Former NBA guard Greg Anthony evaluates St. Joe-Notre Dame

Phil Martelli and Saint Joseph's host No. 20 Notre Dame on Friday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Greg Anthony feels that Friday’s matchup between St. Joseph’s and Notre Dame will be a low-scoring, tightly contested college basketball game.

Anthony, a commentator for Turner and former UNLV and NBA guard, will be an analyst for truTV’s broadcast of this weekend’s Coaches vs. Cancer Classic from the Barclays Center.

BYU meets Florida State in Friday’s 7 p.m. opener, followed by the Notre Dame-St. Joseph’s game at 9:30.

The winners of both games will play 9:30 p.m. on Saturday after the 7 p.m. consolation game.

“It is a great early season test against two really good teams and it can not only help you see where you are but how you will approach the rest of the season,” Anthony said in a phone interview while discussing the St. Joe-Notre Dame game.

Anthony, who spent 11 seasons in the NBA, is truly impressed with the Hawks.

One of the keys for Anthony is the continued development of Ronald Roberts, the 6-8 junior who was the Atlantic-10 Sixth Man of the Year, but is now a starter.

Roberts is among the most athletic players in college basketball. In fact Anthony suggests Roberts will be the best athlete on the court Friday.

“What is impressive is that even though he was a raw athlete last year, he had a huge impact on the team,” Anthony said. “He brings such energy and can make athletic plays and if he refines his skill and becomes more polished as a basketball player, who can be the difference in how good this team becomes.”

St. Joseph’s will play without Carl Jones, out for the third of three games (including an exhibition) while serving a three-game suspension due to a violation of the University's community standards. In his place, backcourt mate Langston Galloway may be asked to do more offensively against the Fighting Irish.

“He was able to complement Jones last year while not having to force it,” Anthony said of Galloway. “His ability to create offensively for himself and teammates more in terms of making good basketball players will also help determine this team’s success.”

He said a key to the game will be if Notre Dame is able to pull center C.J. Aiken away from the basket. Aiken was fifth in the nation in blocked shots, averaging 3.53 per game and was named the Atlantic-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

He could be matched against 6-9 Notre Dame senior Jack Cooley, who is averaging 17 points per game, but is an effective perimeter threat.

“Cooley will rebound, but he tends to float more on the perimeter,” Anthony said. “That can create a little different dynamic for Aiken who is on his best in the interior and wants to block shots.”

Anthony feels Notre Dame has to take Aiken out of his defensive comfort zone.

“Bigs who like to play in the paint, are like great white sharks,” Anthony said. “You taken the out of the ocean (in this case out of the paint) and they aren’t as effective.”

Anthony feels that the team that stays disciplined and doesn’t rush shots will likely be the one that emerges victorious.

“These are two really good teams,” he said. “This should be a great matchup.”