Team preview: Fordham

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Halfway through their collegiate careers, it's time for Fordham's version of the Fab Five to really come into their own.

Head coach Dereck Whittenburg oversaw a team that won just six games his first season, and then he and his staff got cracking on the recruiting trail. That first full crop of recruits began to blossom in 2005-06 -- leading the Rams to the Atlantic 10 semifinals -- and now Whittenburg is ready to harvest even more success.

"That was our first official class. And I think that you try to pat yourself on the back. But I think if you work hard enough, you get lucky. I think that we worked extremely hard and got pretty lucky," said Whittenburg, whose team earned its most conference wins (nine) since joining the A-10.

"I hope that our experience paid off. We went through two years of just trying to get where we're competitive, and we think we've done that. And now you've just got to continue to improve on that. Hopefully, now we've got some juniors in our program that have been through the wars a couple of years, and hopefully that'll help us."

Whittenburg is also banking on last year's postseason success being a boon for the Rams.

"I think that once you make a run like that, with relatively a young team, I think it's got to help us psychologically and mentally," said the coach who also led a turnaround at
Wagner from 1999-2003. "Hopefully that carries on. For where we were, and to be two games from having a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament, it's huge psychologically. Hopefully we can take that experience and it can help us this year."