Nov. 13, 2006
PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team will tip off the 2006-07 season against Fairfield on Tuesday evening, November 14, at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. Game time is 7 p.m.
Coach Phil Martelli enters his 12th season with a 222-125 career record. In the past six years, he has led the Hawks to a 141-54 mark and six consecutive postseason berths.
The game will be broadcast on WNTP 990 AM, with the SJSN broadcast team of Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi returning for their fourth season together. The game can also be seen on the new Hawks All-Access, with video and audio streaming. Fans can obtain a free trial of Tuesday night's game via All-Access on www.sjuhawks.com.
Click here for complete game notes.
INSIDE INFO: SJU players might be hearing the words, "pass it inside" more than they have in the past few years, with frontcourt players Rob Ferguson and Ahmad Nivins looking to be the main scoring threats. This is a marked change from the guard-dominated teams of the last few years. Ferguson is the leading returning scorer with a 10.8 average, and looks to be one of the top Hawks from the foul line, having converted 84.4 percent last season. He also shot 50.2 percent from the field in `05-06. Nivins was an Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection last year, with 6.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
FRESH FACES: Phil Martelli brought in another stellar recruiting class for this year. Incoming freshmen - Darrin Govens, D.J. Rivera and Garrett Williamson- held three of the five spots on the Pennsylvania All-State 1st Team as chosen by Associated Press. Rounding out the highly-recognized class, Jawan Carter was an All-State honoree and Delaware's Player of the Year, while Rockwell Moody garnered Virginia Independent Schools All-State recognition. Four of the players were 1,000-point scorers in their scholastic careers- Carter (2,462); Govens (1,598), Williamson (1,349) Rivera (1,122). The four combined amassed a total of 6,531 points. SJU's recruits also come from succesful high school programs. Carter (Tatnall School), Williamson (Lower Merion) and Moody (Bishop O'Connell) saw their teams each win state titles while Govens' Chester squad reached the title game (vs. Lower Merion) and Rivera's Neumann-Goretti team captured the Philadelphia Catholic League title.
ON THE LINE: Saint Joseph's led the nation in free throw percentage last season (79.9 percent), but this year are without three players who shot 79 percent or better. The Hawks showed some signs of struggling from the line in the exhibition vs. Widener, converting just 60 percent. But the Hawks do have some veterans capable of leading the way, as Pat Calathes is the top returning free throw shooter (89.5) followed by Rob Ferguson (84.4 percent) and Ahmad Nivins (70.6).
PERIMETER PLAY: The Hawks have relied on solid perimeter scoring over the past few years and a strong attack from beyond the arc. SJU did not show that strength in the exhibition game win over Widener as it made only 1-of-12 3-point attempts in the first half, and converting just 3-for-21 (14.3%) in the game.
PAT'S PLAY: The Hawks are looking for big things from 6-10 guard Pat Calathes. The junior came on strong at the end of last year, averaging 10.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in the final seven games. He had four double-figure scoring games, shot 48.2 percent (27-for-56) from the field and made 15 of 16 free throws during that span. Calathes ended the year matching his career-high of 17 points in the NIT against Hofstra.
DEAN OF COACHES: Phil Martelli owns the most Atlantic 10 wins among active coaches with 114. His winning percentage in conference games (.647) is also the highest among active coaches who have been in the league for more than one season. Martelli owns the longest tenure at one school of any of the league's coaches. Only Jim Baron of Rhode Island has been in the A-10 longer (14 years), but it's been at two schools, St. Bonaventure and URI.
YOUTH BE SERVED: Phil Martelli will put one of his youngest teams on the floor this year, with five freshmen on the squad of 14. Only three returning players - Rob Ferguson, Pat Calathes, and Ahmad Nivins- averaged double figures in minutes last season. Ferguson averaged 30.6 minutes per game, with Nivins seeing 22.7 minutes and Calathes just 17 per game.
SEASON TUNEUP: The Hawks had one preseason exhibition game, defeating Widener, 71-55, last Thursday. Rob Ferguson led five Hawks in double figures with 16 points, while Pat Calathes added 10 points and 11 rebounds. Ahmad Nivins scored 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting while D.J. Rivera had 11 points.
PRESEASON PICKS: The Hawks were picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic 10, in the preseason voting of media and coaches. In 2005-06, SJU finished fifth in the conference after being picked sixth in the preseason. The Hawks took that even one step better, reaching the Atlantic 10 title game and falling two points short to Xavier. Freshman Jawan Carter was named to the Preseason Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: SJU played only had nine games in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse last season and compiled a 5-4 record. This year, the Hawks will have 11 home games on campus. SJU owns a 53-8 record in the Fieldhouse over the past six years (86.8 winning percentage) and during the course of 57 seasons in the Fieldhouse, have won 80 percent of their contests, with a record of 305-76.