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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Building On Year’s Success Is Critical For Future Of SBU Hoops

When the final buzzer went off in Chase Arena on March 7, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team found themselves in a unfamiliar position for this season: They had lost.

However, just even a year ago, making it to the second round of the America East semifinals would have been a huge accomplishment. But after a season where the Seawolves broke just about every program record, this bittersweet finish and a trip to the NIT for winning the America East regular season title will have to do.

And while their worst to first Cinderella story will certainly draw great attention to the university from the national community over the next few months, that interest will be short term unless the team can repeat on their success, and improve as well.

The question remains: will the next generation of Stony Brook students look back at this season as New England Patriot fans do of 2001, when a perennially poor team finally adopted a new mindset and created as close to a dynasty? Or will they remember this team as akin to the 1979 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a glimpse of success by a program continually marred by losing?

For Coach Steve Pikiell and his staff, clearly the first option would be preferred, and much of that hope will rest on the shoulders of the players they are able to recruit, as well as the continued development of the roster.

Stony Brook’s most talented new recruit will likely be David Coley, a guard from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, New York. Ranked 140 in the nation amongst shooting guards by Scouts, Inc., a national high school and college evaluation group, the 6’2” Coley is described as a hard working player with tons of energy, attributes that Pikiell was sure to notice.

While it will certainly be difficult for Pikiell to replace senior guard Muhammad El-Amin, who was named America East Player of the Year by Sporting News, his talented sophomore trio will more than likely pick up the slack.

Brian Dougher, Dallis Joyner and Tommy Brenton all saw their roles increased this past year, and all stepped up to the occasion. All three improved their points per game total, with a similar increase to field goal percentage. Certainly more will be expected out of the them next year, as well as Chris Martin, Marcus Rouse and Danny Carter.

Along with El-Amin, F/C Andrew Goba and guard Eddie Castellanos will be graduating from the team this year. While the pair did not play as of important of a role as El-Amin did offensively, they both were active contributors to the defensive play that propelled the Seawolves to the levels of success they had.

However, perhaps the most interesting subtraction from the team will be F/C Desmond Adedeji. By far one of the largest players in the America East in stature alone, Adedeji was looked at as one of the keys to the team’s success going into the year, ideally used in a role where he’d be positioned under the basket as the ball moved through the perimeter. The plan was shelved quite quickly though, as Adedeji suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a December matchup with St. Johns.

Pikiell and his staff quickly adopted a new, more up-tempo game strategy, and the team responded, winning 15 of their next 20 games. Now, with a full summer to tweak strategies and work on ball movement and shooting accuracy, it’s quite possible next year’s Seawolves look even better.

For Pikiell, that level of teaching and development has been key, from the  first day he arrived at Stony Brook when the program was struggling to fix leaks in the roof, to now when they will celebrate last season with the school’s first championship banner. Only time will tell if that banner will be a stepping stone, or simply a footnote for what could have been.

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