn it over, because that will lose [head coach Will Brown’s] trust. It’s all those little things that will take time to come, but if they do that quick they should be good.”
Rowley admitted that his younger brother Mike has been the most difficult for him to guard in practice, while Hooley admired how far sophomore Dallas Ennema has come in barely a season of playing time.
“I think Dallas has come a long way since his freshman year,” Hooley said. “He’s hitting a turnaround fade away, which is pretty hard to guard when he has such a high release.”
While it may take a while for the newcomers to develop, the Rowley is looking forward to seeing what the Great Danes can do on the floor to defend their America East tournament championship.
“We’ve both been with three different teams, three different groups of guys, and we view the teams very differently from the perspective of being juniors and seniors,” Rowley said. “We’re embracing the role of bringing these guys along a little bit and trying to pass along any wisdom that we might have and it’s pretty fun watching them, watching them grow. At the same time we’re excited because we see the potential there for this team during this season.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He 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.