Wait, you mean we pulled off a minor miracle and found a person who runs a Marist blog? Well no, not exactly. You guys might remember John Templon, who ran the Chicago College Basketball and helped us out with our DePaul Q&A's over the last couple of years. John moved from Chicago to New York at the end of the season and started up Big Apple Buckets. While John doesn't cover Marist directly, he does know enough about the Red Foxes to help us out today. In this edition of Bulls Recon we talk about the Marist rebuilding project, local kid Jay Bowie, and the lack of size on the roster.
1. Obviously last year was a bit of a disappointment for the Red Foxes. Is there anything that the squad did in the offseason to show some sort of improvement this year?
Well, the season prior Marist won exactly one game, so taking six was at least an improvement. It's a very young team and still learning how to compete at the collegiate level. The program though is doing a good job making changes to be successful. At least the team continues to build with youth instead of going for a quick fix, but they're counting on some young guys to contribute immediately in order to avoid being in the MAAC cellar again.
2. The Red Foxes won't have the services of leading scorer Sam Prescott this year. Who will be the first to step up and replace his production from last year?
Yes, Prescott transferred at the end of the season to Mount St. Mary's. Redshirt sophomore Anell Alexis was the leading scorer in the Red & White scrimmage with 25 points. He was a pretty high usage guy last season and is a little bigger at 6'6", so he could make an impact. The guy I really expect to take on a bigger load this season is guard Devin Price. He averaged 7.2 PPG last season, but that'll definitely go up.
3. One bright spot was Tampa native Jay Bowie, who started all 33 games last year as a freshman and averaged 6.4 PTS/4.2 REB a game. What are people expecting from him this year?
I think people want to see a little more of everything as he expands into his role as a sophomore. If the transfer of Candon Rusin helps clear some more minutes, then Bowie has to take advantage of them and give the Red Foxes another scoring option on the wing. Last season he shot an impressive 37.9% from three, best on the team with at least 10 attempts, so maybe a few more of those are in order. (He only took 87.)
4. It does seem that Marist is lacking depth in the post this year. Are they going to try to run people to death and try to combat their lack of size that way?
Only two players on the roster are over 6'6" tall, so that's certainly a concern. One, Adam Kemp, was solid on the boards last season and will definitely see more minutes. But a roster this size isn't that uncommon in the MAAC. Iona is a title contender, and chic mid-major pick, and the Gaels don't have much size either. Marist doesn't have the athletes to run with elite teams, so my guess is the Red Foxes continue to slow things down, shoot a lot of threes and hope to get lucky one night.
5. Now that you've started to cover New York hoops, is there a difference between NYC and Chicago?
Well, first it's crazy how many teams there are in and around New York City. The media power poll that I'm running this season includes 23 teams from Yale to Marist to Rider. There are just a lot of Division I schools packed into a little space. Combine that with everything else there is to do in the city and even very good mid-majors, like Long Island, get ignored sometimes. Other than that, there's not too many differences. I grew up on the East Coast, so it's more familiar to me, but college basketball, especially city basketball, is pretty universal.
6. How do you see this one playing out?
It's hard for me to envision Marist hanging with South Florida for more than 20 minutes. If the threes are falling maybe the Red Foxes keep it close for a little longer, but eventually their youth and relative lack of talent will show against a Big East squad. These first few games though are learning experiences. Hopefully Marist can keep it close enough against Kentucky and USF to at least get some valuable tape to look at as they prepare for Vermont.
Thanks again to John for helping us out. If you ever need to read up on Long Island University or Hofstra, he is your guy.