Albany Looking To Reload For Another Historic Run

Albany will have a chance to win four straight conference championships, an almost unprecedented opportunity, and it could be argued they have a great chance to win come March 2016.

They return two-time America East tournament Most Outstanding Player Peter Hooley as well as first team All-America East guard Evan Singletary, who in one season acclimated himself quickly to the role of playmaking point guard. Ray Sanders, who transferred to Albany after spending a year at junior college, quickly got used to playing the vital role needed of a small forward left vacant by Gary Johnson a year ago.

If there is one thing that head coach Will Brown knows how to do, it is to quickly reshape the roster. A fixture of the previous three championship starting lineups was Sam Rowley, and while he leaves a void to be filled, Brown said he tries to rebuild the roster “carefully.”

“The one hard thing, every kid nowadays wants to play and if you didn’t play this year on the perimeter for us, you probably weren’t going to play this upcoming year,” Brown said. “I mean we return three all-conference perimeter players and that’s hard.”

While graduation is the typical first problem of reshaping the roster, four freshmen transferred out of the program after this season, further complicating the balance between building for 2016 and the future concurrently.

“It’s like a puzzle just trying to fit we want to make sure that, when these guys graduate after next year, that we’re not relying completely on three freshmen having to step in and start and rebuild,” Brown said. “What we’re trying to do is reload instead of rebuild and I think the biggest thing for us is what are we going to get offensively from our front court this upcoming year.”

Brown’s biggest patchwork job last season was replacing the minutes he recevied from John Puk at center in their 2014 championship run, rotating Richard Peters, Michael Rowley and Greg Stire into the front court. How much each of the three improve could help the Great Danes become a more interior-focused team.

“I’ll put our perimeter up against anybody in the league heading into this upcoming season,” Brown said. “I think up front we’ll defend and rebound, it’s just a matter of what type of scoring are we going to get.”

“We also might entertain the thought of playing four guards or even sliding Dallas [Ennema] down to the four spot some and let him be a stretch four.”

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 among others  for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.

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