Knights Conclude NEC Tournament Play

By Julian Bell

Sports Writer

The men’s basketball season ended on March 1, as they lost to Wagner 72-70 in the NEC Quarterfinals.

Knights Head Coach Greg Herenda, called this season a learning experience.

“I’m very excited about next year, because everyone is going to grow from this season,” Herenda said. “We have to learn from it and get better from it.”

The Knights (11- 19, 9-9 NEC) were Northeast Conference Champions last season, and made it to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 11 years.

Herenda is confident that his team will emerge as champions again in the future, but acknowledges that they missed some chances.

“Every year you’re going to have an opportunity,” Herenda said. “The game at Wagner shows. We had a shot at the buzzer that didn’t go in.”

FDU certainly has the talent to become conference champions again. Junior guard Darian Anderson was named NEC Player of the Week two times this season. Anderson averaged 17 points per game this season along with 3.8 rebounds, to complement his 492 total points on the season.

But when it comes to progress, Herenda noted another player.

“Our most improved player this year was Darnell Edge,” Herenda said. “At the end of the year he played great, and he had to change his role from coming off the bench to starting and producing. I’ve said it before, Darnell would be a starter on most teams in the Northeast Conference. Darnell Edge really overachieved as a person who took on a new role for our basketball team.”

For the season, the sophomore went 36.6 percent from the 3-point line, and led the Knights in free throws, going 47- of-52.

Herenda sees the youth of the team as an advantage.

“We’re still going to be relatively young, and we’re in a good position to continue to have success,” Herenda said.

Earlier in the season, the Knights were No. 1 in the NEC Conference after going 8-1 in the first nine games, coming off of a four-game win streak. As the tournament grew near, FDU lost a few close games.

Herenda noted the injuries that hampered his team this year.

“I think remaining healthy is important and having a consistent lineup,” Herenda said.

“This year we had to plug in a lot of holes. Every practice we had a different group out there and every game, we had a different group out there. To say that losing Tyrone O’Garro and Ghassan Nehme in the second part of that season didn’t have anything to do with our results would be a lie.”

Herenda noted that the previous year was much kinder to his team.

“I think in 2016, we didn’t have any injuries and we had a consistent group the entire year and that’s important, consistency and being able to know where people are supposed to be and have people on the right spots is important,” Herenda said. “It was just a crazy year in regards to our personnel; we just never knew who we were going to put on the floor in February and March. That obviously did not help us.”