Note: “Inside the Numbers” will be a column dedicated to highlighting interesting stats and numbers from the 2014-2015 Manhattan College men’s basketball team.
You do not have to be a math major to like numbers. In fact, all you have to be is a sports fan.
In an age where fantasy sports, saber metrics and day-to-day stats are prevalent in the sports world, there is no denying that numbers in relation to sports are unavoidable.
With that in mind, here are a few numbers relevant to the Manhattan College men’s basketball team.
When the season kicks off on Nov. 15, the Jaspers will begin their quest for their second back-to-back NCAA Tournament bid in school history. The Jaspers reached the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons in 2003 and 2004 and after making it in 2014, they will be looking to get there again in 2015.
“I’m really excited about this year for Manhattan basketball,” head coach Steve Masiello said in a conference call following the 2014 MAAC Preseason Show. “We have a chance to obviously defend the MAAC Championship and go to the NCAA. We want to keep that momentum going and try to build on that.”
However, it will not be easy for the Jaspers, who will have to adjust to life without arguably the greatest senior class in the school’s history in Michael Alvarado, George Beamon and Rhamel Brown.
Three is the both the ranking the Jaspers were given in the MAAC preseason coaches’ poll and the number of seniors on this season’s team.
The conference’s 11 head coaches voted on their top 11 teams for the MAAC preseason rankings and Manhattan came in third with a total of 97 points. In front of the Jaspers were the Siena Saints in second place with 107 points and the Iona Gaels in first place with 112 points.
Emmy Andujar, Donovan Kates and RaShawn Stores highlight the 2015 senior class for the Jaspers. The starting lineups have yet to be set, and Masiello is known for juggling lineups, but all signs point that Stores and Andujar will start for Manhattan and Kates will come off the bench.
However, whether as starters or bench players, Andujar, Kates and Stores will undoubtedly be counted on as upperclassmen to be leaders on the team.
They were Masiello’s first recruits when he joined Manhattan in 2011 and for that, Masiello will always be grateful.
“This senior class is a different class,” Masiello said about Andujar, Kates and Stores during the conference call. “It’s kind of the class that’s responsible for coming in and getting this program to where it is today.”
Five is the number of newcomers on the team. The Jaspers will count on four freshman in Samson Akilo, Calvin Crawford, Samson Usilo and Zane Waterman. Also new to the team, is Jermaine Lawrence, who is a sophomore transfer from the Cincinnati Bearcats.
The five new additions might dwindle to four however, as Samson Usilo picked up a serious quad injury that might sideline him for the rest of the season.
In Crawford and Waterman, Manhattan gets two players who can play either forward position and can stretch the floor. During the exhibition game against LIU Post on Nov. 8, Waterman showed glimpses of his shooting ability, connecting on two three pointers from the top of the key.
In Akilo and Lawrence, Manhattan gets added depth to its front line that will no longer feature Rhamel Brown.
But Lawrence might mean more to the Jaspers than just added depth. Against LIU Post, the 6-foot-10 forward drained 3 of his 4 three-point attempts and finished the night with 15 points in only 18 minutes.
Lawrence was a five star recruit when he joined Cincinnati last season. However, injuries plagued him throughout his freshman year and Lawrence played in only 26 games posting 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Now, with a new beginning ahead of him, and coming to a team in which he will not be counted on to be a star, Lawrence might just surprise some people and prove his five star recruit tag.
Six is the number of consecutive road games Manhattan will start its season with. The Jaspers will face Florida State, Massachusetts, Binghamton, Navy or Northeastern, George Mason and Fairfield before finally playing their first home game on Dec. 7.
Five of the first six games are against non-conference opponents.
The first two games of the season will be a huge test for Manhattan. Against Florida State, the Jaspers will have to confront a team that made it to the 2014 NIT Semifinals. In Massachusetts, the Jaspers will see a team that reached the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
Nine Jaspers return to the team from last season. Andujar, Kates and Stores are joined by Carlton Allen, Trevor Glassman, Ashton Pankey, Shane Richards, Rich Williams and Tyler Wilson as returning members.
Team depth will be a key strength for the Jaspers this season, who will need the team as a whole to make up for the scoring prowess of Alvarado, Beamon and Brown. The trio scored a combined 48 percent of the team’s total points last season and Manhattan will have to look for several players to replace those scoring numbers.
One of those guys Manhattan can count on is Pankey. Against LIU Post, Pankey had 17 points and nine rebounds. With the loss of Brown, Pankey is poised for a big season. He will get more looks in the post and will be counted on as a rim protector.
With 142 career three pointers made, Shane Richards is 23 threes away from tying Manhattan’s all-time record of 165 held by Devon Austin.
It is likely that Richards, who has averages 2.2 threes made per game in his career, will break the record by the end of December. At his current pace, when it is all said and done for Richards’ career at Manhattan College, he will have shattered the three-point record.
Emmy Andujar is 178 points away from 1,000 points in his collegiate career. The senior posted a career high in total points last season with 285 so it is safe to say that barring injury, he will surpass the 1,000-career point mark by sometime in the midway point of the season.
Andujar will see the ball in his hands a bit more this season, as Masiello has hinted that Andujar will play a point-forward role for the team. Against LIU Post, Andujar started at point guard. He registered 12 points and nine rebounds, but had six turnovers. He will have to limit his turnovers if he will play point guard for the Jaspers.
“I’m just trying to be more aggressive,” Andujar said about his role on the team this season. “Obviously, I had six turnovers, so that’s something I’ve got to fix.”