Team preview: Iona

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

Jeff Ruland doesn't bother wasting his time doing
the math.

It's not worth his effort trying to quantify what his Iona basketball team lost from a squad that finally fulfilled its promise and won the MAAC Tournament and gave eventual Final Four participant LSU quite a run before falling, 80-64, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Try 5,042 points, the No. 2 scorer in school history (Steve Burtt Jr., 2,034 points), the highest scoring backcourt in the country last season in Burtt (25.2 ppg) and Ricky Soliver (16.1 ppg), the MAAC Defensive Player-of-the-Year (Soliver), the only player in school history with four 100 assist seasons (Marvin McCullough) and leading rebounder (8.6 rpg) and MAAC All-Tournament Team selection Kiril Wachsmann.

"Most people would be in a panic," Ruland said. "We lost a great deal on and off the court, but we've got a lot of talent."
Talent that Ruland, the former NBA All-Star, is eager to mold.

"I'm excited," Ruland said. "The guys that I've got all want to be coached."

They will need to be, because most college basketball teams do not win on talent alone. Teamwork and discipline are keys that usually take time to develop.

"That's my job, that's what I get paid to do," Ruland said. "There's no doubt in my mind that at the end of the year we will be able to give the top teams in our league a run for their money."