Team preview: St. Peter's
Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)
Last year, the St. Peter's basketball team was known as "Keekee and the Kids."
With 2005-06 MAAC Player-of-the-Year Keydren Clark and his 3,058 career points now playing professionally in Greece, the Peacocks will find out this season if the kids are, indeed, all right.
"I think we have a good foundation to build around," said first-year coach John Dunne, the former Seton Hall assistant who was hired to lead the Peacocks after Bob Leckie retired in April. "We have some nice young talent that got some good experience down the stretch last season."
Particularly in the MAAC Tournament, where fifth-seeded St. Peter's knocked off Rider, Siena and Manhattan before falling to Iona in the title game.
Clark (26.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.4 apg, 2.5 spg) -- who graduated as the No. 6 scorer in NCAA history -- of course led the way, but juniors Todd Sowell (11.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg) and Raul Orta (11.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.5 apg) proved the Peacocks were not a one-man team. With two other starters, Kevin Spann and forward Quentin Martin, returning, St. Peter's hopes to be a factor again this season.
Dunne, who played in the backcourt with Kenny Anderson under legendary coach Jack Curran at Archbishop Molloy in Queens, knows his team will need to adjust to life without Clark, a two-time NCAA scoring champion who had the ball in his hands throughout his four-year career.
"You don't replace Keydren Clark with one player," Dunne said.
Dunne's biggest concern is how will the Peacocks respond when the game is on the line in the final three minutes.
"We'll have to do it by committee," Dunne said. "As coaches, you have got to put them in position to make plays."
Dunne, who was on staffs at MAAC rivals Manhattan and Siena before spending the last five seasons with Louis Orr at Seton Hall, will try to instill a defensive attitude in the Peacocks that limits the number of easy baskets scored by opponents. He'd also likes his team to control the tempo of games.
"We're not going to be a walk-it-up team, but we're not going to run-and-gun either," Dunne said. "We have to find a balance."