Canisius will have a new coach in 2016-17. How’s the team he’ll inherit?
The Griffs finished 14-19 last year and 8-12 in the MAAC, which gave them the 7-seed in the conference tournament. Defense was an issue all season long, as the team finished 335th in opposing field goal percentage and 310th in scoring defense.
So, not a great start. Here’s a look at the roster.
Status of the 2015-16 Griffs
[UPDATE: Gurley to transfer]
Losses: The team is losing key starters in point guard Malcolm McMillan and center Kevin Bleeker, as well as forward Jamal Reynolds, who initially started but became the sixth man. Reserves Cassidy Ryan and Raven Owen are no longer with the team.
Scholarships: Baron signed guard Malik Johnson and forward Spencer Foley for next season. If everyone stays, the new coach will still have three more scholarships to use for next season.
Projected starters: This roster looks primed for grad and JUCO transfers to come in, but using only players currently on the team (or projecting for a coach who wants to punt on next year and build for the future), it looks like an awful small lineup.
You could feel moderately comfortable with Kassius Robertson at point guard and Phil Valenti and Jermaine Crumpton at forward. After that, Chris Atkinson, Kiefer Douse and Isaiah Gurley have all shown promising stretches of play, but all three play guard. Without bringing in a forward transfer who could start, two members of the Atkinson/Douse/Gurley trio would be thrust into the starting lineup and the other would be the first guy off the bench.
Depth: There isn’t much help in sight for Valenti and Crumpton. Gombe has a right size body for the position but didn’t look ready for major minutes last year. No telling how much the freshman Foley could contribute. The team could be alright at guard if no one leaves, especially if Adam Weir can have a breakout season, but the theme here seems to be that the new coach really needs to find a big who could be a valuable contributor. No sweat.
Outlook: It seems unlikely that next year’s Canisius team will be better than this year’s team. Valenti and Robertson have the ability to put up all-MAAC-worthy numbers, but the overall team talent level is down.
Projecting Canisius for the play-in round of the conference tournament would certainly not be unfair at this point in time.Follow @NickVeronica