Fordham Basketball is 2-3 and looking “Ok”

When you asked anyone at Fordham University if there basketball team would start out with a 2-3 record. Most would say you are crazy. The reason is because they have only won 5 games in the past two years. But now, they have a new identity and they are looking ok as they go into their game against Harvard tonight in Massachusetts.

There are key reasons why they are 2-3 and not 1-4 or 5-0.

1. The inconsistency

This team has been inconsistent all season. That is totally fine because the team is young and new. They have a new staff and a bunch of players, new and old learning a type of basketball they haven’t played before.

Let me start off with the turnover rate. They started the first two games against Brown and Sacred Heart with a low turnover rate. They turned the ball over 10 against Brown and then 14 against Sacred Heart. Then it got worse. They turned the ball over against Hampton, LIU, and Hartford a total of 58 times and an average of almost 20 turnovers a game. They cannot allow that to happen in the future.  One player in particular to look at is Chris Gaston. He has 26 turnovers and has been giving the ball to the other team which has led to more buckets at the other end rather than in favor of Fordham.

Next is the players shooting percentages. They have been good and then awful. Freshman guard, Branden Frazier shot 2-12 from downtown and then the next game he shoots 6-9 and scores 24 points. That shooting percentage cannot be that drastic. Same goes for Brenton Butler. He shot 4-7 from downtown and selected his shots well and then shot 2-10 from downtown in a losing effort. The shot selection needs to get better so they can win more games. If the team shoots in the 30% range for the game, they are bound to lose.

2. Alberto Estwick



This guy deserves this key to success because of the way he has handled himself this year. He has really been key to this teams victories and fight. If you would have asked me how Alberto would succeed this year, I would have said he needs to come off the bench. But that is not the case. He has become a complete ball player. He is averaging 13.6 pts per a game, 2 assists, 6 rebounds, and is shooting 39% from downtown. Those are fantastic stats and it really has shown how much he has improved under Tom Pecora. To be able to be the leader on the floor and hit the outside jumper which he had problems with the past few seasons has made him so valuable. He understands what it means to be a guard that rebounds  and a complete player on both sides of the floor. Without him, i don’t think the Rams have these 2 early wins.

3. Rebounding and Defense

When Tom Pecora came to the Rose Hill Gym he always mentioned that he would bring the defensive presence that Fordham really needed. He has brought that energy and that defense to this team. This team is only allowing 63 ppg to opponents and that is 105 best in the country. That is a huge step up from last year when they were near last in that category. They also have the 6th Best Rebounding Margin int he country! THE 6TH! Last year they were dead last in this category but with the improvement in the frontcourt it has led to this success. The average 41.6 rebounds a game while the other team only gets around 29.6 a game. The key to these great stats is from the play of Marvin Dominique and Kervin Bristol. Junior, Kervin Bristol is the first player since Bryant Dunston to be a huge force in the paint. He has really done a great job with around 2 blocks in the paint to be able to tell opponents not to come into the lane. Freshman Marvin Dominique has been huge on the boards. He is averaging 8.8 rebounds a game but has had 3 straight double-digit rebound games to make his mark in the paint. This team has gone from soft to one of the toughest teams in the Atlantic 10. As always, Chris Gaston leads the team in Rebounding with 13 rebounds a game and 2 blocks a game to keep that success he had since freshman year.

4. Staying out of Foul Trouble

This team has also been staying out of Foul Trouble. They are 3rd in the nation in only having 14 fouls per a game. Chris Gaston has not been fouling and has been staying in the game along with Bristol and Dominique. These big guys are learning how to play good defense without fouling and it means that the other team is not allowed to get to the free throw line and hit free shots. They are helping themselves out than hurting themselves.

5. Lack of Free Throw percentage

This team has been shooting poorly from the line and it shows because they have definitely lost some games because of it. They are shooting 59% from the line and if they want to win more games they cannot do that. They won the Hartford game on Saturday because they shot 85% from the line. But with Dominique, Bristol, and Gaston shooting such poor percentages it could cost them points and W. They need to practice more at the line because down the stretch when the game matters, you need to hit those shots to win ball games especially in the A-10 season.

6. Lack of Depth

This lack of depth is going to kill the Rams all season long. I have no idea what Tom Pecora and his staff are doing. You have 14 players on your roster and you don’t play them. To have a 7 man rotation throughout the season is going to hurt them down at the end of the season and while wins matter, you need to find a rotation. What happens when Bristol and Dominique get in foul trouble. What about Frazier and Butler? Who comes in then. Nothing has happened like that yet, but when it does, it will kill the Rams and they will need some help from guys like Alihodzic, Green, Moquette, Freeman, and Gordon to step up.

…this team has looked new and improved and what Pecora has implanted into their minds has been working and their work ethic and mindsets are completely different. They could get back to .500 but it is going to take some hard work on both ends of the floor to win the game and not turn the ball over. If they don’t turn it over and hit their free throws, they can win the game tonight and the rest of the season. It’s a long season, but these first games have shown some promise for the Rams…

     
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