The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team will tip off the 2016-17 season on Saturday, November 12, when the Hawks host Toledo in a first-ever meeting at Hagan Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.
Before the game, Saint Joseph’s will honor the 2015-16 Atlantic 10 champions with a ceremony which will include the unveiling of the championship banner. Fans are urged to arrive early for the ceremony which will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Free video streaming of the game will be available on the A-10 Digital Network.
ARENA: Michael J. Hagan ‘85 Arena (4,200)
RADIO: 610 Sports- Matt Martucci, Joe Lunardi - LISTEN
AUDIO/VIDEO STREAMING: A-10 Digital Network - WATCH
SERIES RECORD: First meeting
HAWKS’ NEXT GAME: Nov. 14 vs. Columbia, 7 p.m.
• James Demery (8.1) and Shavar Newkirk (8.0) are the Hawks’ leading returning scorers this season. SJU has lost 65 percent of its scoring from last season with the losses of DeAndre’ Bembry, Isaiah Miles, Aaron Brown and Papa Ndao
• This is the first-ever meeting between SJU and Toledo.
• The Hawks will head to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday to participate in the Paradise Jam from Nov. 18-21. It marks SJU’s second appearance in the tournament with the first in 2009.
WHAT A YEAR: The Hawks are coming off of one of the best seasons in school history, which saw them go 28-8 and win their third Atlantic 10 Championship in two seasons. SJU was led by A-10 and Big 5 Player of the Year DeAndre’ Bembry, and Isaiah Miles, the Most Improved Player in the A-10 and Big 5. Saint Joseph’s was the third most improved team in the nation and the 28 victories were the second best in school history, behind only the 2003-04 NCAA Elite Eight squad, which went 30-2.
FOR OPENERS: Saint Joseph’s is 9-2 in season openers in the past 11 years and has won the last four of five. The Hawks defeated Drexel in Hagan Arena last season in the first game, 82-81, to start a three-game winning streak.
DEAN OF COACHES: Now in his 22nd season as Saint Joseph’s head coach, Phil Martelli is the dean of A-10 coaches. He’s the Hawks’ leader in wins with a 403-273 record, and has a 198-142 record in Atlantic 10 play for the most conference wins of any active coach, and the second most all-time.
THEY’RE BACK: Although Saint Joseph’s returns 12 players from last year’s A-10 champion team, only four players averaged double-figure minutes during the season. Shavar Newkirk is the lone starter returning since Pierfrancesco Oliva will be sidelined for the year with a knee injury. James Demery and Lamarr Kimble were the other two players seeing significant playing time, making key contributions off the bench last season.
DOUBLE DOWN: This marks the first time in Phil Martelli’s career that he does not have a returning double figure scorer. The Hawks lost Isaiah Miles (18.1), DeAndre’ Bembry (17.4) and Aaron Brown (10.4) from last year’s 28-8 team. SJU’s leading returning scorers are James Demery (8.1) and Shavar Newkirk (8.0).
FROM THE START: Charlie Brown becomes the fourth freshman in four years to be in the starting lineup on opening day. Pierfrancesco Oliva was a starter in 30 games last year. Previous freshman starters were DeAndre’ Bembry with all 34 games in 2013-14 and James Demery with 29 games in 2014-15.
RARING TO GO: Redshirt sophomore Markell Lodge will be in the starting lineup as well, to mark his first career start. Lodge saw limited action last season in his first year after sitting out 2014-15 to concentrate on academics. A 6-8 forward from Pace Academy (N.C.), Lodge owns a vertical leap of 39 inches, which is the highest in the program’s history.
HARD WORK PAYS OFF: Senior tri-captain Brendan Casper was awarded a scholarship for the 2016-17 academic year. Casper joined the Hawks as a walk-on as a freshman in 2013-14 and previously earned a scholarship for the Spring 2016 semester. He has played in 42 career games, including a personal best 23 as a sophomore, and has been a member of the Hawks’ two Atlantic 10 champion teams. Casper was selected to the 2016 NABC Honors Court, which recognizes academic excellence.
WELCOME TO HAWK HILL: The Hawks welcome five newcomers this season - Charlie Brown (Philadelphia), Gerald Blount (Suwanee, Ga.), Lorenzo Edwards (Lake Forest, Ill.), Nick Robinson (Chicago, Ill.) and walk-on Toliver Freeman (Baton Rouge, La.)
MY KIND OF TOWN: Chicago-area natives Lorenzo Edwards and Nick Robinson are members of the Hawks’ freshman class. Edwards played at Lake Forest High School with Robinson attending Kenwood Academy.
HAWK CAPTAINS: Graduate student Javon Baumann, senior Brendan Casper and sophomore Lamarr Kimble were voted as tri-captains by their teammates. Kimble is the second sophomore in the past three seasons to earn the distinction, and is the third sophomore in school history to serve as a captain. The first sophomore captain was Joe Oakes, who captained the famed “Mighty Mites” team in 1936-37.
HEADING TO PARADISE: The Hawks will be participating in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, from November 18-21. It marks SJU’s second appearance in the tournament as they posted a fifth-place finish in 2009. Saint Joseph’s will open with Loyola-Chicago and then face either Ole Miss or Oral Roberts in the next game. Other teams in the tournament are: Creighton, Montana, NC State and Washington State.