Mon11202017

Last updateFri, 17 Nov 2017 9pm

Sports

Men's Basketball Season to Tip-Off Friday

M Basketball 11.08.17After finishing with a record of 27-7, Monmouth basketball looks to rebound after a semifinals loss to Siena in the 2017 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) tournament. The season ended when the Hawks lost to Ole Miss in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).

Monmouth will be returning nine players from last year’s team. Junior guard Micah Seaborn returns after finishing as the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 13.2 points per contest. Seaborn was Monmouth’s lone Preseason All-MAAC selection, and was one of two unanimous choices to the MAAC Preseason First Team.

“A lot of guys are ready to step up into new roles,” Seaborn said. “I put a lot of work in to be the leader every night this year.’

Guard Austin Tilghman returns for his senior year after being voted the MAAC sixth-man of the year for the 2016-17 season, averaging 7.0 points per game.

“I’m helping the younger guys off and on the court,” Tilghman said. “I want to show these guys how to win.”

After redshirting last season, senior forward Zac Tillman will return and man the center position for MU.

The team will also be returning several key role players from last year’s team who look to have an increased time this year. Forwards Diago Quinn (junior), Diago Quinn (junior), Mustapha Traore (sophomore), and Sam Ibiezugbe (sophomore) will return to man the front court. Guards Daniel and Louie Pillari (senior and sophomore, respectively) return for MU.

This year, the Hawks will introduce six new freshmen to the team. Freshman guard Ray Salnave will play this season after redshirting last year. Monmouth will also have forward Melik Martin and guards Deion Hammond, George Papas, and Marcus McClary join the team as true freshman. Junior guard Nick Rutherford will sit out the season after transferring from Florida Atlantic University.

“We have the chance to be very versatility with this group,” Head Coach King Rice said. “We can go totally big with two big men or go small with four guards. Our versatile is something we will try to use this season.”

The Hawks graduated five seniors from last year’s team. Included in those former five Hawks is guard Justin Robinson, who finished as Monmouth’s all-time leading scorer with 2,003 total points. Forward Chris Brady graduated atop the leaderboards in rebounds and blocks.

Rice had a few changes on his coaching staff during the offseason. Jamal Meeks was moved from Director of Basketball Operations to assistant coach, while Anthony Molisso went from graduate assistant to Director of Operations. Another former graduate assistant, Brian Stafman, took on the role of Special Assistant to the Head Coach.

The Hawks’ non-conference schedule includes games against Kentucky at Madison Square Garden, Connecticut, and Princeton. The Hawks will also play three road games for the Preseason NIT Tip-off tournament against Seton Hall, Virginia, and University of North Carolina-Asheville.

“I always schedule hard,” Rice said. “This year is by far our hardest. I like the challenge, it is good for our school, our league, and for our kids.”

In the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Monmouth was voted to finish third in the conference behind reigning conference champion Iona and Manhattan. The Hawks have never finished lower than projected in the preseason poll.

“All that matters is winning that MAAC championship,” Tilghman said on the preseason ranking.

The team will open up the season against Bucknell on Friday, Nov. 10 at 8:30 p.m. at the OceanFirst Bank Center. It can also be seen on ESPN3.

PHOTO COURTESY of Karlee Sell

Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu