When Stony Brook guard Ahmad Walker was dismissed from the men’s basketball team in September, it was clear that his presence on the court would be missed by the Seawolves.
The expected backcourt combination of Walker at shooting guard and senior Lucas Woodhouse at point guard was enticing for Stony Brook fans. Woodhouse’s ball-handling and playmaking complemented Walker’s athleticism and ability to drive to the basket. The guard duo could have kept Stony Brook relevant amid its rebuilding effort following the graduation of three-time America East Player of the Year Jameel Warney.
But in the wake of Walker’s arrest and team departure, questions were raised. Who would be the Seawolves’ two-guard? Would transfer U.C. Iroegbu be able to step up in the role? What about senior Kameron Mitchell?
While Friday night’s season opening loss against Columbia offered the first look at the team’s new offense, it didn’t offer any answers to the questions surrounding the backcourt.
Iroegbu made his Seawolves debut, starting at shooting guard for the Seawolves, but he struggled badly on offense. The junior took seven three-point attempts — many of which were open shots — but missed all of them. In transition, Iroegbu seemed out of control, and on defense, his 6-foot frame was too small to guard many of Columbia’s shooters.
Iroegbu passed well, totaling three assists and no turnovers, and his on court point differential of plus-13 was the best on Stony Brook. Overall, however, the transfer’s debut seemed to be a disappointment.
In 20 minutes played off the bench, Mitchell performed well for the Seawolves, scoring seven points on 3-for-3 shooting on offense. On defense, he drew a charge, a staple of his game, and seemed to play well on that end.
But Friday offered another possibility for Stony Brook at the shooting guard position. Both junior Roland Nyama and freshman Akwasi Yeboah looked sharp for the Seawolves, splitting minutes at small forward. The two combined for 27 points and, while Yeboah was a tad inefficient, both looked aggressive on offense.
If head coach Jeff Boals feels comfortable with one of the two at the two-guard, both could play at the same time and the team could roll out a starting lineup of Woodhouse, Nyama and Yeboah, with junior forwards Junior Saintel and Tyrell Sturdivant in the front court.
One source of apprehension for Boals may be that Nyama is not a traditional guard. He is 6-feet-6-inches, a bit large to cover the quick guards of conference foes Vermont and Albany, and is not experienced as a primary ball-handler.
But if Iroegbu’s struggles continue past one game and Nyama continues to play efficient basketball off the bench, it may be the best option that Boals has.