The St. John's Red Storm's final exhibition tune-up before the regular season kicks off on November 7th against William and Mary in the Coaches vs. Cancer/ 2K Sports tournament is against Division III St. Mary's College of Maryland Seahawks.
The school, if you haven't heard of it, is a small public college with good academics, according to prominent college guides like Fiske, Princeton Review, and US News and World Report; it's considered a "good value."
St. Mary's also has a basketball team... and a good one, at that.
Per St. Mary's website, the Seahawks are ranked 5th in the Basketball Times Division III poll and 15th in D3Hoops.com's poll. Under seven-year coach Chris Harney, St. Mary's went to the Division III Elite Eight last year, and two Sweet Sixteens in the two previous years.
This is a team that knows success and execution. And they know recruiting as well, it seems. Chris Harney seems to have used his Hoop Group connections and skills well, collecting a roster of talented Maryland players who have played in AAU and camps with top level players.
Harney also has a player on his roster named MacGyver.
Of course, the Seahawks are excited to match up against the Red Storm in New York City. And St. John's is excited to get back on the court and work out some of the kinks before the games count in the standings.
What kind of game can we expect to see from St. Mary's? Tomorrow's contest might just be competitive. A breakdown of their stats from last year and who the Seahawks bring in this year, below the fold. And make sure to check back this evening for Quinn's report from the pre game press conference.
An elite Division III team
On the Division III level, with no athletic scholarships to give out, it's possible to stockpile a lot of players.
And St. Mary's certainly has bodies - their box scores often went 11 or more deep. The depth helps them play a fast pace - almost 73 possessions per game, a breakneck pace in the vicinity of schools like Missouri, Long Island, and North Carolina on the Division I level. 10 Seahawk players logged 10 minutes or more per game, and the player on the court the most only spent 30 minutes per game on the floor.
The team's strengths are in:
- offensive rebounding - the team takes in 37.8% of their own misses
- interior scoring - where they hit a solid 53.9% of their shots
- and interior defense - where they allow opponents to shoot 47.1%.
They defend their own glass well, only allowing opponents to grab 32.5% of their misses.
The Seahawks took about 31% of their shots inside the arc, and drew about 2 free throws for every 5 shot attempts; they like to work their size inside and get to the line.
The Seahawks scored a lot of points, but not efficiently; their offensive rebounding and defense brought them to the edge of the Division III Final Four last year. St. Mary's can be sloppy with the ball, and foul more than they probably should, but they force turnovers and draw trips to the free throw line to counteract those negatives.
(For a better understanding of the stats in the right-side columns below, read up on the Rumble's Tempo-Neutral Primer.)
|Per GM||St. Mary's||Opponents||St. Mary's||Opponents|
Star Big Man - Christian MacAuley
St. Mary's brings solid height to their exhibition matchup with St. John's. The team's best returning player is sophomore Christian MacAuley - #22 on the court - who checks in at 6'8", 213 pounds. The preseason D-III All-America honorable mention forward played the third most minutes last year as a freshman behind two seniors - one guard, one center - and made an impact as a freshman.
MacAuley was by far the team's best defensive rebounder, grabbing 24% of the other teams' misses. He was also accurate inside, shooting 55.7% from the field and taking no three-point shots. He'll probably take a larger role in the offense this year. Last year, he took 20.8% of the teams' shots when in the game. In contrast, the departed seniors who led the team took almost 50% of the shots when they were on the floor - and 38% of the team's total shot attempts. MacAuley drew some fouls (79 in total), but only hit 62% of his free throw attempts.
6'6" Forward Mike Fitzpatrick started only 16 of the 31 games he played, but was a do-it-all forward. He could shoot (33.7% from the three, 54.7% from inside the arc), pass (assisting on 13% of his teammates' shots while on the floor), and rebound a little while not turning the ball over, unlike his teammates. Jeff Haus and Henry Bernstein are also 6'6" and contributed offensive rebounding for the Seahawks.
Along with MacAuley, Fitzpatrick, and the other forwards, the Seahawks bring in a trio of 6'8" big men named John David Garris, Dakota Hinley, and Willis Turnipseed. JD Garris comes with some pub ($ req'd), an urge to block shots, and some scoring ability. Turnipseed is long and played alongside Maryland commit Nick Faust in the Baltimore area for City College High School.
Backcourt + wings
Turnipseed comes to St. Mary's with a high school teammate, wing Eric Greer, who will be looked at to be a shooter from the perimeter at 6'5". Greer will play behind returning junior guards Devin Spencer (#5 for the Seahawks) and Chris Hutchinson (#0), who each started about half of St. Mary's games last year.
Spencer will be looked to for shooting from the outside; Spencer nailed 37% of his outside shots (but was less accurate inside the arc at 36%). Hutchinson grabbed rebounds and contributed steals. Both scored just below a point per possession, and turned the ball over on over 20% of their possessions. Spencer can hit free throws (79.3% from the line), while Hutchinson struggled (61.5%).
The best returning passer on a per-minute basis is the 5'9" Kyle Wise (#15), a sophomore, who assisted on 20% of the team's made baskets while on the floor. He played in 25 games, but hardly shot, averaging less than a shot attempt per contest. His shooting percentages are poor (30% overall) and his turnover rate (30.1%) is high.
James Davenport (#1) was a solid outside shooter for the Seahawks, but wasn't mentioned in the preseason release, so he may no longer be with the team. Guard Deon Queen (#23), wing Brendan McFall (#42) were also effective in limited time for the Seahawks last year. Other newcomers include a pair of players who sat out last year in Brian Grashof and MacGyver Biniak (someone really loved the show that much?!), and freshmen Nick LaGuerre, Jerome Tolson, and Joe Cabrera.
What we hope to see
Despite the talent on the roster, St. Mary's is still a Division III team. St. John's should be able to run past them and score with some ease. Against a team with this kind of size, watching how the Red Storm defends the paint will be intriguing. The Seahawks size, however, seems young and slim. God'sGift and Moe Harkless may not find the test they should probably have before facing Division I front lines.
Still, seeing how the team works out its rebounding issues and scores against height in the half court offense will be a help to them. And seeing how the guards' second games are will also be of interest. Will D'Angelo Harrison find his shot and go off? Will Nurideen Lindsey continue to attack? Will Phil Greene be as deadly from the perimeter as he was against C.W. Post?