In recent times, the general public is rarely happy with any decision made by the NCAA. However, most coaches, players and fans alike seem to be pleased with the new NCAA regulations over practice time on the college basketball hardwood.
Saint Joseph's will take advantage of the new regulations allowing teams to start practice 42 days before their first game as they'll hold their first practice of the new season on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on their practice court. The Hawks first game takes place on Saturday, November 9th at Vermont.
Despite outside expectations being a bit lower after a disappointing campaign last season, the pieces are certainly in place for the Hawks to be a player in the Atlantic 10 this season.
Saint Joseph's loses Carl Jones to graduation while C.J. Aiken opted to turn pro and will spend October in the training camp of the Sacramento Kings in an effort to make his NBA dreams a reality. However, the Hawks return several key pieces including seniors Langston Galloway, Halil Kanacevic and Ronald Roberts.
The earlier practice time could also be a help for some of the Hawks newcomers. There is a palpable buzz around Saint Joseph's freshman DeAndre Bembry, who is a wing player who picked up many accolades last season as he was a First-Team All-State player in New Jersey while also participating in the Jordan Brand Classic. Despite coach Phil Martelli's reluctance to give freshmen players big minutes, Bembry will likely force his way into a significant role in the Hawks rotation from day 1.
There is also excitement in the air about Kyle Molock as those close to the program expect the redshirt freshman to contribute in the Hawks backcourt this season. Molock has fought his way back after tearing the ACL in his right knee for the second time prior to last season.
As part of the new regulations, the Hawks will be allowed to practice for 30 days over the next 42 before the regular season gets underway. Saint Joseph's will hold practice on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week in addition to their opening Saturday practice. The practices on Thursday and Friday afternoon will be held on the floor of Hagan Arena and all Saint Joseph's practices are open to the public.
Over the coming weeks I will preview the Hawks non-conference schedule as well as prognosticate Saint Joseph's chances in a reconfigured Atlantic 10 this season.