Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hawks not meeting expectations

There are so many theories for the disappointing season to date for St Joseph’s basketball team, but sophomore guard Chris Wilson has the best explanation.

Hawks not meeting expectations

There are so many theories for the disappointing season to date for St Joseph’s basketball team, but sophomore guard Chris Wilson has the best explanation.

“Nobody has played up to their potential,” Wilson said following Wednesday’s 73-64 loss to St. Bonaventure at Hagan Arena. “It is really frustrating.”

That’s a theory we have been suggesting for awhile, that nobody has returned this season as a vastly improved layer.

Last season the Hawks were considered a team on the rise. After going 11-22 two years ago, they were 20-14 and earned an NIT bid this year.

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So obviously with everybody returning, this was considered a team that would be a disappointment if not in the NCAA Tournament.

It must be noted that Wilson put himself in the category of not playing up to his potential, although if anybody looked, he probably has improved as much as any of the Hawks. Ron Roberts has shown flashes of improvement but has also been too inconsistent.

This is still a team with only one senior in the rotation, yet Carl Jones has not shown the leadership needed. He missed the first two regular season games (plus one exhibition) for violation of the University community standards. Then he didn’t start against St. Bonaventure due to a team infraction.

Here is a person who is supposed to be a leader and he was banished briefly to the bench in a game that could have put the Hawks at .500 in the ultra-competitive A-10. Now they are 1-3 and face a true uphill battle.

The margin for error is so slight for the Hawks.

This is a team that doesn’t have much of a post-up game and doesn’t get many easy baskets in transition (as we have pointed out several times).

So if there isn’t much inside scoring or fast break scoring, then a team must really shoot well from the outside.

Against St. Bonaventure, the Hawks were 2 for 22 from beyond the arc.

Yet they not only didn’t shoot the three well, they also defended it poorly. St. Bonaventure was 10 for 20 from beyond the arc and even on the missed shots, the Bonnies got good looks.

“We were invisible and that is really frustrating, knowing how big a game this was and it really is unacceptable,” said Wilson, who made the only two treys for the Hawks, shooting 2 for 5 from beyond the arc.

The Hawks had shown some recent positive signs, winning at Duquesne, losing in overtime at VCU and then beating Penn by 20. Any positive strides were negated by Wednesday’s disappointing showing.

“I always thought we were getting closer to what I thought we were, but I didn’t take Saturday (against Penn) or last Thursday (at VCU) and say this is really a step up and I can’t take this (loss to St. Bonaventure) as a step backwards,” said coach Phil Martelli.

Actually it’s a major step backward and even Martelli admitted it wasn’t any ordinary defeat.

“It is a jolt,” he said. “We are on the mat, so to speak and we have to pick ourselves up and play at a higher level Saturday.”

That would be against Xavier, a team that is 4-1 in the A-10 after Wednesday’s loss to Charlotte.

Martelli said St. Bonaventure deserves credit and he’s right. This is a team that just stormed through Philadelphia, winning at Temple on Saturday and now at St. Joseph’s.

That said, it’s the type of team that the Hawks shouldn’t lose to at home.

If St. Joseph’s doesn’t come out with the highest level of intensity in Saturday’s game against visiting Xavier, then something is truly wrong.

Marc Narducci
About this blog
Marc Narducci has performed a variety of jobs at The Inquirer since beginning with the paper in 1983. A long-time high school sports reporter in South Jersey, Narducci has also served as a beat writer for the 76ers, a backup Eagles and Sixers writer and has covered all the professional and colleges in the Philadelphia area. Among his duties at The Inquirer over the years, Narducci has covered one Super Bowl, two World Series and three NBA all-star games. Most recently he has covered the Philadelphia Union soccer team and this season will be adding college basketball duties, paying specific attention to St. Joseph’s. A life-long Southern New Jersey resident, Narducci is a 1977 graduate of Paul VI High and 1981 graduate of Glassboro State College (now Rowan University). Email Marc at mnarducci@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Marc Narducci
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