Photo from Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
By Nick Kalantzopoulos
The Stony Brook Men’s Basketball has set their sights on defending their America East Championship.
Coming off the school’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament last year, the Seawolves are set to begin a new era. Gone are last year’s seniors Jameel Warney, Carson Puriefoy III and Rayshaun McGrew, as well as Ahmad Walker, who was arrested and taken off the team in October. Also gone is last year’s head coach, Steve Pikiell, who, in over a decade in the position, went from 4-24 in his first year, to 26-7 last year, with an America East Conference regular season and tournament championship. Pikiell has since taken the job as Head Coach of the Rutgers Men’s Basketball Team.
In April, Stony Brook hired former Ohio State Assistant Jeff Boals to replace Pikiell. With a new head coach, and few returning players from last year’s squad, the 2016-17 Seawolves have plenty of unanswered questions, spots to be filled, and for the first time in a few years, relatively low expectations.
“It’s an exciting time of year,” said Boals at the team’s media day. “Anytime basketball season rolls around, you don’t have much expectation outside, but inside we have a lot of expectation.
If Stony Brook has any chance of defending their America East title this year, they will need a healthy contribution from their one remaining starter, Lucas Woodhouse. The senior guard averaged 6.7 points a game last season, while shooting over 44 percent beyond the arc.
“I think the goal is to get back there, to the NCAA tournament,” said Woodhouse, “It’s going to be a lot harder.”
Woodhouse does believe that the new coaching staff is the correct one to take this team to where it wants to be.
“Coach Boals and is staff are very energetic people,” said Woodhouse, “and in practice we feed off that.” This being Woodhouse’s final season wearing the Seawolf uniform, he is not afraid to talk about some of his personal goals.
“I want to score a lot, assist a lot, and win, that’s it.”
Another one of Stony Brook’s returning players is Tyrell Sturdivant, who only played 11.8 minutes per game last season, but is sure to see those numbers skyrocket this year. Sturdivant also recognizes that although the perception of this year’s team is that they will take a step down, the atmosphere of the team begs to differ.
“When we get into conference (play), we want to be one of the top teams,” said Sturdivant. “We’re not ranked that high, but we want to compete for another tournament birth.
Stony Brook opens its season with an exhibition game against Farmingdale State, at home at Island Federal Credit Union Arena, on November 4. A week later, the Seawolves will take on Columbia at home.