Amid lofty expectations, no tip-toeing into season for Black Knights

Delee and Young are similar in stature and playing styles, able to bang down low as forwards/centers, or step outside for more of guard-forward hybrid roles.

Handling point duties is 5-10 senior Quashawn Gainey, who was one of Saroney’s first players off the bench last winter. In the 3 spot is 6-3 junior Tommie Spinner, a returning starter who is an outside threat with the ability to also get into the interior of defenses.

“We have a lot of versatility with our starters, and that gives us the ability to do different things against different teams,” Saroney said. “We are going to push the tempo and play aggressively on defense in man-to-man and zone trap. Hopefully that will translate into offensive opportunities for us on the fastbreak.”

Last week, Saroney was still solidifying who will come off the bench. He mentioned 5-8 junior sharpshooter Frank Vigliotti as a viable option. Saroney was confident others will contribute, he just didn’t know in what roles.

Saroney added that after poor performances in two early scrimmages, he had seen the light go on in his players’ heads last week.

“Not doing well in the scrimmages woke us up,” he said last Thursday. “I know the guys know we can do really well this year, and I think (not scrimmaging well) showed them that it’s not going to be handed to them. We’re past that now.”

Within five minutes of watching a practice, it is clear that few teams will be able to match the Black Knights athletically. They have the size and speed to make things difficult for their opponents on both ends of the floor. Saroney said the chemistry is there, too.

“The guys enjoy playing the game with each other, and I think last year was a building year toward what we hope to accomplish this season,” he added. “With that said, we also let them know that every team is going to prepare for us because of how we did and the guys we have returning. We’re going to get everyone’s best effort.”

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