November is here, which means Ram basketball is back at Suffolk University. Coach Adam Nelson is preparing a team of returning starters and fresh new faces into the lineup. The Rams finished 8-18 overall last year and ended as a seventh seed in the conference playoffs, only to be disappointed by losing in a first-round playoff game against Johnson & Wales.
All that is in the past, because Suffolk is reloaded and are strong contenders in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC). Will the Rams be able to handle the expectations, and what will the outcome of this season be: playoffs, average record, or maybe even better than expected?
Coach Nelson said he is looking forward to the season starting.
“We have the two best post players in the conference, and we have scary athletic wings,” said Nelson. “There is excitement.”
Two of the Ram’s guards who are expected to make an impact are senior Justin Barall and transfer junior Chris Torres. They also have an outstanding duo in juniors Matt Pepdjonovic and Colin Haplin.
“As a team we were what we were last year, but we expect to be more of a balanced team this year,” said Nelson. “Other teams will be uncomfortable in our half court game and we will be better at guarding the perimeter this year.”
The Rams three-point percentage was low last year, but they expect to be better at the free throw line to make up for it and play more physical in the paint this season. The team will also focus on less turnovers and improve their speed down the court.
Additionally, expect more rebounds from players besides Pepdjonovic, and more of a controlled spread out stat sheet for the players who have improved since last year.
“We want to make the playoffs again this year and this time get a top four seeding, so we can get a home (playoff) game,” said Nelson. “We can beat anybody at home.”
The Rams have many players to watch out for this season, and one of these players is freshman guard Raphy Medrano.
“He has another speed defensively and shoots well, he’ll be All-Conference in a few years, guarantee it,” Coach Nelson praised.
Assistant Coach Kevin Blake responded to the guarantee too. “Medrano will get there,” he said.
Coach Nelson has a message for his team for this upcoming season, “Bring it every game, we’re scary when we do, so bring it every game.”