Brown Basketball Season Preview

Friday, November 14, 2014

 

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The Brown Bears hit the court on Friday November 14th to kick off their 109th season as they play host to Saint Peter’s at the Pizzitola Center at 8p.m.

Last season the bears finished 14-17 overall and 9-11 in the Ivy League and earned themselves a postseason berth, losing to Holy Cross in the first round of the Collegeinsider.com tournament.

The big question facing Mike Martin and the Bears this season is how will they replace Sean McGonagill, their leading scorer from last season. With that said, the Bears are a pretty veteran team this year, returning four of their five starters from last year's team. Brown was picked to finish fifith in the Ivy League by the media preseason polll but this veteran team want's another shot at postseason basketball. 

Guards

At one guard, the Rams will start Tavon Blackmon, a six foot sophomore, who started in 27 of 28 games as a freshman. Blackmon averaged 3.5 assists per game while playing solid defense and scoring the ball as well. One thing he has to do is cut down on his turnovers. Last season he turned the ball over 72 times. His assist to turnover ratio was one assist for every four turnovers. With McGonagill lost to graduation, Blackmon will have to contribute a little more in the scoring department. 

On the other side of the ball, Blackmon had 19 steals last season, just under one per game, and eight blocks. He will look to improve those numbers as well.  

Next to Blackmon, will be another sophomore Steven Spieth who last year won the Ivy League rookie of the week three times. The 6'6" Spieth started all 29 games for the Bears last season and averaged 5.5 rebounds and eight points per game. Steven Spieth also enjoys going to the free throw line as last season he had the second best free throw percentage in the Ivy league.  Steven Spieth will be one of the focul points of the Bears offense this season  

On the defensive side of the ball, Spieth averaged 1.2 steals per game and had a total of 35 steals and eight blocked shots on the season. 

Steven Spieth should be a fun player to watch this season for the Bears. 

Forwards

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Senior Rafael Maia leads a talented group of forwards for the Bears this season. Last season, the 6'9" Maia averaged eight rebounds per game which led the Ivy League for the second consecutive year. Maia started 22 games last year for the Bears, missing seven due to injury and posted five double-doubles in the season. He is very tough to guard in the low post because of his size and does have a nice touch around the rim, averaging 9.5 points per game a season ago. 

If Brown is going to have a successful season and continue to build their program, Rafael Maia is going to be a big part of it this season. 

Next to Maia is 6'7" sophomore Leland King who won the Ivy League Rookie of the Week four times last season. In this year's preseason, King was named by Sports Ilustrated as one of the top five sophomores in the nation to have a breakout year. A season ago, King averaged 9.6 points per game and 17.5 points and seven rebounds in the last six games of the season. 

King will be one of the go to guys on this Brown squad, expect to see a big year out of him. 

Rounding out the starting line up is 6'9" junior Cedric Kuakumensah who has developed into one of the best defensive players in the Ivy League. Last season, he set a new Ivy league record with 93 blocked shots which translates to a little over three blocks per game. Kuakumensah has 159 blocked shots in his career. When opponents do get shots off, he is there to clean up the rebound. He averaged 7.2 rebounds per game last season. Kaukumensah has been a defensive force for the Bears and it will continue this season.

He can score points as well. Last season, Cedric Kuakumensah averaged nine points per game which was fourth best on the team.  

For more on the roster, click here.

The Schedule

The Bears open up with two home games before traveling to Holy Cross to take on a good Crusaders team. They will play Indiana State and Ilinois in the Las Vegas Invitational which will be a great test for this veteran team. The Bears will play Bryant, Providence and Rhode Island this season, facing PC and URI on the road. Of course, in Ivy League play, the first big game against Harvard will be in early February.

Click here for a further look at the schedule.

The Brown Bears should have an exciting year this year as Mike Martin continues to build a program that has success off the court but also on the court as well. 

 

Related Slideshow: Brown Bears 2014-2015 Projected Starting Lineup

The Brown Bears are back for their 109th season and looking to build off the success they had last year. One question they will have to answer however is how will they replace Sean McGonagill, their leading scorer from last season? Here is the 2014-2015 Brown Bears projected Starting Lineup. 

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Guard- Tavon Blackmon

Tavon Blackmon is a six foot sophomore who started in 27 of 28 games as a freshman. Blackmon averaged 3.5 assists per game while playing solid defense and scoring the ball as well. With McGonagill lost to graduation, Blackmon will be expected to contribute a little more in the scoring department. 

One thing he has to do is cut down on his turnovers. He turned the ball over 72 times last year and had an assist to turnover ratio of one to four. One assist for every four turnovers.

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Guard- Steven Spieth

Steven Spieth who last year won the Ivy League rookie of the week three times. The 6'6" Spieth started all 29 games for the Bears last season and averaged 5.5 rebounds and eight points per game. Steven Spieth also enjoys going to the free throw line as last season he had the second best free throw percentage in the Ivy league.

 Steven Spieth will be one of the focul points of the Bears offense this season.  

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Forward- Rafael Maia

Senior Rafael Maia leads a talented group of forwards for the Bears this season. Last season, the 6'9" Maia averaged eight rebounds per game which led the Ivy League for the second consecutive year. Maia started 22 games last year for the Bears, missing seven due to injury and posted five double-doubles in the season. He is very tough to guard in the low post because of his size and does have a nice touch around the rim, averaging 9.5 points per game a season ago. 

Photo courtesy of Brownbears.com

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Forward- Leyland King

Leland King, 6'7" sophomore who won the Ivy League Rookie of the Week four times last season. In this year's preseason, King was named by Sports Ilustrated as one of the top five sophomores in the nation to have a breakout year. A season ago, King averaged 9.6 points per game and 17.5 points and seven rebounds in the last six games of the season. 

King will be one of the go to guys on this Brown squad, expect to see a big year out of him. 

Photo courtesy of Brownbears.com

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Forward- Cedric Kuakumensah

Cedric Kuakumensah is a  6'9" junior who has developed into one of the best, if not the best, defensive players in the Ivy League. Last season, he set a new Ivy league record with 93 blocked shots which translates to a little over three blocks per game. Kuakumensah has 159 blocked shots in his career. When opponents do get shots off, he is there to clean up the rebound. He averaged 7.2 rebounds per game last season. Kaukumensah has been a defensive force for the Bears and it will continue this season. 

He can score points as well. Last season, Cedric Kuakumensah averaged nine points per game which was fourth best on the team.  

 

Photo courtesy of Brownbears.com

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6th man- JR Hobbie

JR Hobbie is a 6'4" sophomore guard who last season ranked fifth in the Ivy League in three-point field goals. He also won Ivy League rookie of the week three times. Last season he averaged six points per game for the Bears.

This season his role will likely increase and don't be surprised to see him check in late in the game when a three-pointer is needed.

Photo courtesy of Brownbears.com

 
 

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