State of the Hawks: 1/22 Edition

On Wednesday night, St. Joe's knocked off Penn at The Palestra in the second half of a Big 5 doubleheader to improve to 15-3 on the season. DeAndre Bembry paced the Hawks with 17 points and 8 rebounds in the 75-60 win. A full recap of that plus a number of recruiting updates are inside.

St. Joe's victory over Penn Wednesday night at The Palestra saw the Hawks improve to 15-3 on the year and 2-1 in the Big 5. St. Joe's holds Big 5 wins over Penn and Temple now, as well as a City 6 victory over Drexel. It was yet another balanced effort for the Hawks, with four starters in double figures. DeAndre Bembry was Mr. Do-It-All once again, compiling the type of stat line that NBA scouts love to see. Bembry finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and a block.

It was one of the first games of the season where foul trouble was an issue for the Hawks. Starting point guard Shavar Newkirk picked up two quick fouls in the first half, but freshman Lamarr Kimble more than held his own on a Palestra floor that he knows well from his days at Neumann-Goretti. The two point guards were brilliant Wednesday, with Newkirk tallying 11 points and 5 assists in 18 minutes while Kimble had 8 points and 6 boards in 22 minutes. Kimble went through a really tough stretch following the Temple game, but seems to be emerging from his slump. In the seven games between the Temple game and the Fordham game 'Fresh' had a combined 12 points on a combined 3-29 shooting. In the past two games he has a combined 18 points on 6-11 shooting. For the Hawks to continue winning, they will need Kimble to continue to play at this higher level.

Foul trouble wasn't limited to the backcourt, as senior Isaiah Miles also collected two early fouls. Miles fouled out in 25 minutes of action, still finishing with 13 points on 3-4 shooting from deep and 9 rebounds in his limited minutes.

One interesting development over the past three games has been a possible expansion of the rotation. Phil Martelli had appeared pretty set on an eight-man rotation with the starters and then James Demery, Papa Ndao/Pierfrancesco Oliva, and Lamarr Kimble off the bench. However, over the past three games, junior big man Javon Baumann has not only seen the floor, but been productive in his minutes. The 6'8 post played 11 minutes against George Mason, 7 against Fordham, then 7 Wednesday against Penn. He's not exactly lighting the scoreboard on fire, scoring just a combined two points in the three outings. However, he did a more-than-adequate job against two of the better bigs that the Hawks will face this year, in Mason's Shevon Thompson and Penn's Darien Nelson-Henry. If Baumann can continue to come off the bench in that role and give the Hawks' a ninth man, that could bode very well down the stretch this year.

With the win, the Hawks improved to 15-3 on the year, and currently rest at 33rd in RPI per the NCAA. The Hawks' two best RPI wins so far this year are Princeton at 72 and Temple at 89. Rhode Island (109), Virginia Tech (110), and Richmond are all just outside the Top 100. It would be a major boost for the Hawks' at-large resume if even two of those three teams could jump into the Top 100.

St. Joe's Saturday game at La Salle has been rescheduled for 5 o'clock on Sunday due to this weekend's impending snowstorm. A full preview of that will be up tomorrow.

St. Thomas More (CT) improved to 16-1 on the season this week with a win over West Point Prep. 2016 St. Joe's commit Charles Brown had a huge game last weekend in a win over Putnam Science Academy. The 6'6 and growing Brown had 19 points, including three triples in the game's first two minutes. St. Thomas More could be of continued interest to the Hawks, as STM senior guard Christian Vital could end up back on the recruiting market. Vital committed to UNLV over St. Joe's, Dayton, and more in the fall. With UNLV's firing of head coach Dave Rice, it's yet to be seen if Vital remains committed. He did not sign a Letter of Intent, so if he does reopen, he would not need any sort of release. If he does officially reopen, the Hawks would most certainly try to jump back in the fray.

On the recruiting front, a few new names have emerged on the radar. Last weekend, 6'6 Ridge View High (SC) guard Kaiden Rice took an unofficial visit to St. Joe's with his parents. Rice has the reputation of a plus shooter from deep. American and Cornell are among other schools involved. The Hawks have yet to offer. Another new 2017 is Tariq Simmons, a point guard out of Keenan (SC). The 6'2 guard has recent interest from Missouri, Clemson, St. Joe's, USC, VCU, Kansas State, and The Citadel, per Big Shots' Justin Byerly.

The Hawks have up to two scholarships remaining to use in 2016. If they use both, they will have two more to use in 2017. In 2016, there are still a few names out there, including Isaac Kante, Antwan Walker, and a few more. The transfer market could also be interesting when the season comes to an end, as a number of players that the Hawks recruited out of high school could up on the move. Having two more scholarships remaining in 2016 gives the coaching staff great flexibility this spring. It's worth keeping a close eye on.

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