FCIAC Preview / by CTHoopsNews

 

By: Sam Rubinstein (@_samruby) & Nate Rubinstein (@Nate_Rubinstein)

 

  • Bridgeport Central

2016 Record: 0-20, did not make Class LL tournament, did not make FCIAC tournament

Photo credit: News Times

Photo credit: News Times

Outlook: It was only 2014 when Central was crowned Class LL champs, but times have changed and so has the team’s success on the court. The Hilltoppers suffered through a very difficult season a year ago where they didn’t win any games. They only had 3 seniors, so they bring back a good amount of talent and experience. The brother tandem of junior Raquan Rilley and senior Dashon Rilley will be looked upon to be productive players again this winter. Senior Jordon Edmonds and Tyrese Spooner are also back.

 

  • Danbury

2016 Record: 23-4, lost in Class LL semifinals, lost in FCIAC championship

Outlook: Danbury enjoyed one of the best seasons in school history in 2016 when they made deep runs in both the Class LL and FCIAC tournaments. Marcus Fox was an First Team All FCIAC and Class LL Second Team selection as a junior last winter. Fox was one of the tougher guards in the conference a year ago and he won’t be any easier to stop as a senior. His strength and athleticism combined with excellent footwork and scoring out of the post makes him one of the top players in this league. Senior forwards Massiah Crandell and Titus James will also be big contributors as the Hatters look to get back to where they left off last year with their winning ways.

 

  • Darien

2016 Record: 7-14, lost in first round of Class LL tournament, did not make FCIAC tournament

Outlook: After barely sneaking into the state tournament last season, the Blue Wave is back and ready to crash back into championship contention. 6’8 big man, Alex Preston, was a Second Team All FCIAC selection as a junior and is poised for another dominant season. He’s been one of the better bigs in the league for the past few years and can really impact the game both offensively and defensively. He was also on the All FCIAC Defensive Team in 2016. Senior guard Carter Scott and junior guard Justin Jordan should be the two main components of the backcourt. Both know how to put the ball in the hoop and will be relied upon to score from the perimeter. 6’6 forward Jack Tierney should have also have a productive junior year. Watch for Darien to get back to double-digit wins and to make a postseason run.

 

  • Fairfield Ludlowe

2016 Record: 12-10, lost in first round of Class LL tournament, lost in first round of FCIAC tournament

Outlook: Ludlowe comes into this season losing some of their best players from last year’s team that qualified for the playoffs. Several players have transferred out to prep school, while other key pieces were lost to graduation. That being said, the Falcons will have a lot of new faces in important roles, and will be counted on to deliver. 6’9 senior big man Frank Lumaj is one returner that will have a little bit of varsity experience. Senior guard Aidan Kudzy will also need to be productive for the Falcons to get back to where they were last winter.

 

  • Fairfield Warde

2016 Record: 12-9, first round loss in Class LL State tournament, did not appear in FCIAC conference tournament.

Outlook: Not only does Giacomo Brancato have one of the coolest names in the FCIAC, he is also one of the better players. The 6’1 senior guard was an All FCIAC selection last year and is fun to watch. Crafty passing abilities along with strength and athleticism to score at the rim makes him a tough matchup for anyone that steps on the same court. Warde only lost 3 players to graduation, so along with Brancato, the Mustangs bring back a huge group of returners including senior guards Marcel Parsons, JJ Conway, and junior Antonio Brancato. Junior Sean Conway is a player everyone is excited about also. With the experienced roster that Warde has returning, they will definitely be back a team to watch in the FCIAC.

 

  • Greenwich

2016 Record:    12-9, lost in second round of Class LL tournament, did not make FCIAC tournament

Outlook: The Cardinals had a thrilling postseason last year when Connor Harkins hit a top of the key buzzer beater to upset Stamford in the first round of the Class LL tournament. At the same time, they didn’t qualify for the FCIAC tourney, so one of the goals this season will definitely to get back to that. Harkins will a be big reason for any Cardinal success in 2017. He was a First Team All FCIAC selection a year ago and is one of the most lethal shooters in the state. As soon as he crosses half court, you need to know where he is because he will hurt you whenever, wherever. He had an average of 4 made threes per game last season! Seniors Connor Langan and Robert Clark will also bring experience and talent to the floor as they will be important too.

 

  • Brien McMahon

2016 Record: 13-9, lost in second round of Class LL tournament, did not make FCIAC tournament

Outlook: Brien McMahon has a pure shooter in senior Eric Day. Day has proven that he can knock down shots from way beyond the arc, and will be an offensive threat for the Senators this year. Along with his 3-point ability, Day can drive by defenders and pull up from mid range. Another senior, Matt Saint-Louis, is a player to look out for on the Senator. Saint-Louis had a few breakout games last year, scoring in many different ways and bringing intensity on the defensive end. Look for Saint-Louis to be a main target on the McMahon roster in 2016-2017.

 

  • New Canaan

2016 Record: 4-16, did not make postseason play.

Outlook: Despite the rough season last year, New Canaan has some players returning that give them hope. Senior Tyler Sweeney will take over the lead for New Canaan this year after being awarded FCIAC All Second Team in 2015-2016. Sweeney is a long shooting guard standing at 6-foot-3 and is very talented with the rock. Jackson Selvala will also be a player to watch out for on the New Canaan roster as he returns for his junior campaign and will be looking to show that he can be a productive and reliable player.

 

 

  • Norwalk

2016 Record: 4-16, did not make postseason play.

Outlook: Norwalk has a couple of players that have a lot of potential after their contributions last season, getting recognized by the conference as players to watch. Senior guard DeAndre Russell may not be a stand out scorer for the team, but this year will be one of the primary ball handlers. Levaughn Lewis is a junior wing player that was also recognized by the FCIAC for his bright future. Lewis stands at 6-foot-3 and reached the double digit mark in multiple contests last year getting most of his buckets around the cylinder. Despite not making seeing any postseason action last year, the Bears will depend on their players that have experience under their belt to lead the way.

 

 

  • Ridgefield

2016 Record: 13-11, quarterfinal loss in Class LL State tournament, first round loss in FCIAC conference tournament.

Outlook: Ridgefield always seems to restock on talent, and they sure have plenty of returners that can lead them to a successful season this year. It all starts with senior Chris Longo who was named to the All FCIAC Second Team this year. The 6-foot-2 guard likes to get out on the break and score in transition. Along with Longo, the Tigers have 6-foot-4 junior forward Brenden McNamara and senior center Nick Laudati. Laudati will be controlling the paint with his 6-foot-8 presence.

 

 

  • St. Joseph’s

2016 Record: 10-12, second round loss in Class M State tournament, did not appear in FCIAC conference tournament.

Outlook: It was an off year for St. Joseph’s only amounting to 10 victories, but with senior Omar Telfer coming back, the Cadets will be back on track. Telfer is just shy of 6-foot and runs the point for St. Joe’s. Last season he averaged 16.2 points per game, along with 3.8 assists per contest. Don’t be surprised if Telfer’s numbers rise in his senior campaign. Cameron Menefee is another senior that made a name for himself last year, averaging 12.1 points per game and grabbing 4.6 rebounds per game. Menefee will play along side Telfer in the backcourt just like last year. A name that will be new to the Cadet’s rotation is freshman Gavin Greene. The 6-foot-2 forward will be a rising star in the FCIAC.

 

 

  • Stamford

2016 Record: 14-8, first round loss in Class LL State tournament, first round loss in FCIAC conference tournament.

Outlook: Stamford got bumped from both the state and conference tournaments earlier than expected, especially with the performances they put on during the regular season. Nico Laveris and Tevin St. John will be two names to keep an eye on for Stamford’s 2016-2017 season. The senior, Laveris, is a shooting guard with a ton of speed, and looks to make offense out of defense. St. John on the other hand is only a junior and plays both forward position standing at 6-foot-2.

 

 

  • Staples

2016 Record: 7-13, first round loss in Class LL State tournament, did not appear in the FCIAC conference tournament.

Outlook: Staples squeaked into the state tournament last year and will return another roster that will assist them to the same, but better. Senior Sean Pritchett, who was named to the FCIAC All-Divisional Team last year, is a 6-foot-3 small forward who can use his length to get in the middle of passing lanes, and can maneuver through contact to finish with authority on the offensive end. Juniors Max Sussman and Justin Seidman are two more names to look out for in the FCIAC conference.  

 

 

  • Trinity Catholic

2016 Record: 12-10, second round loss in Class S state tournament, did not appear in FCIAC conference tournament.

Outlook: Trinity Catholic had a ton of youth last year, and returns to the gym in December with a lot more confidence. Senior Jon Lyons will be looked at as the leader for this Trinity Catholic squad, as he was selected for the FCIAC All Divisional Team. Junior Dimitry Moise was another selected play for the divisional team as a sophomore who will be looking for a strong junior year. Sophomore Cam Blake was a big contributor as a frosh last year, and will see a lot more minutes in his second season.

 

 

  • Trumbull

2016 Record: 19-5, lost in second round of Class LL tournament, lost in FCIAC semifinals

Outlook: Losing the Conference Player of the Year is never an easy task and Trumbull will experience that first hand this season with the graduation of Jack Moore. Not only do they lose Moore, but several other starters that gave big contributions to the team. Coming off a 19-win year and an appearance in the conference semifinals, returning Coach of the Year, Buddy Bray, looks to keep the train moving in the right direction and build off the success of 2016. Senior John McElroy was an All Defensive selection as a junior and will be asked to play more of a role this time around.  Timmond Williams is an underclassmen to keep an eye out for as he will also be needed to step into a bigger role as a sophomore. It may be a while for the inexperienced players to get used to their new responsibilities and expectation, but when they do, Trumbull is going to be a tough matchup like always.

 

  • Westhill

2016 Record: 17-8, lost in second round of Class LL tournament, FCIAC champions

Outlook: The Vikings out of Westhill have been a top program in this league for the past several years. After only a regular season of 13 wins, they found a way to bared down and take three straight when it mattered to capture the FCIAC crown for the second year in a row. Even though they lose a couple stellar seniors from last season, you can’t count ever count these guys out when it comes to winning a championship. Seniors Tyler Lasicki and J’ani Graham were named as two players to watch for at the end of last winter, so we will definitely keep an eye of them. 6’4 junior, Stanley Villard, also returns among other younger players to play important roles.

Photo credit: Stamford Advocate

Photo credit: Stamford Advocate

 

  • Wilton

2016 Record: 14-9, lost in first round of Class L tournament, lost in FCIAC semifinals

Outlook: Wilton had a very good season that ended in an upset loss to 22 seed Lyman Hall in the Class L tournament. The Warriors started out 8-3, but hit a bit of a skid in the second half of the year. Jack Williams was a First Team All FCIAC selection as a junior in 2016 as he averaged 16.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Williams won’t shock you athletically but he is a very smart player that knows how to change speeds and create efficient, open looks. For the second year in a row, Williams will be the captain of this Warrior squad and will be looked upon to be the top player. Another senior leader will be Matt Kronenberg who is as exciting of a player as Williams. The 5’10 guard was a Second Team FCIAC selection as a junior and put up 39 points in their FCIAC quarterfinal win over Fairfield Warde. He can really score it and is also an above average rebounder at the guard position. Williams and Kronenberg will be one of the top guard combos in the league and will be difficult to hold down. Watch for Wilton to be back in the mix for the FCIAC title this year.