For the second straight season, America East men’s basketball coaches picked Binghamton University to finish last in the conference, the league announced at its basketball media day in Albany on Tuesday. The University of Vermont was tabbed at No. 1, and Stony Brook University, Boston University and event host University at Albany rounded out the poll’s top four.
With Binghamton junior Rob Mansell redshirting and Ben Dickinson, Chris Longoria and Omar Richards all transferring at the end of last season, first-year head coach Tommy Dempsey inherited a depleted roster lacking in offensive firepower. Add last year’s 2-29 record to the mix, and the Bearcats’ preseason rank should come as no surprise.
But while Pipe Dream’s basketball preview issue on Nov. 9 will cover more on Binghamton, here is a brief look at the other America East teams, ordered by their preseason ranking.
The University of Vermont
Coming off another NCAA tournament appearance, the Catamounts lost three of their top four scorers. But junior Brian Voelkel, a do-it-all forward, is back. So is junior Luke Apfeld. Vermont also has two eligible transfers in senior Trey Blue and junior Candon Rusin, coming from Illinois State University and Marist College, respectively, who should contribute immediately.
Stony Brook University
The Seawolves also lost three of their top four scorers, but the reigning regular season champions don’t have as many potentially immediately effective replacements as Vermont. Still, senior Tommy Brenton was a unanimous preseason all-conference selection, and with him leading the way, Stony Brook is expected to remain in the hunt for first place.
Darryl Partin graduated and Jake O’Brien transferred, leaving the 2012-13 Terriers short two key players. But junior D.J. Irving has established himself as one of the league’s premier point guards, and the Terriers have enough returning talent to contend for the regular season crown.
University at Albany
Without Gerardo Suero and Logan Aronhalt, the Great Danes face a scoring void as they enter 2012-13. Senior Mike Black averaged 13.4 points per game last year, and some other returners are expected to fill bigger roles. But Albany finds itself just outside the top three.
The University of Maine
All-conference junior Alasdair Fraser and 2011-12 all-rookie selection Justin Edwards will lead the Black Bears, who lost offensive stalwart Gerald McLemore to graduation. If one more player steps up to help fill McLemore’s vacancy, Maine should be a middle-of-the-pack squad.
University of New Hampshire
The Wildcats return the bulk of their scoring, but in 2011-12, UNH’s offense did not produce all too much. Bill Herrion’s squad’s defense led the way to a fifth-place finish, and all-defensive team member Chandler Rhoads returns for his senior season.
University of Hartford
The Hawks won just nine games last year and lost their star, Andres Torres, to graduation. Rising out of the conference’s lower half won’t be easy in 2012-13.
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Junior Chase Plummer is the America East’s top returning scorer, but he still doesn’t have much of a supporting cast. Making matters worse, UMBC head coach Aki Thomas was thrust into the position after Randy Monroe resigned on Oct. 10.