"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Chaminade Preview, 2023-24

Chaminade Silverswords

November 21, 2023, Maui Invitational

Head Coach: Eric Bovaird (167-119 at Chaminade vs DII)

Projected Starters: PG Ross Reeves (6'4" So), SG Isaac Amaral-Artharee (6'2" Sr), SF Chris Bready (6'5" Jr), SF Scott Ator (6'7" Sr), C Jalen Brattain (6'7" Jr)

Milwaukee native Chris Bready aims to start for Chaminade this year

Photo from Chaminade Athletics

Chaminade posted a 14-15 record last season, which was their best mark since the COVID pandemic. They rallied to earn a place in the Pacific West Conference Championships, which was played on their home court, but they were drubbed 93-69 by the defending champions Academy of Art. They saw two starters play their final game as Braden Olson and Razheel Watkins both graduated.

The Silverswords do bring back three starters and have two ready-made replacements who appeared in every game last year. Ross Reeves was a dynamic scorer and playmaker as a freshman, averaging 15.6 ppg/2.9 apg. He can score inside and out with a 55.7 eFG% but is also a dangerous ballhawk, leading the team in steals. Isaac Amaral-Artharee led the team with 16.1 ppg and is a sniper from deep, averaging 39.1% from beyond the arc. Waukesha West's own Chris Bready steps up from the bench where his primary role was as a floor stretcher. Scott Ator provided a defensive presence off the bench, leading the team in blocks. He also boasts the highest returning three point percentage at 40% from deep, but that was only on 15 attempts. Jalen Brattain is the other returning starter, averaging 10.3 ppg/5.0 rpg last year. The Silverswords also return a pair of bench contributors in Dorian Harris and Jessiya Villa.

Offensively, Chaminade loves to push the pace and let it fly. They averaged 25.2 threes per game last season. In terms of playing fast, Marquette averaged 68.1 possessions per game last year; Chaminade was only under that number once last season. In 27 games in the Maui Invitational since Bovaird took over, Chaminade has been held below 68 possessions just twice, and averaged 73.5 possessions, a figure that would be top-15 in Division I any year of the past thirteen since Bovaird was hired. As a team, they shot 37.1% beyond the arc. Defensively, they are aggressive and excel at turning teams over. They need to be, because they aren't strong on the defensive glass.

In this Maui field, which is almost certainly the strongest MTE in NCAA history, Chaminade is likely to be little more than a speed bump for their opponents. Of the seven high-major teams, five are in the consensus top-11 coming in and both UCLA and Syracuse have legitmate NCAA expectations. With a large talent gap, Chaminade is further hindered by their high-paced tendency. The more possessions you play, the more likely the superior talent is to win out. If Marquette runs into the Silverswords, it will be disappointing as it almost certainly means they lost to UCLA, but this will be a game that is over by halftime.

Marquette Connection: Marquette's first ever game in the Maui Invitational was against Chaminade in 2007. Marquette generally controlled the first half, but Chaminade opened the second with a 6-0 run that cut the lead to 39-36. The Silverswords hung around, getting within a single possession two more times, most notably on a Rodrick Johnson jumper with 6:46 to play that made it 58-55. That's when Jerel McNeal took over. He tipped in a missed Lazar Hayward free throw to spark an 11-2 run that put Chaminade in the rear view. "We were very fortunate to win, I hate to use the word lucky, but I'm going to" said Marquette coach Tom Crean. "I wouldn't call it a wake-up call, we just need to do a better job of what we should be doing." Whatever he wanted to call it, the game did serve as a wake up call, as Marquette routed Oklahoma State 91-61 the following night. They came up just short in the final, falling to Duke 77-73.

No comments: