After the playing was done last March for NYC schools, the coaching carousel had yet to begin.
In the five boroughs alone, five of the seven universities had seen their coaches depart. Three were fired, while two had left for other reasons.
Out of the seven schools, only one of them made it to a post-season, St. John's, who lost in the first round of the NIT on a buzzer beater to Memphis. Six of the schools had sub .500 records.
Overall, it can't be considered too unprecedented that all these changes were made, after all, New York City has been starved of a good basketball team since both Manhattan and St. John's tanked in what seems like ages ago.
However, heading into this year, there is a new sense of optimism, and come November, New York basketball fans will soon find that this optimism is well deserved.
Such is the case for the Fordham University Rams.
The Rams are coming off of a 2-26 record, in which they became the laughingstock of the best mid-major conference in college basketball, the A-10. However, heading into this year, the University has committed to giving the men's program greater funds, which included the signing of Tom Pecora, the former coach at Hofstra, to lead the way.
Pecora is one of the most respected coaches in New York. Fordham also returns the A-10 rookie of the year, Chris Gaston, along with a roster of maturing players who hope to give Rose Hill a reason to rock!
Another team that may be looking at better days is Manhattan. Although there was a lot of controversy over the offseason as to if their head coach Barry Rohrrsen should be fired, he eventually was aloud to stay, even though he at one point considered taking an assistant position at St. John's.
Rohrrsen is a great recruiter, and Manhattan College has a history of greatness in college basketball. This year they will participate in what many consider to be the best preseason tournament in college basketball, The Old Spice Classic in Florida.
They were given entry due to the fact that the MAAC conference is a sponsor of the event.
Long Island University
Although called Long Island University, these Blackbirds belong to Brooklyn. Jim Ferry, who had a very successful season at the helm last year, has kept his position as the head coach this year for LIU.
The Blackbirds lose their best player, Jaytornah Wisseh, but they do return some of their key players including Julian Boyd, who sat out all of last year with an injury.
St. Francis is located just five minutes away from LIU, and do participate in the same conference, but they head into this upcoming season a whole lot less confidant than their Brooklyn rivals.
Their head coach, Brian Nash left unexpectedly after last season and was replaced with Glenn Braica, a former assistant at St. John's. Braica is regarded as a good coach, but he might not be the right fit. St. Francis is a free shooting basketball type program, and they thrived with that under Nash. However, the change could be a good thing.
Columbia will enter this season looking at a whole different team. There will be no more Coach Joe Jones. After Jones left to join Ivy coaching counterpart, Steve Donahue at Boston College, Kyle Smith left St. Mary's to come east for a job at Columbia.
As long as Columbia can stay defensive minded, Smith will have no trouble picking up where Jones left off, and he might get some wins in the process. They will return junior star Noruwa Agho, who might find himself the best player in the league now that Jeremy Lin has left Harvard and Ryan Wittman has departed from Cornell.
Wagner College had a horrible season last year, but the Hurley brothers are hoping to change that this year. Both of the new coaches were standout high school coaches, and it is uncertain what they will bring to the college level, except a great recruiting pitch from their old high school friends out in New Jersey.
St. John's will come into this year primed for greatness. They will return most of their stars from last year, and will bring in a great coach, Steve Lavin into help. They have the Big East, and Madison Square Garden, and this year could be a turning point for the Johnnies, who have really lost their way since losing NCAA privileges several years ago.
Fans might have trouble watching their first game. It will be played at 2:00 a.m. EST on ESPN at St. Mary's as part of the 24 College Basketball Marathon on the ESPN family of networks.
- St. John's vs. Columbia
- Fordham vs. St. John's
- Manhattan vs. Fordham (battle of the Bronx)
- St. Francis vs. LIU (2x) (battle of Brooklyn)
- Wagner vs. LIU (2x)
- St. Francis vs. Wagner (2x)
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