Nov 24, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard/forward Dez Wells (44) looks to pass as Arizona State Sun Devils forward Jonathan Gilling (31) defends during the second half at Sprint Center. Maryland Terrapins won 78-73. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
2013-14 Record: 11-21 (5-15)
Head Coach: King Rice (35-64, fourth season at Monmouth)
Current Record: 2-2
Players to watch out for:
1.) G Deon Jones (Jr.)
2.) G Andrew Nicholas (Sr.)
3.) F Brice Kofane (Sr.)
Monmouth is tabbed as the sixth best team in the MAAC, according to the preseason poll. However, there is quite a bit of talent on this roster. Guard Deon Jones leads the offensive attacks for the Hawks, averaging 14.0 points-per-game and 4.5 rebounds-per-game. Jones is an assassin from beyond the arc as he is shooting at a 55.6 percent clip so far this season. The Delaware native is a very instinctive player that can have the offense run through him.
The Hawks also have a pair of very talented complementary pieces in guard Andrew Nicholas and big man Brice Kofane. Nicholas may not be the most athletic guard in the world, but he always seems to be at the right spot at the right time. The Pennsylvania native does have tremendous range as he is able to make shots from nearly anywhere on the court. His ability to cut to the basket definitely shouldn’t be overlooked as well. Nicholas did go off in Monmouth’s last game against Towson as he netted 24 points in an agonizing loss for the Hawks.
In the frontcourt, there stands a player with an insane amount of athleticism. Senior forward Brice Kofane is a guy that basically lives above the rim. Whether it’s slashing to the basket or rejecting a shot, Kofane is an absolute force in the paint. The Providence transfer is a high-energy player that definitely could give Maryland trouble in the paint. Kofane already has 10 blocks on the young season, and registered seven of them in Sunday’s game against Towson.
Maryland will win if…
1.) The frontcourt continues to alter shots – The combination of Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky has been very beneficial to Maryland through five games. Over the course of the CBE Hall of Fame tournament, Dodd and Cekovsky swatted away eight shots, while altering several room. As players from Arizona State and Iowa State approached the lane, they were greeted by the tremendous length of this dynamic duo. While Cekovsky still struggles with foul trouble, the potential is through the roof and he has a chance to be an elite player. With an athletic player like Kofane and a trio of strong guards, Monmouth could test Maryland, and it’ll be interesting to see if Dodd and Cekovsky are up to the task.
2.) Get productive guard play – Maryland’s biggest strength is arguably their deep stable of guards. Whether it’s Melo Trimble or Dez Wells or Jared Nickens, it always seems like one of the guards is having his with the opposing team. In the Arizona State game, Trimble went off to the tun of 31 points, and nearly set a Terps freshman record. After struggling out of the gate shooting the basketball, the former Bishop O’Connell star shot 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) over the course of the past two games.
While Trimble had his biggest game so far against Arizona State, Wells had a big second half against Iowa State. Wells really enjoyed a strong second half on his way to a 14-point, nine-rebounds performance against the Cyclones. He’s seeing the floor incredibly well, and has taken a back seat to some of the freshmen in terms of scoring. Wells is able to draw opposing defenders and leave guys like Dion Wiley and Nickens in one-on-one situations.
If the Terps are able to keep up the stellar guard play and keep the freshmen involved, Maryland definitely could win this one and many more following it