Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Almost time!

I turned down a lot of scholarship opportunities to be here at St. Joe's," he said. "I knew that I wanted to be at Saint Joseph's, and I've known that my whole life. I love everything that St. Joe's is about and what it stands for, and I knew that it was where I wanted to play."
Mike Auriemma's, SJU '12

Dear Thomas,

The countdown to the home opener and the inaugural game in Hagan Arena is fast approaching. The season tickets have been mailed, but if you have not received them by Wednesday, November 11, please let us know by calling the Ticket Office at 610-660-1712.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. tipoff on Friday.
Go Hawks!

CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
The Hawks' Garrett Williamson (right) practices with Mike Auriemma.
Williamson is being counted on to score more.

St. Joe's to start with new digs, faces Philadelphia Inquirer

By Ray Parrillo
Inquirer Staff Writer

So much is new and refurbished on Hawk Hill as St. Joseph's prepares to open its 15th season under coach Phil Martelli on Friday against Drexel.

The old Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, with all its quirky charm, has been expanded, renovated and spit-shined and is now the Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena, housed within the Ramsay Basketball Center.

Martelli's players no longer have to duck to enter what had to be the smallest and most cluttered office of any Division I basketball coach. They have a new locker room in which they can dress without the steam from the showers turning their clothes into wet dishrags. They have a video room, a lounge, and an academic study room.

"I felt like Toto," Martelli said yesterday, describing his thoughts when he first looked down on the court while standing on the new concourse. "We're not in Kansas anymore. It used to be: Where can we fit 12 chairs? I hope at the end of the day, the memories that are created are as great as the surroundings in which they're going to be created."

Garrett Williamson, a senior and team captain, offered an ear-to-ear smile when asked if he missed the cramped old locker room.

"No way. Not at all," he said, looking around at the new digs. "This is nice. Real nice. Now we have a responsibility. A lot of people put a lot of money and effort into this, and we have to respect that and perform."

The new look at 54th Street and City Avenue includes a roster with plenty of new faces and inexperience. This is where the hard part begins for the Hawks. In the last nine seasons, St. Joe's has been to four NCAA tournaments and three NITs and averaged 22 wins. In three of the last six seasons, the Hawks advanced to the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament title game. They had become used to contending in the league.

This season, they have been picked by A-10 coaches to finish 10th in the conference.
"We have no player on a [preseason] all-league team," Martelli said. "There's no player on an all-rookie team. So you can't be higher than 10th. . . . But that's all right. It is what it should be for right now."

The Hawks have no replacement for Ahmad Nivins, the A-10 player of the year last season. They also lost their second-leading scorer, Tasheed Carr. They have one returning player who averaged double figures in scoring - senior guard Darrin Govens at 12.5 points a game. They have two seniors - Williamson and Govens - and a third returning starter, 6-foot-7 junior Idris Hilliard, remaining from a team that finished 17-15. Last season's Hawks started quickly, then faded as a lack of depth, as well as a lack of a home floor on campus, took their toll.

The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team's non-conference schedule offers games with varying degrees of difficulty. On paper, St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli believes it's not that easy to determine what the toughest matchup will prove to be."If I was to identify one thing that would give us a chance in each of our non-conference games," he said. "It would be how well we manage emotions."The non-conference schedule begins with the opening of the new Michael J. Hagan, '85, Arena against Drexel on Nov. 13. On New Year's Eve 2008, the Hawks dropped a tough 64-52 game against the Dragons, giving Martelli an early idea of what Drexel will bring to the table." With Drexel, since [head coach and St. Joe's alum] Bruiser Flint has been there so long, we know what to expect: a great, gritty defensive effort, and we have to match that," Martelli said. Following Drexel is another opponent on Nov. 17 in Holy Cross has given the Hawks fits the last few seasons. The Hawks have lost the last two meetings, but with new coach Sean Kearney, Martelli knows he cannot rely on game footage from the last two meetings alone.

Hilliard primed for big year - Basketball Preview

Coming off a season in which he started all but one game, Idris Hilliard, '11, is poised to have a breakout year. The only returning big man to see significant playing time on last year's squad, Hilliard is ready to hit the ground running heading into the 2009-2010 season.The team's Most Improved Player of last year has his eyes set on one main goal. "Win more games. Ultimately that's the goal," he said. "I want to get better every time out to give us a chance to win. That will make us more entertaining to watch but ultimately we want to win more games." Averaging 9.2 points per game last year was no easy task, but the presence of Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Ahmad Nivins, '09, to attract double-teams in the frontcourt gave Hilliard openings to exploit. He knows he has to build upon last year heading into the upcoming season. "I have to improve more because of the loss of Ahmad and Tasheed [Carr, '09]," he said. "I'm just trying to build upon last year by putting work in. I've worked hard this year and I'm hoping it shows."With the loss of Nivins, Hilliard knows that he is partially responsible for filling the sizable void left.

Hawks enter season with questions to answer, holes to fill - Basketball Preview

Questions abound as the 2009-'10 college basketball season approaches for Saint Joseph's. Entering this season, the Hawks have a number of uncertainties they must address, but the coaches believe they have a highly-skilled team that is capable of being competitive in the Atlantic 10. In the preseason poll of coaches and media, the Hawks were chosen to finish 10th in the 14-team conference. St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli has never put much stock into preseason polls before, but is using it as a motivating factor for this year's team. "I will use it as a reminder to the players if we get off track," said Martelli, who is entering his 14th season in charge on Hawk Hill. While the prediction is by no means flattering, it is fair based on what the Hawks lost from last year's team. The big question many are asking is how St. Joe's will replace the output of 6-foot-9 center Ahmad Nivins, '09, who was chosen 56th overall in the NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks. Martelli's answer is simple and succinct."You don't replace him," he said. "We do not have a single player that can get us what Ahmad did. We need to find each individual to do all those things."

If you ask the experts about this year's Saint Joseph's men's basketball team, they'll cast a fairly bleak picture of what play in the Atlantic 10 will look like. The conference's annual preseason poll of coaches and media members has the Hawks picked to finish 10th in the 14-team league, a prediction that head basketball coach Phil Martelli believes to be accurate at this juncture."I think it's certainly fair based on just zeroing in on us," said Martelli. "We lose a Player of the Year [Ahmad Nivins, '09], and certainly a guy who was in the top half in his position in Tasheed [Carr, '09]. I think you base it on scoring and say 'where are the points going to come?'"As for the rest of the conference, Martelli and the pundits are expecting a changing of the guard this year, with some of the traditional powers making way for a handful of teams like Richmond and La Salle that have languished in the middle of the pack for the last several years.
At Saint Joseph's men's basketball games, there's no question that head coach Phil Martelli is the man in charge. Attend a practice, however, and you may not be so sure sometimes. The four assistant coaches for the men's basketball team-Mark Bass, David Duda, Geoff Arnold, and Rob Sullivan-play a huge role in almost every aspect of the team, from the logistics of getting them where they need to go, to polishing the product that will hit the floor on gameday.Bass is Martelli's senior staffer, entering his 11th season on the Hawks' bench after a distinguished playing career on the hardwood. A 1996 graduate, Bass left school as the all-time single-season leader in three-pointers made (91) and attempted (293) for the 1995-96 season. His 225 makes from deep rank him third in school history, and he's the school's all-time leader in single-season free throw percentage (86.9). He was a two-time team captain, and helped lead St. Joe's to the NIT Finals as a senior. His efforts earned him a spot in the Saint Joseph's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

Mike Auriemma's, '12, sneakers haven't hit the hardwood much during games in his Hawk Hill career, but it's done nothing to diminish his passion for the game. As a walk-on, Auriemma's first year as a Hawk was a learning experience that involved little in the way of playing time. He logged only eight minutes on the court last season in five games without attempting a shot, but did manage two assists."Last year was a little different for me coming from high school," he said. "I was always used to playing a lot in high school. It was definitely a culture change, but I knew I wasn't going to play a lot when I came to St. Joe's. I wanted to get a feel for the college game, and I learned a lot from the other guys on the team."Auriemma arrived on Hawk Hill last year eager to play for a team that was coached by a long-time family friend: St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli. Auriemma's father, UConn's Hall of Fame women's basketball head coach Geno, spent two seasons as an assistant coach at St. Joe's in the late 1970s, and also coached with Martelli at Bishop Kenrick High School in Norristown, Pa. Auriemma had offers for more prominent roles at lower division schools, but was attracted by the chance to be a part of the history and pageantry of the St. Joe's program." I turned down a lot of scholarship opportunities to be here at St. Joe's," he said. "I knew that I wanted to be at Saint Joseph's, and I've known that my whole life. I love everything that St. Joe's is about and what it stands for, and I knew that it was where I wanted to play."

O'Brien tired of sitting on sidelines - Basketball Preview

If St. Joe's opponents were looking for a break in the paint after the graduation of Ahmad Nivins, '09, they should reconsider. At 6-foot-11, 248 pounds, new center Todd O'Brien, '12, presents an equally imposing roadblock for guards driving to the basket. A transfer student from Bucknell University where he averaged 4.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game, O'Brien sat out last season per NCAA rules. The experience proved annoying but educational for the starting center."It was frustrating, especially when we were struggling," he said. "I would be watching and I would see Ahmad get up to like 40 minutes a game. But honestly, I'm glad I got to do it. It was a good experience." In an effort to prepare O'Brien for the experience of redshirting last year, head coach Phil Martelli had him talk with former guard Tasheed Carr, '09, who was subject to the same process upon transferring from Iowa State. Carr gave the advice O'Brien had already been expecting, and helped him stay motivated to cope with the inability to win games. But O'Brien wasn't asleep on the sidelines. He was able to learn from studying Nivins' game, and developed as a player by squaring off against the former center in scrimmages and pick-up games that O'Brien treated as the real deal.
Chris Prescott, '12, and Charoy Bentley, '11, are expected to make significant contributions to the Saint Joseph's men's basketball backcourt this season. Both regularly came off the bench last year, but will be counted on for more minutes and points this season. These backcourt back-ups are poised to take a big step up this season.Prescott averaged 12.6 minutes per game and appeared in all 32 games during his first year with the Hawks. He scored a season-high nine points on two occasions-both in Atlantic 10 play against Charlotte and Duquesne-and averaged 2.8 points per game on the season. He came to St. Joe's as a highly-touted prospect, averaging 22 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game as a senior at Northwest Catholic in Connecticut.

Great job on the season ticket stock!

Overtime with Brienne Ryan
Brienne Ryan, '10, holds arguably the most special position on Hawk Hill, and possibly in all of college basketball: she is the woman in the Hawk costume. The marketing major from Blue Bell, Pa., Ryan has served as a team manager and student worker for the basketball team for three years before becoming the 32nd student-and only the second woman-to don the beak and feathers. Full Story

A "terrific basketball schedule" awaits Hawks
Another year means strides from Temi
Auriemma ready to contribute
Baptiste newest big man on campus
Bentley, Prescott vying for playing time in backcourt
Editor's Note
Freshmen forwards take different paths to Hawk Hill
Gillespie ready to make final season best one yet
Hawk Hill welcomes highly-touted pair of Jones, Crosgile
Hawks undeterred in spite of low expectations
Hilliard primed for big year
Increased role just fine with Baker
Injured Bryant eager to recover, live up to captaincy
Leadership and athleticism temper Hawks' lack of size
Logue poised to lead by example
Major conference foes lined up for St. Joe's
Men and women for others
Men and women for others
New season, new roles for Kuester and Cavallo
Newest scholarship player ready to lead
No worries for Gov in role of senior leader
O'Brien tired of sitting on sidelines
Prim and Smith fighting for right to start
Road warrior hawks face tough slate away from home
Senior hoping to Ford river of health
Sophs to star in frontcourt
Speedster Djouara back to build on debut season
The man behind the Arena
Williamson must get offensive this season
Men's team enters season with questions to answer, holes to fill

1 comment:

  1. but why do we keep losing to drexel and lasalle and holy cross?