Tonawanda News — St. Joe’s didn’t just lose any player when Reggie Agbeko graduated last summer, the Marauders lost somebody that coach Mark Simon said other teams feared.
”We lost a big part of our team from a size and physical perspective,” he said. “He was a player that everybody feared. It’s a big loss for us but we have nine seniors this year and a majority of them played a fair amount of minutes. I expect them to come in and be ready to play right out of the gates.”
Agbeko scored 18.6 points, grabbed 14.5 rebounds and had 2.2 blocks per game last season and to make up for that loss of production, Simon is looking to his experienced players to work together to win games.
Senior point guard Jordan Glover is the key to the Marauders’ offensive game plan. Simon said he is very smart on the basketball court, handles the ball well and finds teammates consistently with his vision. He’s an athletic guard that can score, and he has developed into a strong defender for Simon, who called him the team’s best all-around player.
Simon will look to Glover to keep everybody running in the right direction.
”We’re a lot more balanced. At the end of the season we became too focused on Reggie,” Simon said. “We have seven guys that all can score and not one of them needs to carry a load. We’re talking about team balance offensively, and you need to play defense if you’re going to win. We also want to try and run out in transition to try to get easy baskets.”
Last season the Marauders had a breakout performer in Louis Oliveri who returns this year as a center. He averaged 11.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last season and Simon said he expects him to play a ton of minutes this season.
Guard Jaylen Morris and center Daniel Maher will also be in the starling lineup for the Marauders this season, but beyond that Simon said that the final starting spot will depend on the team’s opponent. In the mix for the spot are forwards Mark Cerza and Dylan Hall.
Simon expects St. Joe’s to be about seven deep this season and said to keep an eye on junior Justin Hollins, who he thinks will “open some eyes” once he is able to play a lot of minutes.
St. Joe’s won 20 games last season but Simon said he is looking for his team to be stronger from start to finish this season and to have learned from last year’s mistakes. He said he expects them to be ready to play right away this year.
”They’ve been there. Last year we had a great season and were 19-2 after 21 games and then we lost three of the last four,” Simon said. “They went through a lot and they worked a lot in the offseason. I think they know what it takes to get it done and there shouldn’t be any growing pains.”Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.