Mar 11 2035: Made the national tournament field.
Jan 04 2035: 3-star prospect Armando Benavides committed.
Dec 02 2034: 3-star prospect Rodger Haskell committed.
Oct 21 2034: Jay Fisher was hired as the new assistant coach.
Oct 21 2034: Assistant coach Sean Cummins was let go.
Oct 05 2034: Sean Cummins was hired as the new assistant coach.
Oct 05 2034: Assistant coach Bud McNamara was let go.
Aug 31 2034: Promoted to conference II.1.
Mar 12 2034: Made the national tournament field.
Mar 09 2034: Head coach Billy Ray Finch was inducted into the team Hall of Fame.
Pts Ave: 83.2 - 64.0 Pts Diff: +19.2 Team Power Index: 144.2
Mar 22 2035: 2035 Season Review (II.1) - by naph on November 14th, 2023
A very up and down year.
The Gaels had their first undefeated OOC in as long as anyone can remember, winning their first 12 games of the season and peaking at #5 in the rankings. The team looked set for a high seed and the talk around office water coolers was about whether they could go as far as the 2033 team or maybe even one better?
II.1 had other plans however as SMC would lose 6 of its next 10 games. After a 3 game winning streak they then lost 7 of 10, and instead of questions around "what seed?", the questions turned to whether demotion was a possibility and whether they would make the post-season at all. Late in the season a 4-game winning streak including wins over Huntington U and UPRRP had them hovering around the bubble. 2 more wins in the conference tourney proved enough to earn them a 15-seed.
The Gaels looked good in the first half against the III.1 champion Bucknell Bison, but it was the LL3 team that made the better adjustments at half time, turning the Gaels over repeatedly and ultimately bouncing them out in the first round.
bC/bPF: "Throat" Les Zeng (RS SO 6' 10½" 215lbs C pf 138 - 14 IS/Reb/ID, 13 Hnd, 12 IQ/Drv)
41gms 5gs 18.7mins 7.6p(.680/.---/.569 eFG%:.568) 4.9r 0.6a 0.5s 0.6b 0.9to 1.6pf
bPG: Leonard "Hassle" Hoffman (RS JR 6' 7½" 210lbs PG pf c 142 - 14 Pass, 12 Fin/Reb/ID/Hnd)
42gms 3gs 15.7mins 3.5p (.431/.373/.769 eFG%:.520) 1.2r 1.9a 0.8s 0.1b 2.0to 1.2pf
"Tup" Ira Mott (6' 2" 175lbs PG SG pf 166/11)
A talented shooter who could get wherever he wanted on the floor. Became a better playmaker and distributor as an upperclassmen which eventually saw him take over PG duties as a senior after playing almost exclusively at SG his first 3 seasons. Became a competent defender over time. A better finisher inside than he got to show at Saint Mary's as the Gaels needed him to space the floor more than drive the lane.
Cliff "Cha Cha" Chavis (6' 9½" 240lbs PF c 153/11)
After two years of backing up the four, Cliff found a starting role at SF for his final 2 seasons. Not a big offensive threat, but he was generally good for 1 timely three per game and the off put-back. Very good defender and an especially good rebounder for his position. Was certainly a physical presence on the wing and we'll no doubt miss his hard-nosed style.
Dion "Dingo" Goss (6' 5" 220lbs SF sg 148/12)
He was simply a little underwhelming. Enough so that his minutes dwindled as a junior, behind both Chavis and Gregory in the depth chart at SF. He was a decent secondary creator, but didn't really do enough of anything else to earn regular minutes.
Theo Gregory (135 -> 151 = +16)
Kelly Steeter (140 -> 155 = +15)
Dion Goss (138 -> 149 = +11)
Alan Goodwin (118 -> 130 = +12)
Steve Clark (107 -> 119 = +12)
Harvey Payton (107 -> 118 = +11)
Eddie Cleveland (95 -> 106 = +11)
Darren Scales remains the head coach the 46yo is highly regarded for his defensive schemes, player development and in-game tactical adjustments.
Sam Flaherty remains the primary motivator/recruiter and was called upon for his offensive accumen as well this season.
Bud McNamara was moved on at the start of the year making way for an offensive guru in the form of Jay Fisher. At 46yo he is the same age as both Scales and Flaherty, which could make for an interesting off season in a few years. Whilst Fisher isn't a huge positive in any other area, Scales needs an offensive coordinator and Fisher should provide a solid pairing for at least a few years.
30yo Theo Hudson is considered better than average at offense, defense, development and recruiting, and seems likely to remain on staff for some time.
In early December, a brief courting process was completed when Rodger Haskell (3* 6' 8" C PF 109/12) was the Gaels first signing. He should get another inch and should be a scoring 4/5 that can also provide some rim protection and already shows a good baseline of strength for a HS player. His work on the glass might take a little longer to come good.
Early in the new year, long-time target Armando Benavides (3* 6' 7" C sg pf 108/12) made his commitment. Benavides was considering Pepperdine, but after a head coaching change the Gaels became the clear favourite. He projects as a great all-around defender and already has some offensive polish, particularly in the post. Also expected to finish up around 6' 9" he could possibly play some 3 as well as 4/5.
Its somewhat unusual for the Gaels to double up with 2 bigs a 2-man class. It will be interesting to see how the roster shapes around this pair.
Various misses in recruiting on floor generals saw Mott move to PG this year, and next year the options are worse again. Journeyman Leonard Hoffman looks likely the best option, but he'd more naturally play as a role-playing SF than the guy with the keys to the offense.
Steeter will return as a skilled junior with a year of starts already under his belt. Whilst his game is still primarily built around speed, smarts and stamina, his shooting and defense are also becoming more respectable.
The Greg most likely moves to SF where he split time as a freshman. How effective can he be with a clear weakness in handling and driving? Time will tell. An improved shooting stroke should help.
Z-Bit likely moves back to PF after a year at C. He appears to have reached his peak, but fortunately that peak is pretty good. He remains arguably the premier post scorer in the nation, and is now adept at driving to diversify his scoring options. He is also a high level rebounder.
Despite his affliction with a rare muscle-wasting disease, Zeng looks likely to move to the starting 5 position next season. He's a skilled post-scorer/defender and rebounder, who can also take it to the rack off the bounce. All good positives until he starts getting pushed around by the opposition.
The bench will be as raw as it has been in quite some time. Dent, Coombs, Clark, Goodwin, Cleveland make up the 2nd unit. 3 redshirt freshmen, a barely played RS SO, and a barely played RS JR. None of them top 130 SI as yet, so things could be quite the adventure when fouls or injuries strike.
The goal is likely to be trying to stave off relegation. But maybe the star duo of Z-Bit and The Greg will have grander plans in their last season together?
Apr 01 2034: 2033 Season Review (III.2) - by naph on September 21st, 2023
It was always going to be hard to back up 2033, but the 2034 Gaels did so admirably. A 7-3 OOC record wasn't as good as it sounds as the only real win of note was a surprising, blow out win over Lipscomb. Toledo and Central Arkansas accounted for 2 of the losses, both in the D1RT, and Cal State Dominguez Hills provided the final loss a 20-point drubbing on the road.
A 3-3 start to conference play caused some grumbling from the Gael faithful, but it proved short lived as SMC peeled off a 16 game winning streak that would see them climb into the top 25 polls, where they would remain for most of the year, finishing >>>#19<<<. Back-to-back losses then made the conference race interesting with Columbia snapping at their heels and Huntington taking the lead, but the Gaels closed out conference play with another 6-game winning streak to secure the III.2 regular season title.
Dreams of the conference double were dashed with a semi-final defeat at the hands of New Orleans.
The mid-season heroics and conference triumph was enough for last year's runner-ups to receive a 4-seed. Any thoughts of another long tournament run were quickly ended in the form of 13-seed Grand View. The Gaels shot better than 60% from the floor, but were left to rue 19 turnovers and 11 missed FT's as well as JoFo's buzzer beater rimming out in a 2-point, opening round defeat. Z-Bit went down with an MCL tear and Dingo also sprained a thumb in the loss, so it seems unlikely the Gaels would have advanced much further in any event.
Despite those disappointments it was a successful year resulting in the Gaels second ever division one conference title, and first in LL3.
Jonathan "JoFo" Fontaine (6' 1" 195lbs PG sg sf 176/12)
A solid, defensive, distributing point guard that improved his offense enough to open up the floor for his passing game. After seasoning for 2 years he started as an upperclassman, averaging north of 12ppg 6apg and reduced his turnovers under 3topg as a senior. He will best be remembered for the run to the national tournament finals his junior year, where he performed well enough to be named to the All Tournament Team.
Clayton "Horse" Pollock (6' 11½" 240lbs C 138/10)
A mobile big who played great positional defense and even became respectable guarding the perimeter. Horse was a surprisingly efficient bench scorer for his first 3 seasons, largely operating as a rim-runner. He was solid, if unspectacular starting as a senior. Not the most naturally talented player, but he worked well with what he had.
Theo Gregory (119 -> 135 = +16)
Kelly Steeter (126 -> 140 = +14)
Zachary Bittner (159 -> 171 = +12)
Dion Goss (127 -> 138 = +11)
Les Zeng (122 -> 133 = +11)
Leonard Hoffman (123 -> 133 = +10)
Lucas Coombs (109 -> 119 = +10)
As predicted, long-time assistant Darren Scales took over the head coaching position. The 45yo is highly regarded for his defensive schemes, player development and in-game tactical adjustments.
Sam Flaherty remains the primary motivator/recruiter and was called upon for his offensive accumen as well this season.
Ned Dalton lasted just the one year and 2 new, young faces joined the coach's bench. 29yo Theo Hudson is developing strengths in a number of areas, whilst little is known about 25yo, local Bud McNamara.
With the change of head coach it was unsurprising that it was a somewhat slow start to the recruiting year. In late November Gordon Dent (3* 5' 11" PG SG sf 103/11) was the first commitment for coach Scales. The Modesto, Californian projects to finish around 6' 3-4" and primarily as a distributor.
Mid January saw Eddie Cleveland (2* 6' 8½" C 95/10) from San Diego join the Gaels. He still probably has 2-3" to grow and should develop into an elite rim-protector (7' 6+" wingspan already!) and a decent rebounder with a sweet jumper.
Rounding out the class in mid-February was Steve Clark (3* 6' 2" PF SF c 107/11) out of Sacramento. He projects as a small forward with a varied offensive game, built around the 3-ball. His quicks and length should make him a decent perimeter defender in time.
The Gaels return plenty, but its hard to see them being as good next season. JoFo was a very good point guard and Pollock was a solid pivot. With all 3 incoming recruits likely to redshirt it will only be this year's redshirt, SG Coombs to come into the rotation and he's still a fairly raw prospect for a guard, though his quicks should help him compete.
The team is already Bittner's team, but that will be even more of the case next season. He's played exclusively PF so far, but may be asked to transition to C depending on who else wins a starting position. The most likely candidates are returninng defensive, glue-guy Chavis (RS JR SF/PF). Boom, 5-star recruit Gregory(FR SF?/PF), or Zeng (RS FR C). Regardless of who starts it seems likely Bittner will have to play at least some C next year, and the 4 of them will get the lion's share of the minutes at SF/PF/C.
Mott will play one of the guard positions, but its not obvious whether he will be joined by Hoffman(RS SO PG/SF?) or Steeter(RS FR SG).
Goss (RS JR SF) will also duel with Hoffman for minutes at bSF. Goodwin (RS FR PF) and Coombs (FR SG) are likely to be fringe contributors.
Will that be enough to compete in LL2? The conference looks to be stacked with experienced managers next season so it should be tough competition every night.
Apr 04 2033: 2032 Season Review (III.2) - by naph on July 27th, 2023
It should be noted that this team had an improbably healthy season. All 5 starters played all 49 games.
The Gaels had a fairly successful OOC going 8-2. Both losses were in the D1RT (Redlands & Central Arkansas), but there were some decent wins as well against Roanoke, Columbia and Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Conference play started with a suprise win over preseason favourites (and eventual III.2 winners) SUNY Brockport. But a pair of 2-point road losses either side of a home win dulled their momentum. Saint Mary's won 9 of their next 11 and looked to be a promotion contender. A 56-93 drubbing at the hand of SUNY Brockport seemed to require some soul searching as the Gaels then lost 4 of the next 6 after that loss. 3 of the next 4 were home wins, but a 23 point road loss to New Orleans and a 3 point home loss to UPR Rio Piedras cemented their position mid-table, even though they would win their final 3 conference games. 7th place in a very competitive III.2
Wins over Iona and BYU set up a 3rd encounter with UPRRP, but it was a 3 point loss for the 3rd time in the same season that sent the Gaels to sweat on the bubble.
Eventually the Gaels heard their name called as the #13 seed in the Midwest. III.2 would send an impressive 7 teams (SUNY Brockport, North Carolina Central, UPR Rio Piedras, Columbia, Prairie View A&M, Azusa Pacific and Saint Mary's) to the tournament.
And what a tournament it was!
W 95 - 82 #20 Texas Christian
W 87 - 91 SUNY Canton
W 100 - 83 Ohio
W 85 - 94 #11 Methodist University
W 83 - 78 #8 Prairie View A&M
L 95 - 99 (ot) #1 Seton Hall
Head coach Billy Ray Finch announced his retirement prior to the Elite Eight.
Wen Xu went on an absolute tear - 27.2p (.560/.510/.962) 5.5r 1.5a 1.2s, He was well supported by Z-Bit - 17.8p (.609) 8.2r 2.3b and JoFo - 13.4p 9.5a. Mott averaged 13.0p (.492/.452/.857) to keep things ticking over even when Xu Sat. An incredible run against great teams.
The Gaels were up double digits in the final. It was a back-and-forth tussle at the end of the second half. Xu found Grove in the corner for the tying three that sent the game to OT, but the Pirates made the crucial baskets and stops late in OT to pull out the win.
Ultimately defeat, but an epic finish to the greatest tournament run in the college's history.
The Gaels' first international prospect in some time showed some flashes in his red-shirt year, but could only manage a minor role as the bSG (7mins/g) as a freshman. In his sophomore year he split the starting role with Grove as the starting SF, averaging 12.6ppg in 25.6 mins/g. It was already apparent that he was developing into a scoring threat and his ability to jump passing lanes made up for some of his defensive deficiencies. He was a full time starter as a junior switching back and forth between SG and SF for match up purposes. His 20.1p 4.5r 1.5a 1.5s was good enough for an All Conference reserve selection. As a senior he took his game to another level averaging 22.7p 3.9r 2.4a 1.5s mostly from SG. He had a well-rounded offensive game, and by his senior year was a .401 shooter from behind the arc. Ferocious on the glass, especially for a SG and possessed a very solid handle. Initially a liability, he worked hard at becoming a better defender and his strength and quicks helped him become a decent defender by the time of his graduation. Leaned into his surname and used Cristiano Ronaldo's Siuu celebration extensively. The Gael Force will miss the "Zooo!" chants in McKeown next year.
Wen finishes 4th on the Gaels all time scoring list (2707) and set the single season points record his senior season(1126), the first Gael to eclipse 1000 points in a season. 2nd in FT%, 5th in FTM & 3PM, 6th in 3P%, 10th in Steals. He also finishes 2nd in career POTG awards (38) after setting the Gaels single season record (22).
A true glue guy. He was a solid defender from early in his career, with a decent passing game. His offense took a little bit longer to come along, but he was a decent scorer working his way up to 10.8ppg as a senior. His skill set complemented Xu's well and he would often switch positions on the wing to get the tougher defensive assignment. By his senior year his post game was more polished and it became clear that SF was his best position. It was a luxury to have a player with his talents be the 4th option on offense. He had four 20+ games as a senior. He kept the locker room loose, sacrificed for others on and off the court, a true Gael.
Grove finished with 1380 points, 418 rebounds, 319 assists, 186 steals.
His rebounding, defense and mobility saw him playing 15 minutes as a freshman, almost 24 as a sophomore even before he was a regular starter. Whilst his finishing eventually became adequate his post-game and jump shot remained an adventure. Set a great screen, but spent his whole career huffing and puffing, never enjoying playing at the tempo that Xu wanted to run. Will graduate 4th in rebounds(1569), 3rd in blocks(234), added 184 steals and, impressively for a non-scorer, 7th in +/-.
Zachary Bittner (137 -> 159 = +22)
Jonathan Fontaine (154 -> 172 = +18)
Ira Mott (145 -> 161 = +16)
Alan Goodwin (97 -> 110 = +13)
Kelly Steeter (114 -> 126 = +12)
Leonard Hoffman (112 -> 123 = +11)
Wen Xu (171 -> 181 = +10)
Cliff Chavis (125 -> 135 = +10)
Actually a change! Brian Jorgensen moved on and became an assistant at Georgia State where he has a decent shot to be a head coach some day. Fare well Brian! His replacement was 26yo Ned Dalton, who's yet to really show much. There are rumours are that he's not enjoyed the travel part of the job, especially relating to recruiting.
Billy Ray Finch used the Elite Eight press conference to announce his retirement. The 61 year old wanted to go out on top. Whilst the Gaels didn't promote this year it was certainly a memorable season. The Gaels had only ever made 2 Elite Eights and 1 Final Four. They fell just short but it was a run for the ages all the same.
Flaherty remains the primary motivator/recruiter. Scales is widely tipped to be the front-runner for the head coach position as he continues to run the defense, is the lead tactician and head of development.
Despite most eyes being elsehwere, in late November Lucas Coombs (2* 6' PF PG SF sg 109/10) was the first commit for the season. Whilst he has logged minutes at all 5 positions in HS, he is projected to ply his lightning quicks, already impressive range and developing perimeter defense exclusively at SG in college. His handle and drive are developing, which will diversify his game, but it will mostly be about opening up the 3-ball.
All eyes were on the next prospect however, especially once he was re-rated up to 5-star and the late attentions of and returned interest in Humboldt State. For the Gaels faithful it was eventually worth the wait though as in late February they celebrated the commitment of Theo Gregory (5* 6' 8" C PF 119/13). He already has some post game and rebounds well. He projects as a great defender. There are some question marks over how he'll fit in with Z-Bit as they're potentially both natural PF's, but the talent is undeniable and the fans in Moraga can't wait to see how he develops.
III.2 was an absolute meat grinder this year, but its unlikely to get much easier next season. The Gaels lose 3 starters (SG/SF/C), but the 2 they are returning PG JoFo and PF Z-Bit are both very good. Ira Mott looks more than ready to step in at SG.
After that things get a bit more interesting.
Does 5-star Theo Gregory start from day one?
Pollock will be a senior next year and seems a likely candidate to start at C. He's a mobile, rim-protector who has scored efficiently off the bench his whole career.
Dion Goss the presumptive SF-in-waiting has not yet developed as hoped.
Does Z-Bit more from PF?
Versatile defender and rebounder Cliff Chavis could perhaps learn to play on the wing?
Regardless of who starts the Gaels should once again be competitive. How competitive? That probably depends on how often JoFo can get Z-Bit the ball in the paint.
Mar 27 2032: 2032 Season Review III.2 - by naph on May 31st, 2023
The season started with 4 wins, but once again the D1RT competition proved a little too tough. A 1-2 D1RT record and another loss to long-time rivals CSUDH meant that the Gaels carried a 7-3 record into conference play.
Conference play was an up-and-down rollercoaster.
3-1. A narrow home win over North Carolina Central.
3-3. Tough 1 point los to MIT missing 3 go-ahead attempts in the last minute.
5-3. 20 point win over last sesaon's co-promotee PVAM.
5-7. Single digit losses to Illinois and SUNY Brockport and blown out by Marist.
9-7. 3 solid wins and a 1 point squeakwer at home over Southwest Minnesota State.
10-11. A dominant win over Azusa Pacific, but 4 big losses, including to bottom of the ladder Muhlenberg.
12-13. lopsided games in each direction.
14-13. A pair of big home wins to right the ship.
14-15. 2 tight losses had the Gaels in 11th and on the brink of relegation.
15-15. It came down to the last day of the regular season and the Gaels triumphed over Southwest Minnesota State by enough to jump from 11th to 9th in the conference and stave off relegation.
A run to the CT semi-finals through Azusa Pacific, and top-seeded Marist (who were resting their starters) came to an end at the hands of SUNY Brockport. The Gaels led for most of the semi-final, but eventually fell 81-84. Ending their season.
McCallum started for 3 years. He had a solid jump shot shot. Developed into a very good positional defender on the perimeter, and had a strong passing game. His handles let him down at times resulting in too many turnovers. He wasn't the quickest, but could run all day. All conference as a junior. He maxed out his talent, but that happened earlier than expected, which left everyone wanting more.
Hunter "Archangel" Serra - 6' 10½" 225lbs PF c (148/11)
Serra struggled to find minutes for 3 seasons, then broke out as a senior. He developed into a surprise #3 option on offense as a senior starter at power forward. A mobile defender. He could do a lot of things at a reasonable level and had the smarts to turn that into an efficient senior year.
Zachary Bittner (117 -> 137 = +20)
Jonathan Fontaine (136 -> 154 = +18)
Wen Xu (154 -> 171 = +17)
Jeff Grove (142 -> 156 = +14)
Ira Mott (131 -> 145 = +14)
Cliff Chavis (113 -> 125 = +12)
More of the same in the coaching ranks. Billy Ray Finch is openly discussing his retirement, but is yet to let go of the whistle. Jorgensen runs the offense. Flaherty is the motivator/recruiter. Scales runs the defense, is the tactician and head of development.
It was a long wait in 2032. Just after Christmas, Kelly Steeter (3* 6' 1" 170 SF PG sg 114/12) was a late present to get the class started. He projects as a three point shooting wing that disrupts passing lanes.
When the main wait was finally over it was Shawn Warden(5* 6' 4" 185 PF C sf 123/13) breaking hearts of the Gaels faithful as he committed to Colorado College. The Gaels seemed to have led on Warden since his sophomore season, but that pursuit didn't end the way Saint Mary's fans wanted.
On the last day of January the Gaels made an addition to the frontcourt stocks in the form of Les Zeng (3* 6' 10½" 200 C 113/10). Zeng's a traditional big. Post-scorer, rebounder and rim-protector. He's reasonably mobile and has good hands. Doesn't do a lot else, but he won't need to if he sticks to the big man skills.
Early Feburary the class was closed with Alan Goodwin (3* 6' 2½" 190 PF SF c 99/12). He'll be a slightly undersized PF that scores in the post, defends and rebounds. He's a bit of a late bloomer and the Gaels only got an in after UNLV filled all of their scholarships.
The Gaels should be competitive next season. Fontaine is ready to step in at PG. Xu is coming off a 20ppg season, can score from anywhere and frequently will. Grove is a defensive, glue-guy that with a developing inside game and options as a secondary playmaker. Bentley returns to anchor the defense and clean the glass.
The shiny new piece will be Zachary Bittner. The 4-star freshman may have champed at his red-shirt season, but he brings an already polished post game, some slashing and rebounding. SMC haven't had a 4-year starter in a long time, not since Toby Henry, but Bittner looks like he just might be the next man up. Chavis and Pollock have both been reasonable, but neither have Bittner's upside and he looks likely to outperform them both from day one. A lot of the Gaels' season will hinge on how much he grows and how quickly he adapts to the college game.
The bench should again be at least 9 deep with Mott (SG/PG), Goss (SG/SF), Chavis (PF/C) and Pollock (C/PF) all proven contributors. Hoffman (SF/PG) comes off his redshirt year as the rawest player, but he has good size and emerging passing game and should find regular minutes as well.
Xu will be the primary option. Can Bittner handle being a #2 option from the get go? He might have to. Fontaine and Grove will provide tertiary scoring options and Bentley will continue to score predominantly on put-backs and bunnies, as well as the occasional elbow jumper. Overall the Gaels should be a bit better on offense, a bit worse on defense, but probably a bit better overall.
Mar 29 2031: 2031 Season Review (IV.3) - by naph on April 6th, 2023
The season after demoting can always be tough. The Gaels went out and scheduled some of the best teams in the country including (#2 ETSU and #24 Columbia) and that resulted in a 1-5 start to the season. Home wins over Ripon and Saint Louis were more encouraging. A disappointing loss to Winston-Salem State was arguably the lowest point of the season, but getting the 102-100 win over long-time rival Cal State Dominguez Hills salvaged the OOC for many fans.
Seaton would start conference play injured and possibly contributed to the early home loss to PVAMU. The Gaels got rolling once he was healthy though racing to a 10-1 start. They kept rolling and would finish with a 26-4 record in conference play. The only losses were Franklin, @BYU and @Eckerd. The Gaels dominated several categories in the conference. Points (90.0), eFG%(.565), Rebounds(37.8), +/- (+15.8). All whilst posting top 3 numbers in several defensive categories as well.
26-4 was good enough to win the conference, the Gaels first trophy in division 1. They looked primed to do the double and clinch an elusive conference tournament trophy, but a late collapse saw Franklin cut down the nets.
Awarded with a 6-seed in the national tournament the Gaels would make their first appearance since 2028. There they would face the Niagara Purple Eagles. The Eagles were led by 6' 9½" SG Jayden Calloway who torched the Gaels for 40 points. Byers had 8p 6to on 3/18 shooting in reply. Seaton fouled out in 19 minutes and the Gaels fell 79-103.
A disappointing end to an otherwise great season for the Gaels.
Vow loved bombing away from deep regardless of the game plan. Once the coaching staff understood that fact it became easier to gameplan around. Started as a junior and senior and became the team's leading scorer both years. Whilst his defense wasn't amazing his quicks often made up for it.
Nathan "Kodiak" Seaton - 6' 10½" 260lbs C PF 170/12
A stretch big who could play PF or C equally well. Often wanted to drift out towards SF, and probably had the skills to pull that off too. We'll certainly miss his size, rebounding and ability to score from anywhere.
Will "WilT" Thompson - 6' 8" 230lbs PF c 155/11
WilT was a little bit passive and his conditioning limited his minutes. It was a shame as he was a prodigy in the post, with enough versatility to his offensive game to keep his defender guessing. Became respectable in other facets of his game and he too will be missed.
More of the same in the coaching ranks, but rumours abound of Billy Ray Finch considering retirement. Jorgensen runs the offense. Flaherty is the motivator/recruiter. Scales runs the defense and is the tactician and head of development.
It was a long wait, but in early February both the team's targets committed.
A long pursuit was jeopardised when another suitor appeared but eventually Leonard Hoffman (3* 6' 6" 190 PF C pg 103/12) committed to the Gaels. He looks to be a SF with great playmaking skills, so much so he might even get some run at PG.
Zachary Bittner (4* 6' 4" 175 C 117/13) burst onto the recruiting scene his senior year and Gaels jumped on him early. He's a late bloomer who's likely to top out around 6' 8-9". Expect him to score in the post, rebound, and maybe slash a bit when he does see the court.
Three starters (SG, PF, C) have played their last competitive game in McKeon Pavilion, but they did carry the Gaels back to III.3 for 2032.
McCallum will be back at PG and is likely to be joined by Xu in the backcourt. He beat out Grove for SF this year, but Grove looks primed to move back into the starting 5.
The all new frontcourt will be redshirt senior Serra who has certainly waited his turn. As well as redshirt junior Bentley, who essentially played a 6th man type of role in the frontcourt this season.
The bench will be bookended by Fontaine and Pollock who will be redshirt sophomores. The other three positions will be the trio of Mott (SG), Goss (SF) and Chavis (PF) who are all coming off their redshirt year.
The team looks to be fairly deep, but is lacking a top end talent to put them over the top. Scoring could be a problem, though the team should be better defensively overall, particularly in the frontcourt. Goal will probably be just to consolidate in LL3. Avoid demotion and build for the year after.