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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Hope for the future

Hope+for+the+future

Men’s basketball looks forward to a fresh start in 2017-18 season

It was a year of pain, quite literally, for the men’s basketball team at Saint Joseph’s University.

On Oct. 6, just over a month before the start of the regular season, it was announced that sophomore Pierfrancesco Oliva would miss the entire season due to a knee surgery performed in late June after starting 30 games for the Hawks in his freshman campaign. He was one of two players to miss the entirety of the season for the Hawks. The other player was freshman Lorenzo Edwards.

On Nov. 12, St. Joe’s opened their season with a 77-76 win against Toledo University after unveiling their 2016 Atlantic 10 championship banner. Junior James Demery, the team’s leading returning scorer, dropped 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the victory. A few days later, it was announced that Demery had suffered a stress fracture in his left foot. He would miss the next 10 games and return on Dec. 30 in a game against George Washington University.

Demery’s return brought the Hawks more disappointing news. Junior Shavar Newkirk went down at the end of the first half with a non-contact injury. It was later announced that Newkirk had torn his ACL and would miss the remainder of the season.

Sophomore Lamarr Kimble suffered a fracture in his foot in early February, which required surgery and for him and missing the rest of the season.

The abundance of injuries this past season  seemed to affect each of the team’s top players. Many would argue they were a large reason for the team’s struggles throughout the season.

Prior to his injury, Newkirk was averaging 20.3 points per game, scoring 20 or more points in two-thirds of his games. Only 34 players in the nation averaged that many in this past season, including just three A-10 players. In addition to Demery’s 14 points and six  rebounds per game, next year’s senior class will be full of leadership and production.

Kimble, who scored at least 10 points in 20 of his 24 games and averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game, will pair with Newkirk for the best backcourt in the conference next year. This past season, he was just the third sophomore in program history to be named a captain.

The Hawks’ frontcourt will feature rising senior Jai Williams and rising juniors Oliva and Markell Lodge. Williams,  at 6’9”, was the Hawks’ tallest player this season, averaging 5.3 rebounds per 30 minutes and will most likely see a notable increase in playing time due to the loss of  senior Javon Baumann. Lodge, despite being the only player to start all 30 games, played just 17.9 minutes per game, and averaged 6.9 rebounds per 30 minutes as well as 1.5 blocks. Oliva averaged 6.6 rebounds per 30 minutes in his freshman season.

Sophomore Chris Clover broke out this season, averaging 9.9 points per game during conference play after averaging just 0.5 points per game throughout all of his freshman year. Freshman Charlie Brown also provided the Hawks with a new source of production, averaging 12.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He was named to the A-10 All-Rookie team.

Freshman Nick Robinson played 23.3 minutes per game this year, averaging 5.4 points and 3.9 rebounds. He improved over the course of the season and should continue to do so into next season.

In the 2017-18 season, the Hawks will be joined by Edwards as well as incoming freshmen Taylor Funk and Anthony Longpre. ESPN.com ranks Funk, a three-star recruit, as the seventh best player in his class from Pennsylvania. At 6’8”, Funk’s three-point shooting ability should be a major addition to the St. Joe’s team. Longpre’s frame will add some size on the inside for the Hawks as well.

There’s a lot to look forward to in the upcoming season for St. Joe’s basketball, and if the alternating pattern of successful seasons continues, the Hawks are due for a fairly except season in 2018.

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