Javon Baumann started 30 games as a sophomore on Hawk Hill, averaging nearly 20 minutes per game. Last year, Phil Martelli opted to start freshman Pierfrancesco Oliva in the middle alongside stretch forward Isaiah Miles, and Javon's minutes dipped all the way down to just over 4 per game.. That small-ball recipe was one for success however, as the Hawks won the Atlantic 10 tournament and an opening-round NCAA tournament game.
With the graduation of Isaiah Miles and bench forward Papa Ndao, in addition to the season-ending injury to Oliva, many thought that Baumann would return to his starting role. That hasn't been the case this season, as Phil Martelli has opted to start redshirt sophomore Markell Lodge in the middle alongside freshman wing Charlie Brown. While he is coming off the bench this year in his final season at St. Joe's, his minutes are nearly what they were when he started.
Through five games this year, Baumann is averaging 17 minutes per contest, which is actually a minute more than Markell Lodge is playing as a starter. Prior to the start of the season, I spoke with Hawk assistant coach Dave Duda about the entire roster, and his words on Javon Baumann were intriguing.
"I think the challenge is wanting more individually from him in his final go-round," Duda began. "We need more. He needs to think more. Needs to believe in himself that there is more to give in his senior year. We're really hoping for that senior finish."
Javon has been solid in his role off the bench this year. Heading into the Temple game Wednesday, he is averaging 3.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, in those 17 minutes. Against a big, strong, talented NC State frontcourt, Javon had 4 points and 4 boards in 18 minutes. When the Hawks are playing teams with bigger bodies up front this year, like say a VCU, look for Javon to get significant minutes. Against smaller teams, it is likely that Markell Lodge will have the slight advantage.
As the lone senior on the team, Javon Baumann has seen it all. He has won two Atlantic 10 tournament titles. He's been to the NCAA tournament twice. He's also been a part of a 2014-2015 team that struggled mightily. If he is able to have that "senior finish" that Coach Duda alluded to, it will help the Hawks in his final season.
Tomorrow, we will have our second-to-last profile, on freshman forward Lorenzo Edwards. Then Wednesday we will wrap it up with fellow freshman Gerald Blount. That takes us right into Wednesday's Big 5 clash against Temple at Hagan Arena.