After losing the team’s leading scorer and starting point guard, Lucas Woodhouse, Stony Brook Men’s Basketball will primarily look to two new point guards to replace him.
Junior transfer Jaron Cornish and freshman Jordan McKenzie will compete for the majority of minutes at the point guard position, according to Stony Brook Athletics. But head coach Jeff Boals has yet to determine who will start at point guard during the regular season.
“I love the incoming group we have,” Boals said. “It was a big adjustment for them with weights, classes, pick-up games, and individual workouts. They’ve come in with great work ethic and have really competed since day one.”
Cornish spent the past two seasons at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but is currently dealing with a knee injury that will keep him on the sidelines at the start of the season, according to Stony Brook Athletics. He averaged 18.7 points and 4.5 assists per game at Broward, leading the team in points, three-pointers and minutes played last season to help him earn first-team All-Southern Conference honors. As the most experienced point guard on the roster, he is expected to take on heavy minutes when he returns to full health.
“Coming from where he comes from, in the Bahamas, this is a dream for him,” Broward College men’s basketball head coach Robert Starkman said. “He’s tough, he’s an unbelievable teammate, very coachable and you get the whole package with him.”
He scored 37 points and distributed eight assists in the Southern Conference Tournament Championship win over Palm Beach State College this past February.
“Jaron brings an athletic element to the team,” Boals said. “He comes from junior college, where he scored the ball well and shot the ball well. He’s a really quick, athletic player that can cause havoc defensively.”
With Cornish still considered day-to-day with a knee injury to begin the regular season, more opportunities arise for other guards to prove themselves with more playing time.
McKenzie, from Jay M. Robinson High School in Concord, North Carolina, is a state champion who has more experience than the average freshman after spending one year at post-graduate school at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia.
“He’s not your typical freshman,” Boals said. “Jordan won a state championship his senior year of high school and was an excellent point guard at [Hargrave Military Academy].”
McKenzie earned the start at point guard in the team’s first regular season match-up against Maryland on Nov. 11. McKenzie dished out a team-high three assists along with six points on 42 percent shooting in the team’s 76-61 loss.
“Jordan does a great job elevating the play of those around him,” Hargrave Military Academy head coach A.W. Hamilton said in a press release. “He’s a coach’s dream in the way he conducts himself in all phases of life.”
Along with the new additions, Stony Brook also has another player with point guard experience in sophomore Michael Almonacy. Despite backing up Woodhouse last year, he was expected to see more time at shooting guard in addition to being an extra ball handler. He is going to be used more as a ball handler when McKenzie is not on the floor until Cornish returns, according to Stony Brook Athletics.
Almonacy averaged 2.3 points per game and 1.1 assists while backing up Woodhouse at the point guard position last season. He started in the second half and scored 14 points along with two assists and a steal in the team’s exhibition win over the College of Staten Island.
Cornish, McKenzie and Almonacy can each help Stony Brook at the point guard position in different ways. Boals has plenty of options to work with in replacing Woodhouse at point guard this season.