Atlantic 10 Conference Record: 11-5
Graduating Seniors: Langston Galloway (17.7 ppg), Halil Kanacevic (10.8 ppg), Ronald Roberts (14.4 ppg), Daryus Quarles (2.4 ppg)
Returning Impact Players: Chris Wilson (9.1 ppg), DeAndre Bembry (12.1 ppg)
But that was exactly what the Hawks did, as they won 9 of their next 10 games, with the only loss coming against a ranked UMass team, but followed that up with a tough loss to Richmond. After winning two of their next three matchups, the Hawks then won six straight, before finishing the regular season with two losses to George Washington and LaSalle.
At this point, the Hawks were on the NCAA Tournament bubble, needing to secure a win versus an eventual Elite Eight team, the Dayton Flyers. Galloway and the Hawks won a close game against the Flyers, and then kept up the momentum en route to an Atlantic 10 Championship and an NCAA Tournament bid.
The Hawks drew a #10 seed in the East bracket, and a matchup against the UConn Huskies. Although they were up for most of the matchup, UConn was able to tie the game in regulation, before defeating the Hawks in overtime. While it was tough to lose in such a manner, it was great to see the Hawks, especially the seniors, get their chance to enjoy the national spotlight for a bit, as people across the country finally got to see what made these men such great players.
It won't be easy for the Hawks to repeat as A-10 champions next season, as they lose four gifted seniors in Galloway, Kanacevic, Roberts, and Quarles. Galloway and Kanacevic both were selected to the All Big Five first team, and Roberts was selected to the All Big Five second team. Most of the offense went through these guys, so the Hawks will have to be creative and find new ways to get the ball in the bucket next season.
However, the Hawks will have Atlantic-10 Co Rookie of the Year, DeAndre Bembry, as one of their centerpieces on the offensive end, as well as rising senior point guard Chris Wilson, who has plenty of experience running the point and averaged nearly 10 ppg. The Hawks also have rotational pieces, such as rising junior Isaiah Miles and rising senior Papa Ndao, who saw an increase in playing time this past season.
Saint Joseph's also has a pretty solid recruiting class coming in next year, starting with highly touted small forward James Demery, who ESPN ranks as the 33rd best small forward in the high school class of 2014. The Hawks can also expect big things from Bronx native, point guard Shavar Newkirk and power forwards Obi Romeo and Markell Lodge. These four all have the capability of playing right away next season and can form quite an intimidating lineup by the time they become seniors.
While the Hawks will certainly miss the leadership and abilities this year's senior class brought, there is still hope with the incoming freshman class that there is no reason to expect a big rebuild of any kind.
By: Dan Goggin
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