The 2013-2014 Hawks were led to a 24-10 record, Atlantic 10 Tournament championship and an NCAA Tournament berth by a veteran-heavy lineup.
The leading scorer on that successful SJU squad, Langston Galloway, has graduated and is now in training camp with the Knicks. Galloway finished up his four years on Hawk Hill having scored 1,991 points, good for second all-time, and making the most 3-pointers in school history with 343.
Down low, the Hawks lose a dynamic duo in Ronald Roberts, Jr. and Halil Kanacevic. Roberts, currently with the Philadelphia 76ers, was the Hawks' second leading scorer and rebounder in 2013-2014, and had the ability to make the crowd go wild with some of the most thunderous dunks in college basketball. Kanacevic, perhaps the most well-rounded member of the Hawks, has also moved on after graduating, leaving yet another big hole in the Hawks' lineup for the upcoming season.
Adding to the key losses through graduation is the loss of forward Papa Ndao for the season due to unspecified medical reasons. Ndao only averaged 2.5 points and 1.3 rebounds last season, but was certainly going to be a big part of the Hawks' 2014-2015 plans.
Without a veteran-heavy lineup, the Hawks will be forced to look to their youngsters in order to have success in the upcoming season.
Key Returning Players: G Chris Wilson (9.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.7 APG); F DeAndre' Bembry (12.1 PPG, 4.5RPG, 2.7APG)
Wilson and Bembry have been named captains for the upcoming season and will be the engine that drives the Hawks' success. The starting point guard on last season's squad, Wilson averaged a career-high 9.1 points and was the co-recipient of the Hawks' Most Improved Player award. Having started 99 games during his career on Hawk Hill, Wilson will be looked to for his experience and leadership on a young Hawks squad.
Bembry, the A-10 Co-Rookie of the Year and Big 5 Rookie of the Year last season, hit the ground running as a freshman. The 6-6 wing player showed a maturity beyond his years on the season, as he scored double-digit points in 25 of the Hawks' 34 games. The Hawks will look to Bembry, who was named to the Preseason A-10 All Conference First Team, to lead by example on the season, as the youngster with the best afro in college basketball will be relied upon heavily to carry the load for the Hawks.
In addition to Wilson and Bembry, the Hawks will look to big men Isaiah Miles and Javonn Baumann to increase their production this season, as they look to replace just some of the production lost to graduation.
Key Additions: G James Demery (Fr.)
Demery, a highly-touted recruit from a strong 2014 class out of North Carolina, has the ability to get to the rim and finish and is seen as somewhat of a pure scorer. It will likely be trial by fire for Demery, who could find himself starting from day one on an inexperienced Hawks squad.
Bottom Line: The Hawks will be hurting from the loss of three key players after last season and have been predicted to finish the season eighth in the Atlantic 10. The Hawks will look to Bembry and Wilson to carry the load this season, but plenty of minutes will be up for grabs, as Phil Martelli looks to develop his team for future seasons.
By: Kyle Babcock
Follow us on Twitter: @BroadStBeat