Phil Martelli Interview: Part B

In the second part of our interview series with Hawk head coach Phil Martelli, we will examine Saint Joseph's roster for the 2012-2013 campaign. Martelli offers insight into the Hawks' three freshmen while also discussing the offseason progress of the returning players. He also talks about why he was "positively disappointed" by the way last season played out.

The first member of the 2012 recruiting class for Saint Joseph's was 6'7 forward Isaiah Miles out of Baltimore, Maryland. At 6'7, Isaiah is a true combo forward, according to his coach. "Isaiah is really interesting because he will compete for both spots (both forward spots)," Martelli began. "We are working him a little with the perimeter guys and a little with the frontcourt guys." In the frontcourt, according to Martelli, he would be in the mix for playing time with C.J. Aiken, Ron Roberts, and Halil Kanacevic On the wing, he would be competing with Daryus Quarles and Papa Ndao.

Martelli went more in depth on Miles, discussing the process for him of getting acclimated to college basketball. "At first, he tiptoed around, not wanting to make any mistakes," stated Martelli. "But he just had his fourth week, and it was his best week so far."

The second player to join the Hawks' 2012 recruiting class was 6'1 Ohio point guard Kyle Molock. Molock initially committed to Purdue, but reopened his recruitment and committed to the Hawks following an official visit last fall. "He'll do things that make your eyes pop out," Martelli said about his freshman point guard. "You look at him and he doesn't look like a freshman. He has great strength and a terrific work ethic," elaborated Martelli. "His stroke is a little quirky, but we're working on that. His work ethic is a clone of Langston (Galloway)."

In the past two years, Kyle has torn the ACL in both of his knees. As a result, he is not participating in any summer league action, or any contact drills at the moment. "We won't be doing anything with contact, no 3-on-3, no 5-on-5 until at least the middle of August, when the doctors clear everything," Martelli stated. If he returns to full health, Kyle will be in the mix for minutes in the backcourt alongside Carl Jones, Langston Galloway, and Chris Wilson.

The final member of Saint Joseph's 2012 recruiting class s is German native Javon Baumann. The 6'8 post player is, according to Martelli, "exactly what we thought he would be right now." The coach went on, saying, "He's going to need a year, which we figured. We need to work on his conditioning, but he's a really big kid and carries good weight. He soaks things up like a sponge."

Isaiah Miles, Kyle Molock, and Javon Baumann were not members of last season's 20-win club. When reflecting back on the 2011-2012 season, the term that Martelli has been using with the team is "positively disappointed." "We led in 11 of our 14 losses in the second half," Martelli explained. "Why is that? Is it poor planning by me? Is it that maybe someone outworked us last July? Is it emotional? Or is it the idiosyncrasies of basketball? I don't have an exact answer."

While the season did not end the way that he had hoped, Martelli said that there was a balance between being positive and being disappointed, hence the term "positively disappointed." "We were one of nine teams in college basketball that went from 20 losses to 20 wins last year."

Two juniors on this team's rosters that have impressed Martelli so far this offseason are wing Daryus Quarles and high-flying forward CJ Aiken. "Daryus has been really good. I just talked with him, since his summer session is finishing up," said Martelli. "I told him that he had two plays. He could keep going forward, and keep working hard, or he could go back to Paulsboro (NJ) and be the big man on campus." Quarles averaged 5 points per game as a sophomore and is looking to take the next step this season, as he will be competing with Papa Ndao and Isaiah Miles for minutes at the wing spot.

Junior forward CJ Aiken averaged roughly 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game during his sophomore season. Still, looking at Aiken, with his combination of length, timing, and athleticism, there seems to be significant room for improvement. "CJ, like Daryus, is walking around a little differently, with more confidence," Martelli remarked. "Still, it's one thing to do it in July and another to do it when you get punched in the chest in November."

In addition to Aiken and Quarles, the Hawks return every other player from last season's team. Chris Wilson will look to make a jump into his sophomore year, as will wing Papa Ndao. Ron Roberts, Halil Kanacevic, and Langston Galloway will all be entering their junior years, while Tay Jones will be the team's lone senior.

While the ending of the 2011-2012 season certainly left a bitter taste in the mouth of the coaches, players, and fans, there is reason to be optimistic entering the 2012-2013 campaign. And due to a new NCAA rule, Martelli, as well as assistant coaches Mark Bass, Geoff Arnold, and Dave Duda, are permitted time in the offseason to work with the team. "It's been great, not only for individual improvement but for team-building," Martelli said of the new offseason workout regulations which allow each player 8 weeks of 2-hours-a –week practice. One term that Martelli used for these workouts was "non-threatening," since they are well before the official beginning of the college season. He also noted how beneficial these workouts were for the freshman class.

In the third part of Hawk Hill Hardwood's interview with Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli, he discusses the two upcoming recruiting classes and what the staff is looking for. Martelli also discusses the new texting law as well as the new April Live Period. Check back tomorrow for the third and final installment of the interview with the head Hawk.

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