Welcome to 34 Teams in 34 (week)Days. Every Monday through Friday from now until the beginning of the season we’ll be previewing the teams we’ll cover this season at NYC Buckets. (The entire NEC, Ivy League, and MAAC along with Fordham, Hofstra, Stony Brook, Seton Hall and St. John’s.) We’re covering them in approximately the reverse order of how we see them finishing in 2017-18.
Today the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers kick off the series. Assuming everything goes to plan there will be a new post every weekday from now on, with the final preview coming on Nov. 7, just a few days before the season kicks off.
Each preview will also have this helpful graphic (created by Kevin Whitaker) to help readers quickly understand exactly what a team lost and returns this season. The y-axis is a player’s offensive rating, or how efficient he was on offense. The x-axis represents a player’s possession minutes—usage rate weighted by playing time. Taking a look at SFC’s chart, you can see that Yunus Hopkinson was a large (if inefficient) part of the Terriers’ offensive attack last season and they’ll have to figure out how to replace him moving forward.
St. Francis Brooklyn
Outlook: Strong guard play paired with a fast learning frontcourt should make the Terriers more competitive in the NEC this season.
Last year: 4-27 (2-16 NEC)
Who’s in: Chauncey Hawkins (G); Yaradyah Evans (F); Jalen Jordan (G); Josh Nicholas (G); Milija Cosic (F)
Who’s out: Yunus Hopkinson (G); Jahmel Bodrick (F); Robert Montgomery (F); Gianni Ford (G)
Key Non-Conference Games: Brown (11-19-2017); Army (12-12-2017)
The 2016-17 season is one I’m sure St. Francis Brooklyn head coach Glenn Braica would like to forget. After opening NEC play with two overtime victories, SFC failed to win a game in 2017. The Terriers lost their final 16 games and missed the NEC tournament. They finished the season ranked 346th in KenPom, ahead of just five teams in the entirety of Division I.
The problems started in the offseason when an injury to sophomore forward Cori Johnson sapped the Terriers of what little frontcourt depth they had. The lack of size forced Braica to play 6’3” forward Gunnar Olafsson (5.1 rpg) at power forward at times last season. Hopefully the development of Joshua Nurse—who had strong rebounding and block rates in NEC play but committed 8.8 fouls per 40 minutes—and the return of Johnson should give SFC some more size. (It should be noted though that Johnson is still recovering from a knee injury, so his status isn’t certain.) In addition, Milija Cosic comes to SFC with experience at the JUCO level. He has the potential to provide a perimeter oriented option at forward that might help the Terriers better balance the floor offensively. Getting some additional size on the court is a big key for Braica, as the Terriers shot just 40.1% on two-point attempts, the worst rate in Division I.
Even if the big men develop, SFC will still go just as far as their guards can take them. Yunus Hopkinson was forced to do too much last season and regressed as a senior. On the other hand, Rasheem Dunn’s freshman season was one of the bright spots for the Terriers. He showed a great ability to get the rim, even at 6’2”. A year of development on his three-point shot and some added strength should make him a force in the NEC and improve on his 13.1 ppg average. While Glenn Sanabria was able to play through his entire redshirt sophomore season, he suffered from nagging injuries that impacted his play. Managing Sanabria’s minutes to keep him as close to 100 percent as possible come conference play will be another key player for the Terriers. One newcomer that could help Dunn and Sanabria get some rest is Chauncey Hawkins. The 5’8” guard scored 19.2 ppg last season for St. Joseph Regional in New Jersey.
The non-conference schedule is relatively forgiving, despite having a number of games on the road (including at Duquesne, Notre Dame and Fordham). The games at the Pope Center against Brown and Army should give Braica a chance to judge how his team will hold up against NEC competition, while two home games against non-Division I competition should give this young roster some additional confidence.
Still, this season feels like it might be what last season was supposed to be for the Terriers—a rebuilding season as the frontcourt adapts to Division I basketball. If some breaks go their way SFC won’t be one of the worst teams in college basketball, but it will still be an uphill battle to make the NEC tournament.