St. Francis (NY) Terriers: 15-15 (12-6 NEC), Lost 1st round in NEC Tournament to Quinnipiac, 80-72
G/F Stefan Perunicic – 11.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 42.4% 3PT%
G Justin Newton – 1.6 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3.4 APG
Anthony White (SG, 6’2″, Mastic Beach, NY)
Aleksandar Isailovic (SG, 6’4″, Plano, TX — JC)
Sheldon Hagigal (PG, 6’1″, Long Island, NY)
St. Francis was the biggest surprise in the NEC last season and even managed to earn a home game for the first round against Quinnipiac. The team grew up, even while dealing with a season-ending injury to starting point guard Dre Calloway, and merging a bunch of new pieces into the lineup. Perunicic and Newton were two players that provided the glue for a young team.
Perunicic finished the season as St. Francis’ second leading scorer, just two tenths of a point behind Ben Mockford. It was Perunicic’s three-point shooting that helped to break open defenses that could sag into the middle if he and Travis Nichols weren’t hitting shots. It seems like Aleksandar Isailovic, who comes from Serbia by way of Collin County Community College, can be expected to take over some of the long-distance shooting role. Last season in junior college Isailovic attempted 185 total field goal attempts – 164 of those were threes. That’s an insane 88.6% 3PA/FGA rate.
Isailovic only shot 33% from three (61/185) last season, but then again, everyone knew exactly what he was going to do. He’ll probably need to diversify his game a little bit, but much like the player he’s going to replace, his size should help him to contribute immediately to the Terriers’ rotation. It’s worth noting that Isailovic also had a positive assist to turnover ratio and grabbed 1.8 rebounds per game last season. He’s also an excellent (80%+) free throw shooter.
The other two guards are younger, local and probably going to need some time to develop. After Calloway red shirted last season due to his injury, the Terriers are loaded in the backcourt. Brent Jones learned on the job last season and the redshirt sophomore is going to be a key piece in St. Francis’ attack again. Both Calloway and Jones were once in White and Hagigal’s place and the two freshman should learn a lot from the veterans. One thing thing working in either White or Hagigal’s favor in terms of playing time is that Newtown was St. Francis’ defensive stopper last season. Both players are praised for their college ready physique in the backcourt and they’ll get the chance to prove it on the defensive end this season.
White is a 6’3″ combo guard from Long Island. He had a strong senior season at William Floyd High School. He scored a career-high 34 points to take the Colonials to the top of Suffolk League I. It was the first time in five years that Williams Floyd had won the league title. White’s inside-outside combination will make him a threat from around the court. He’ll need to develop his point guard skills at the next level.
Hagigal is more of a wild card. Originally also from Long Island he went to West Oaks Academy in Florida in 2011-12 and played a big role for a team that boasted a lot of talent. He had a few Division I offers but decided to come back to New York. Hagigal isn’t currently on St. Francis’ roster for the 2012-13 season. My guess is that’s just because he either hasn’t enrolled in school or the NCAA clearing house hasn’t finished looking through his transcripts. Once he’s eligible he should be able to help out the Terriers’ deep guard rotation next season in some way.
Glenn Braica is facing a tough challenge this season. He needs to convince his team now that they can’t sneak up anyone and continue the success the squad found during league play. These three new guards should keep practices competitive and give the Terriers some new weapons. Now it’s time to find some big men, as Travis Nichols and Akeem Johnson are both going into their senior seasons in Brooklyn Heights.