By Christian Mordi / @thedribbledrop
Team: St. Mary’s Elizabeth
Record Last season: 19-7, 6-0 in conference play
Key players: Calistus Anyichie, senior (binghamton)
Casmir Ochiaka, senior (loyola)
Papie Roberts, junior
Potential emerging stars: Jayvon Jackson, senior
Abdoul-Mounir Mohamadou-Hima, sophomore
Kyle McGee, junior (transfer from St. Anthony’s)
Zegary Scott. senior (transfer from Marist)
Team analysis: In the past, St.Mary’s Elizabeth was a strong program that had trouble turning the corner in big games. In 2017, the program arrived on the scene in a big way, closing big games against major programs.
One of the reasons St. Mary’s pulled off so many big wins was the top notch production on both side of the floor from their frontcourt. On a nightly basis, St. Mary’s can roll out a frontline of 6’8 and 6’9. While there are many things you can teach, size isn’t one of them. Anyichie and Ochiaka have made great strides offensively and can deliver quality baskets down low when needed. Defensively, they have great footwork and utilize it well in pick and roll situations. The “Twin Towers” also love to rebound. Anyichie and Ochiaka could be the best big man duo in the Garden State. Running the show at point guard is Papie Roberts. Papie is built like a tank and is known for attacking the rim with relentless aggression. Roberts isn’t afraid of the big moment and is willing to take the big shots down the stretch when needed.
The Hilltoppers also have a nice supporting cast around their “big 3.” 6’10 sophomore Abdoul-Mounir Mohamadou-Hima has shown tremendous growth and should be the first big off the bench this year. Senior Jayvon Jackson causes real matchup problems with his ability to play inside and out. Joining the fun is St. Anthony’s transfer Kyle McGee, who has a versatile skill set. Another player to watch out for is Marist transfer Zegary Scott.
St. Mary’s always plays a rigorous schedule and are always well prepared heading into games. They have the size and solid guard play to compete with any team in the state. If their guards play well this year, they have the potential to make a deep run during the Tournament of Champions.
Stat to know: Seniors Calistus Anyichie and Casimir Ochiaka signed to play with Binghamton and Loyola on the collegiate level