``We're much more athletic than we were last year," Hart said. "Our guards may be small, but they're quick and tough and it'll make a huge difference defensively."
The game plan in stopping St. Andrew's starts with Providence-bound 6-8 senior power forward Jonathan Kale, who has made incredible improvement over the past year under Hart. Kale is playing with more passion and more confidence – and it's translated into a future Big East player.
Mike Gore, a 6-6 senior wing who recently committed to St. Peter's, will have more responsibility this season after waiting in the wings behind Demetris Nichols for his first two years and being more of a role guy last season.
Zerimar Ramirez is the other senior who should be key for St. Andrew's this year. He's a 6-6 power forward who rebounds, runs the court and will be a good get for some D-2 program.
However, Hart has plenty of young talent coming up through the ranks. Rakim Sanders is a 6-3 ½ sophomore who has already been offered a scholarship by Providence. Another sophomore, Joe Accaoui, is a big-time shooter who has terrific range for a kid only 5-8.
``If Rakim does what he's supposed to do, he can be as good as (Tony) Robertson and a little better than Nichols on the high school level," Hart said. "If he can pick up his work ethic, he can be one of the top three guys we've ever had here – because he does everything well."
Add in 5-8 sophomore floor leader Andrew Hanson and 6-3 junior wing Joe Odugbela into the mix and you get a program that will be good for years to come.
``We're going to be a lot more up and down this year," Kale said. "More run and gun. Last year we were more of a halfcourt team, but this year we're going to push the ball."
Much of that is due to the fact that Kale is in much better shape than he was a year ago at this time.
``He's a different player," Gore said of his teammate. "He lost a lot of weight and has a lot more leadership and passion. We lost three starters from last year, but we're going to be better."
Other players who should see time off the bench include senior wing Rafiu Adio, 6-1 junior wing Elijah Lidonde and a handful of freshman – Elijah Brown, Emanuel Odebela, Chris Owens, Mickey Lidonde and Sasha Brown.