Season in Review: Men’s basketball

Guard Kris O'Connor is one of four seniors that will be graduating this year. Men's basketball finished the 2015-16 season with a 9-16 overall record (6-12 NJAC). The team will feature a balance of rookie and veteran players next season. -File Photo

Although the Rowan men’s basketball team’s season ended last week with a loss to William Paterson, head coach Joe Cassidy still hasn’t gotten a day off.

For Cassidy and the remaining Profs players, preparations for next season began the day after their final 85-65 loss. Only four of the 15 players currently on the roster are graduating seniors, so Rowan will return the bulk of its lineup for Cassidy’s 21st season as head coach.

However, they will be without Chris Gross and Dan Brogan, two top frontcourt players, and Kris O’Connor, their best wing guard, who was named an All-Conference honorable mention. That means Cassidy will have several needs to address this offseason.

“We’re definitely going to need to get some new recruits in here,” Cassidy said. “We’ve been out all over the place every day this week [looking at recruits], and we’ll be all over the place next week as well.”

Junior colleges and high schools across New Jersey start playoffs this week, and next week marks the beginning of the NJSIAA State Tournament.

“So you have to win three games in a week just to stay alive,” Cassidy added. “It gets kind of hectic in terms of recruiting stuff, but we’ll have more time as teams get eliminated.”

NCAA rules prevent coaches from discussing recruits before they sign letters of intent, but Cassidy said he is excited about the guys the team has been talking with. He also said he believes they will help out with the some of the biggest issues that led the team to a 9-16, 6-12 NJAC record.

“It was a very disappointing season,” Cassidy said. “Obviously we need to rebound better, and we need to get some size. We shot a lot of threes, but we ended up less than 33 percent on the year, and that’s kind of the minimum. So we also need to improve our shooting, and we need to improve our shot selection . . . I’m going to discuss that with the rest of the coaching staff at our offseason meetings.”

Not all of these needs have to be addressed through recruiting, however.

The brown and gold are returning with twin brothers and guards Nick and Rob DePersia, who will be entering their sophomore seasons and were two of only three players to start in every game this season. The twins finished the year top five in scoring on the team, were first and second in assists and were in the top three in steals.

Forward Shawn Wilson, who led the team with 14.8 points per game and an All-Conference honorable mention, will be entering his senior year with the team. Forwards Gary Carthan, Josh Borrelli and TJ Booth were the top producers off the bench for the Profs and will be back for their final seasons.

Carthan contributed on the glass and from three, and said he is looking forward to playing a bigger role next season.

“Rebounding was our Achilles’ heel all season, so we have to improve on that, myself included,” Carthan said.

Even without knowing who else the team is bringing in, Gross said he believes the future of the team is bright.

“They’re going to be really good,” Gross said. “It’s a young team; they’re losing us four seniors, but they’re getting the bulk of the team back. I think they’re going to be a problem in the NJAC for the next three or four years.”

In order for that to happen, the Profs will have to play consistently good basketball, which they struggled with throughout this season. Cassidy said he knows the team has a lot of work to do, and he intends to make the changes needed for his team to shine.

“We’re looking to make vast improvements going into next year,” Cassidy said. “And I believe we will.”

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