#85 Iona Gaels: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Coming off a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Iona Gaels will once again rely on their up-tempo offensive attack to compete for a MAAC Championship and return appearance to the Big Dance.

IONA GAELS
Last Season: T-4th, 11-7 in MAAC, 20-14 overall
Predicted MAAC Finish: 2nd

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: David Laury (Sr)/Ryden Hines (Fr)/Daniel Robinson (Fr)
G/F: Tre Bowman (Sr)/Isaiah Williams (So)/Shackquiel Scott (Fr)
G/F: Mike Poole (Sr)/Kelvin Amayo (So)/Grant Ellis (Fr)
SG: Sean Armand (Sr)/A.J. English (Jr)
PG: Tavon Sledge (Jr)/DaShawn Gomez (Sr)

Gone: PG-MoMo Jones, F/C-Taaj Ridley, SG-Curtis Dennis, F-Nyandigisi Moikobu, F/C-Shawn Jackson (transfer)

2013-2014 Outlook:
Last year, the Iona Gaels faced the challenge of replacing star players Scott Machado and Mike Glover.  This season, Tim Cluess loses leading scorer MoMo Jones but returns plenty of talent led by sharpshooter Sean Armand and double-double man David Laury.

The physical Laury will hold down the fort inside since Cluess primarily uses a quicker, four guard offense.  He was a huge addition to the roster prior to MAAC play and will be leaned on even heavier this year since the only other post players on the roster are freshmen Ryden Hines and Daniel Robinson.

Armand assumes the role of go-to scorer and will be joined on the wing by Rutgers transfer Mike Poole and Tre Bowman.  Poole earned a waiver from the NCAA and becomes eligible to play right away.  He is more of a glue guy and his versatility is a welcomed addition as is his defensive prowess.

Bowman is technically the “power forward” of the team and he should take on a larger role this season due to his athleticism and ability to fill it up from the outside.  Tavon Sledge will be the maestro of the offense and has more Machado than MoMo to his game meaning he is more of a true point guard than scorer.

A.J. English had his 2012-13 campaign cut short due to a wrist injury but will be a valuable reserve since he can put up points in a hurry.  JUCO transfer Isaiah Williams is another great fit in Iona’s up-tempo offense since he is known for his scoring ability.  DeShawn Gomez and redshirt freshman Grant Ellis provide even more depth in the backcourt.  If Marshall transfer Kelvin Amayo is cleared to play immediately, there certainly won’t a shortage of offensive firepower off the bench.

Iona has been one of the highest scoring teams in the country the past couple of seasons and expect that to continue this year.  The Gaels figure to battle Manhattan for king of the MAAC mountain and if they can improve their defense, will once again be one of the more dangerous mid-major teams in the country.

Player to Watch: Sean Armand
After three years of being the bridesmaid for Iona, Armand finally get his chance to be the bride.  He finished sixth in the country in three-point makes last season and should get even more scoring opportunity with MoMo out of the equation.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/19 at Kansas
11/23 vs. George Mason
12/22 at Nevada
TBD at Northern Iowa
TBD vs. St. Bonaventure’s

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#88 Towson
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#91 Rutgers
#92 Drexel
#93 USC
#94 Charleston
#95 Seton Hall
#96 Vanderbilt
#97 George Mason
#98 Clemson
#99 Penn State
#100 Nebraska
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#104 DePaul
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#107 TCU
#108 Virginia Tech
#109 Georgia
#110 Utah
#111 Auburn

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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