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.
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.
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."
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
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