Got this Recon on the site in just the nick of time. On paper, tonight’s game doesn’t seem to hold a lot of intrigue. UD is in the midst of a death spiral, and St. Joe’s is doing all it can to ruin a season that was laid out nice and neat for them. Yet, there is plenty of intrigue if you are a Flyer fan.
Three questions will be answered:
- What kind of crowd does UD get tonight? I’d assume smaller than usual, but still enough to make some noise. What kind of reception will this team receive? Have we already entered the BG Zone? Will the Sweaters booing our Flyers if they fail to show up tonight?
- What can of coach do we have? Can Archie get his guys, especially his seniors, up for a game that holds little importance in terms of the direction of the season?
- Speaking of seniors, what does Kid Yuma decide regarding playing time? Will he continue to grant most of the court time to the usual suspects, or does he break in Robinson, Derenbecker and Scott as the season comes to its dismal conclusion?
I’d imagine Saint Joseph’s fans are asking some questions about their coach as well. Phil Martelli had all the pieces to make this a special year for the Hawks, and it appears that he will far way short of what was promised this season. Blame Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens if you must.
It could always be worse; we could be St. Joseph’s fans. The Hawks entered the season with quite a bit of hype and anticipation. Picked to finish first in the league coming into the year, St. Joe’s has faltered — entering tonight’s game with a puzzling 13-7 record. Coming into the year, anything less than an NCAA berth would be thought of as a failure. As of this writing, Martelli’s club has a lot of catching up to do.
After a solid win over Notre Dame early in the campaign, St. Joe’s failed to pick up another decent non-conference win, losing to Florida State, Creighton and Villanova in succession. SJU has already racked up three losses in conference play — VCU, Butler (what does it say about the strength of the league that the Rams and Bulldogs were able to come in and basically steamroll the rest of the league? Does is say more about where their programs, or the rest of the teams in the conference?) and even Saint Bonnie have had their way with the Hawks.
However, the Hawks have reeled off three wins in a row (Overlords, Fordham and city rival Temple) and have momentum on their side. The question is, is it too late? (Yes, probably.)
As usual, Phil Martelli is working with a team that lacks depth. The Hawks basically go no deeper than 7-8, the roster features six players that average thirty minutes or more. Foul trouble is something SJU can simply not afford. On the plus side, all five of the team’s starters from last year are back, making it one of the most experienced lineups in college basketball.
Meet and Greet
The Hawks are led by their lone senior, guard Carl Jones. He led the squad in scoring last year, at just over seventeen per game, and is Martelli’s top dog again, scoring fifteen points per contest entering the UD game. Jones is joined in the backcourt with 6’2” junior Langston Galloway. Galloway (13.9 ppg) is the team’s seconding leader scorer and most dangerous weapon from the perimeter.
After briefly flirting with the idea of entering the draft, CJ Aiken returns for his junior year with St. Joe’s. The 6’9” big game is once again one of the nation’s best shot-blockers, swatting three shots per ballgame. Aiken scores around twelve a game and hits an impressive 80% from the stripe. Remember Ron Roberts? Me too. Roberts, a 6’8” forward, is a freakish athlete, one of the league’s best dunkers, if that does anything for you. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is a double-double waiting to happen – averaging around 12 points and 9 rebounds per game.
Halil Kanacevic (9.0 ppg, 7 rpg) is the guy you love to hate. Whether it’s flashing obscene gestures or giving someone the business, Kanacevic has a tendency to get under his opponent’s skin. He is from Staten Island, which is just about the most logical place I can think of. Regardless, Kanacevic is a better athlete than he appears and actually has a solid all-around game. He is the white Ron Artest, in more ways than one.
Chris Wilson and Daryus Quarles highlight the Hawks’ ultra-thin bench. Wilson, a much-hyped sophomore, plays over thirty minutes a game and leads SJU in assists, and scores around eight points as well. Quarles provides steady minutes of the bench and camps out around the three-point line.
“If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.”
This game will be a great indicator of where this team’s collective head is at. St. Joe’s has the advantage at every starting position, that’s not a good thing. SJU is streaking, on a three-game run, and UD is reeling, embarrassing itself at every turn. The Hawks win, 75-67.
Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.