Sift through the filing cabinets in your brain, and recall the last play of the Binghamton men’s basketball team’s 71-70 loss to Mount St. Mary’s in December 2012.
Trailing by one point with less than 10 seconds on the clock, the Bearcats desperately needed a bucket. To no one’s surprise, then-freshman guard Jordan Reed raced up the court, using his array of crossover and hesitation moves to penetrate the Mountaineer defense and find a spot for a potential game-winner.
Only everyone in the building knew Binghamton’s leading scorer wouldn’t pass the ball, and then-junior forward Kristijan Krajina of The Mount left the floor with Reed and thwarted him with a victory-sealing block.
“Every time we came out of a timeout I felt like I was trying to find a way to creatively get Jordan the ball,” Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey said at the team’s media day in October. “The other team knew it, and that becomes difficult in big moments.”
Jimmy Gray, coincidentally, buried the most clutch shot of Binghamton’s 2012-13 season, a game-winning 3-pointer at Maine. He and Taylor Johnston graduated after serving as key offensive contributors, but Dempsey and his coaching staff expect the freshman class to more than mitigate its losses.
Scholarship players Nick Madray, Yosef Yacob, Marlon Beck and Magnus Richards and walk-ons John Rinaldi and Matt Smith comprise the rookie corps. Dempsey said he plans on playing the four scholarship freshmen for significant minutes on a nightly basis.
Reed — a strong, penetrating guard who averaged 16.6 points per game as a freshman — should benefit from their presence more than any other returning player.
“I think last year we didn’t have as much weapons as we do now,” Reed said. “We have more people that could spread the court. When I drive and get in the lane I can kick out, and there will be a guy like Nick Madray or Yosef Yacob that can hit the shot.”
Madray, a 6-foot-9 forward from Ontario, can stretch the floor and bury 3-pointers from beyond NBA range, while the 6-foot-7 Richards brings athleticism to the front court.
Beck and Yacob — two point guards who can push the pace, distribute and shoot — will take pressure off Reed, who ranked seventh nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s Poss statistic. In other words, only six other players in the entire country terminated their team’s possessions via shots and turnovers more than Reed.
Because Reed dominated the ball on offense, he also struggled to produce efficiently. Look no further than his 39.1 percent field goal percentage and 86.6 ORtg, a metric that quantifies a player’s efficiency on offense. For perspective, Pomeroy considers 100 an average ORtg.
Dempsey expects to see a spike in those numbers this year.
“I think [having more options] will help his efficiency tremendously to be taking less bad shots,” Dempsey said. “He’ll turn the ball over less because he doesn’t have to do as much. I think there will be a lot of other guys that have the ball in their hands at different times.”
One of those guys will be redshirt junior guard Rob Mansell, who missed all of last season after tearing the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee at the end of 2011-12. Mansell led Binghamton with 14 points per game as a sophomore, and America East coaches have said they think the shooting guard could form a potent scoring punch with Reed if the knee no longer bothers him.
“It’s a non-factor,” Mansell said of his knee. “I don’t even need to ice it. It feels completely normal.”
Though Mansell has never suited up alongside Reed, the two guards have practiced, scrimmaged and played pickup together for more than one year.
“I think we’ll be able to feed off of each other pretty well and not really butt heads at all,” Mansell said. “We’re both pretty unselfish guys.”
Reed echoed that sentiment.
“I don’t mind other people taking shots because if you look at my stats, I like the rebounds. So when guys shoot, I don’t mind,” he said. “I just want to go out there, chase the rebound, maybe I can get it. If it goes in, go back on defense.”
That said, Reed does care about personal accomplishments. The sophomore said making the all-conference third team in March “drove [him] crazy.” He thought he deserved better, and although America East coaches named him to the preseason first team, Reed, as always, is out to prove the doubters wrong.
This time around, however, he’ll have more weapons surrounding him, which should help improve his numbers across the board.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I just can’t wait to get out.”