Dan Hurley's club moves into the prep school poll this season, primarily because of fifth-year senior swingman J.R. Smith, and it jumps right in with a plethora of talent.
Smith is headed to North Carolina and has shown that his decision to give up playing football at Lakewood High (N.J.) and come to St. Benedict's was a good one – since he realized his dream of signing a letter-of-intent with the Tar Heels.
With the backcourt of Art Bowers and Bashir Mason gone, it'll be Smith's show – but he'll have plenty of help.
Versatile forward Alex Galindo, a 6-7, 195-pound senior forward from Puerto Rico who chose UTEP over a few Big East suitors, should have a big year as well.
``I expect both of those guys to have big years," Hurley said.
``We're going to have a couple of different personalities in the way we attack," added Hurley. "We'll be a loot more versatile at the forward positions and get a lot more consistency out of the center spot. We're going to play up-tempo like we usually do and we'll be an aggressive defensive team."
With the departure of sophomore Jawan Carter back to his home in Delaware, it'll likely be sophomore Eugene Harvey running the club. The 6-foot, 180-pound Brooklyn native is a big-time player who is also receiving looks from high-majors.
``He's going to be great for us," Hurley said. "He's a great passer who can handle it and he sets guys up on the court."
Junior Frank Tchuisi, a 6-9 center from Cameroon, will start in the middle and gives Hurley a guy who can run the court and block shots. The final starting spot will probably go to 6-3, 175-pound senior wing Jon Ezeokoli, a role player who can shoot and play defense and is in his third year with the program.
Hurley will being plenty of talent off the bench, including 6-6, 230-pound backup center Ismael Traore, a senior from Mali who adds toughness to the mix, and 6-4, 185-pound freshman wing Corey Stokes, a big-time player from Bayonne, N.J., who may be the top freshman in the state.
Junior guard Eric Moore (6-2, 180), senior power forward Anthony Martin (6-6, 220) and 5-7, 160-pound freshman floor leader Tashon Johnson will also battle for time.
St. Benedict's also added 6-2, 175-pound junior David Cubillan from Venezuela recently, one of the top u-and-coming players in the country.