Team preview: Stony Brook

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

Steve Pikiell won just four games in his first season at Stony Brook, so he and his staff went out and did something about it. They signed one of the best recruiting classes in mid-major basketball.

"We basically have a new team this year," said Pikiell, who expects to suit up six of the eight players from a group one recruiting analyst ranked 27th in the country (although it must be pointed out that two of the highest-rated players in the class -- guard Chris Martin and 7-2 center Rinny Ngot will not play this season).

"We really tried to upgrade our talent and we wanted to upgrade our athleticism and depth,'' Pikiell said.

The Seawolves needed to upgrade. They ranked last in the America East in eight major categories, including scoring (58.2 ppg), field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage, assists and rebounding margin, last season. And, in what may be one of the most amazing stats in Division I basketball, they dunked just four times all season. Suffice it to say
Stony Brook didn't turn up on SportsCenter highlight reels.

"It's a big step for us because I believe it's the first legitimate Division I recruiting class for us because we filled every position," Pikiell said of his new recruits. "I'm excited, but we have to bring in four straight Division I recruiting classes. This is just a start, but we've become more of what I wanted us to be."

Pikiell, a former point guard for Jim Calhoun at Connecticut and assistant on Karl Hobbs' staff at George Washington, wants Stony Brook to be an up-tempo team that plays aggressively on both ends of the floor. Instead of playing the typical seven- or eight-man rotation, his hope is to play 11 or 12 players and wear down opponents.

"We've got size at every position and I feel like we've improved and we'll be a much more competitive team," Pikiell said. "What people will not know about our team is that we are very fast, we're stronger, we're bigger and we're deeper."