Albany’s Will Brown Evaluations Ahead Of Schedule

Albany’s Will Brown admits that he has been constantly evaluating his roster.

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Albany head coach Will Brown has been constantly evaluating his roster as he looks to defend back to back tournament titles. (photo courtesy: America East)

The head coach, who has won four America East championships, said he and his assistants continually rank the roster from one to the bottom. Every time they’ve done it, after summer workouts, after individual workouts, practice, and scrimmages, five spots have solidified, but other spots change.

“It’s been the same five guys, but then I think six through 12 has changed,” Brown said. “I think now, the last two times we’ve did it, our top 10 has been fairly consistent just in a different order.”

When the Great Danes open on Saturday at Providence they will likely start a lineup of Evan Singletary, Peter Hooley, Ray Sanders, Sam Rowley and Mike Rowley. Brown is concerned about how productive a 6’8″ center will be against the non-conference portion of the schedule, but also wants to make sure options like sophomore Dallas Ennema are featured off the bench.

“I’d like to get some consistent production off our bench and I think Dallas Ennema, who was second in the league in conference play in three-point field goal percentage, is a guy that should be able to produce off the bench for us on the perimeter,” Brown said. “Dallas learned how to come off the bench for us last year and Wheeler [Baker] has never come off the bench for us in his life,  so there’s adjustments that guys have to go through. I think if we defend the five spot against more physical teams on our schedule and we have sold bench production, I think we have a chance to be very good.”

Baker averaged 26 ppg as a senior at Osseo High School in Minnesota. Ennema averaged 3.9 ppg last season, but was key down the stretch on a roster limited to a seven-man rotation.

Brown was adamant that he will not be redshirting any of his junior college transfers, but was still weighing his options prior to Saturday on his freshman class.

“Right now we haven’t made any determinations on if we’re going to redshirt any of our freshmen,” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of, if we think that’s in the best interests of the team and that individual, that is something we will strongly consider before Saturday.”

The 6’8″ younger Rowley has improved his game, even his older brother Sam admitted earlier in September that he was giving him trouble. Brown expects the improvements that the sophomore has made to shine through after an injury riddled freshman campaign.

The schedule includes trips to Providence and UNLV in the season’s first two weeks, so Brown will emphasize this time to give his younger players experience and learn more about his roster.

“What we’ve always tried to do is have a rotation set for conference play, it might not be the same as the non-conference, but give some guys the opportunity early see what they can do,” Brown said. “Once you get through that first, conference play your rotation usually shortens. It can be a little bit different that midway point in conference season, I think you even cut back further.”

“I’m probably a little slower and more methodical than others, as far as forming that rotation that I’m comfortable with, this is the time guys are going to get some opportunities early. With that being said, the goal on Saturday is to go and win the game, not to collect a check.”

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.

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