mens basketball success with returning starters
Mike Neville – Sports Editor
Head coach Scott Burrell will have all hands-on deck with his assistant coaches Mark Fogel and Tavares Cambell as they gear up for basketball in 2021.
Besides the obvious circumstances of COVID-19 ending fall sports and leaving winter sports in question, the Owls men’s basketball team has a lot more to look forward too.
After finishing last season with a 16-11 record, the Owls look to regain some of their lost success after missing the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three seasons.
Moore Field House has been the Owls saving grace, accumulating a record of 19-8 since the winter of 2018 in front of their home crowd.
Due to the graduation of forward Taurus Adams II, and the departure of some key individuals, Burrell will need to evaluate some of the team’s personnel before the season.
Averaging 16.1 points per game last season and standing at 6’7, the shoes of Adams will need to be filled, although Burrell does have an intriguing option in Zack Penn.
The 6’8 forward could be the answer for the Owls’ center spot and fill the void left by Adams.
Penn, who came off the bench last year after averaging four points a game could be one of Burrell’s starters this year if a season is able to happen.
Looking at the guards, the depth there is intriguing. Hamden-native C.J Seaforth, a senior and Boston-product Lyron Bennett, a sophomore, look to be the early favorites in terms of a starting backcourt combo.
Seaforth, the Owls’ best scorer on paper, had his share of struggles last year during a midseason slump.
After starting out averaging over 20 points per game through November, he averaged just under 12 points a game to finish the season.
Bennett, however, could turn a lot of heads this year after being an All-Rookie selection in the Northeast 10. What will ultimately be the question for Bennett is if he is ready to make the next leap after seeing personal success as a rookie.
The 2017-18 Northeast 10 Rookie of the Year Ulyen Coleman, now a redshirt-junior, is the clear-cut choice to be Burrell’s main man this year after sitting out last season. Known for his sharpshooting ability and standing at 6’4, Coleman has the chance to become one of the better two-way players in the league.
The Owls also return with key starters and captains in guard Isaiah Boissard and big-man Greg Jones, both seniors.
Jones has proven himself time and time again that he always belongs on the court for the Owls, and that shouldn’t change come the start of the season. Jones has shown he can score, but his biggest improvements must come on the glass, especially with Adams no longer by his side.
The beast from the Bronx averaged 13.8 points for the season and is a key rim protector on defense.
Boissard showed promise in his debut campaign for the Owls last season. The 6’3 swing man started in 18 games last year and showed on numerous occasions he can be the top scoring option, scoring 10.6 points per game, reaching double-figures 13 times and having a season high of 31 points.
What it will come down to for Boissard is consistency.
While he did have major scoring outbursts last season, he also had numerous cold spells where he struggled to hit shots or make much of an impact.
Much of the Owls success this year will hinder on the returning starters from last year. No matter what starting five Burrell decides to go with this season, one thing is for certain: The Owls have talent, and the potential to make a major statement in the NE10.