Welcome to our new weekly basketball column, where four points about the previous week of Stony Brook men’s and women’s basketball action will be examined and analyzed. This column will help inform fans who missed a game or who are looking for a different perspective of things besides a regular game story. With that being said, let’s get to the four points from this past week.
Point #1: The SBU men’s basketball team is still getting quality rebounding.
Despite the loss of Eric McAlister and the allocation of only role player minutes for seven-foot freshman Jakub Petras, Stony Brook has out-rebounded all four of its opponents this season. The Seawolves rank 29th in the country in defensive rebounding rate and 75th in offensive rebounding rate, as per Kenpom. This is mostly in thanks to junior Jameel Warney, who has been an absolute monster on the boards. Warney is averaging 13.3 rebounds a game and is collecting 36.8 percent of available defensive boards, the latter being good for eighth in the country, according to Kenpom. Junior Rayshaun McGrew has done a solid job filling in for McAlister on the glass, grabbing 6.8 rebounds a night. For all the new faces on the squad, having one facet of previous teams’ successes remain unscathed through this transition is a positive sign moving forward.
Point #2: The younger players on the men’s basketball team need time to develop.
No surprise here. Throw freshmen and second-year guys into a schedule like this, and expecting impeccable results is cause for disappointment. But head coach Steve Pikiell does not have any other choice. While Warney, McGrew and Carson Puriefoy have been playing well, the rest of the roster is going to need to improve as the season progresses. Roland L’Amour Nyama and Kameron Mitchell have gotten better with each game after rough starts to the season. Still, Nyama is too jumpy on defense and his three-point shot has not fallen yet. Mitchell has looked increasingly more comfortable defensively, but is limited offensively beyond shooting the wide-open three. Petras is still very raw, but can provide spot minutes of terrifying interior defense. Tyrell Sturdivant is a bit more polished, but we have yet to see him play extended minutes against a tough opponent. Freshmen Deshaun Thrower and Bryan Sekunda have been the most impressive of the bunch. Thrower is an Energizer Bunny offensively and Sekunda is as reliable a 3-and-D wing as one could expect a first-year player to be. It is a long season, giving these younger players lots of time to improve prior to the postseason. How they look come March will likely dictate how far Stony Brook advances.
Point #3: Sabre Proctor can hang with anybody in college hoops.
No, Stony Brook has never made it all the way to the NCAA Tournament, let alone taken a conference title back to Long Island. No, they do not have the recruiting power that a major conference’s school does, but they sure have gotten one thing right: bringing junior forward Sabre Proctor to Stony Brook, and the reasons why have been evident in the first few games of the season. The defending Patriot League Champions, the Army Black Knights, had nothing to protect themselves with against the onslaught that Proctor brought to the table. While playing all but two minutes of the game, the second-year Long Islander did everything but lead her team to victory, scoring 25 points, grabbing seven rebounds, swatting three shots away and dishing two assists. That effort kept Stony Brook in the thick of things, giving the Seawolves a five-point halftime lead over a very tough Army team. What was her backup to that performance? Scoring 17 second-half points against Columbia to drag the Seawolves away from the clawing Lions in the second half of that game. Keep in mind that many non conference games will be tougher than what Stony Brook faces later on in the year in the America East and will prepare Proctor well to put forth a similar effort against the favored conference pick: the Albany Great Danes.
Point #4: The SBU women’s basketball team is getting contributions from up and down the lineup.
“To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.” Mike Krzyzewski, head men’s basketball coach at Duke, where the Seawolves travel for a Friday battle in North Carolina, said, epitomizing what has led to Stony Brook looking good early on this season. Yes, Proctor has scored the basketball quite a bit, but the team effort has been tremendous. When she could not get touches in open space in the first half against Columbia, it was redshirt junior Miranda Jenkins, coming off of a knee injury, who stepped up with 10 big first half points to keep Stony Brook in touch. Sophomore Kori Bayne-Walker has filled the starting point guard role vacated by Chikilra Goodman tremendously, driving to the hoop as she has showed she could while sprinkling some distance shooting in as well. Increased minutes for the likes of junior Kim Hanlon and sophomore Kristie Costantino have proven well-deserved, as both have played tough basketball on the defensive end of the floor early on in the season. Both are getting more involved offensively than they have in the past as well, with a specific play called for Hanlon multiple times against Columbia. The more people involved, the more success to come for the Seawolves.
Andrew Eichenholz contributed the last two points to this story