LIVE BLOG: NEC Media Day, Part 2

1:53 p.m.

With Wagner rounding out today’s second and final day of NEC Media Day, That will conclude our live blog coverage and I want to say thank you to everyone that tuned into our live blog.

 A huge thank you to my fellow sports writer Jennifer Malti for helping me with today’s coverage. Another huge thank you to our Editor-in-chief Elizabeth Scalzo, managing editor Amaya Morales for producing the live blog and running social media for today. 

1:50 p.m.

To conclude media day, Wagner head coach Bashir Mason and senior guard Chase Freeman join to talk about their upcoming season.

Wagner is projected to finish eighth this season after finishing tenth last year after going 8-21 overall with a 5-13 record in the NEC. Mason is entering his ninth season as head coach at Wagner. 

Freeman averaged 6.2 PPG, 3.1 APG, and 2.6 RPG last season and appeared in 26 games where he started all of them 

“It’s getting back to the top of the league and playing to win,” said Mason. 

“He’s (Mason) telling me to lead these guys and point them in the right direction, ” Freeman said.

“As we all know with the point guard it’s all about taking care of the ball and that’s what we’re going to keep focusing on,” Freeman said. 

1:42 p.m.

Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) head coach Rob Krimmel and senior guard Ramiir Dixon-Conover join media day to discuss their upcoming season.

Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) is projected to finish sixth in the NEC after finishing second and going 22-10 last season with a 13-5 record in the NEC. Krimmel is entering his ninth season as head coach. 

Dixon-Conover averaged 4 PPG last season with 2.2 RPG and 2.1 PPG in his junior season last year. 

“We’re looking forward to having him(Dixon-Conover) step up and having that next man up mentality,” Krimmel said.

“Just being from New Jersey is like having a chip on your shoulder, so you just consistently work and we got a point to prove,” Dixon-Conover said.

“I feel like I got the recipe to know what it takes to win,” said Dixon-Conover.

1:33 p.m.

Saint Francis Brooklyn head coach Glenn Braica and Senior guard Chauncey Hawkins join media day to discuss their upcoming season

The Terriers are projected to finish fifth this season after finishing seventh last season after going 13-18 with a 7-11 record in the NEC. 

Braica is entering his eleventh season as head coach. Hawkins was named to the Preseason ALL-NEC team after averaging 15.1 PPG last year and also was named to the 2019-2020 ALL-NEC third team last season as well.  

We have a lot of guys back on the perimeter but, we also have had to replace a lot of guys,” Braica said. 

“It is just really about making everybody else get better. Why not give it to the guys that can make the plays better,” Hawkins said. 

1:24 p.m.

Sacred Heart head coach Anthony Latina and junior guard Aaron Clarke join media day to discuss their upcoming season.

The Pioneers are projected to finish tenth this season after finishing fourth last season after going 20-13 with a 12-6 record in the NEC. Latina is entering his eighth season as head coach with Sacred Heart. 

Clarke averaged 11.3 PPG last season and made 53 3-pointers. Clarke played in 30 games last season with 15 appearances being starts. 

I think this team is similar to the team we had a couple years ago. We have a couple good players here, that excites us,” Latina said. 

“I’ve played a lot of basketball growing up so playing on that type of stage and environment and as for my skill I have to give credit to my dad,” Clarke said.

“We were one of the better rebounding teams in the league,” Latina said.

1:14 p.m.

Mount Saint Mary’s head coach Dan Engelstad and junior guard Damian Chong Qui are up next on media day

MSM is projected to finish third this year after finishing eighth last season after going 11-21 overall with a 7-11 record in the NEC. Engelstad is entering his third season as head coach with the Mountaineers. 

Chong Qui was named to the Preseason ALL-NEC team after averaging 12.2 PPG last season. He was named the 2019-2020 NEC Most Improved player and was third team ALL-NEC last year. Redshirt junior forward Nana Apoku is also returning after averaging 9.3 PPG last season.  

“Well it starts with the guys returning and we have a really strong court now,” Englestad said. 

“We have guys that love to be in the gym and love to see the film and we’re having fun building this player driven program but, we’re excited about our crew this year, ” Englestad said.

As a leader of this team, it’s challenging everybody and holding everybody accountable to hopefully win a championship,” Chong Qui said.

1:04 p.m.

Merrimack head coach Joe Gallo and senior guard/forward Devin Jensen joined media day to talk about their upcoming season.

Merrimack is projected to finish seventh this year after finishing first in the NEC last year after going 20-11 overall and 14-4 in the NEC. Gallo is entering his fifth season as head coach.

Jensen averaged 7.5 PPG last season and started all 31 games. He led the NEC in 3-PT FG PCT last season as well and was fifth in 3 point field goals made per game with 2.1. 

“Things are great, times are different but we’re transitioning into different phases on how much we can do each week,” Gallo said. 

Last year I was just the guy that just took the good shot but, this year we got a good group of sophomores and returners to work better offensively,” Jensen said. 

12:57 p.m.

LIU head coach Derek Kellogg and redshirt senior forward Ty Flowers join media day to talk about their upcoming season

LIU is projected to finish second in the conference this year after finishing fifth last season after going 15-18 overall. Kellogg is going into his fourth season as head coach with 10 players returning from last season.

Flowers was named to the Preseason ALL-NEC team this year after averaging 14.3 PPG and 9.6 RPG last season. He ranked second in the NEC in rebounding and double-doubles (14). 

“We’ve got a really good group of guys coming back,” Kellogg said. 

“He (Jermaine) did that and he was not even in great shape, the great thing is he can play on and off the ball,” Kellogg said. 

“Last year, I was just thinking about too much, this year I am just trying to have a quicker release,” Flowers said. 

12:44 p.m.

FDU head coach Greg Herenda and senior guard Jahlil Jenkins join media day to talk about their upcoming season.

FDU is projected to finish first in the NEC this year after finishing fifth last season after going 11-19 overall. Herenda is entering his seventh season as head coach. FDU has 10 players returning this season. 

Jenkins was named to the Preseason ALL-NEC team with teammate Elyjah Williams. Jenkins averaged 16 PPG last season and is considered a player of the year favorite this year. Williams also averaged 11.8 PPG last season. Jenkins led the Knights last season in points, assists, steals, field goals, and 3-pointers. 

“I am really excited because we have really good people and they can play,” Herenda said.

“With COVID, it’s been a process but how that translates into winning games and championships there’s a lot of things that need to happen and we’re excited to play,” Herenda added. 

“He (Jenkins) is so big and he is the heart and soul of our team but, he needs to get better,” Herenda said. 

“We’re very excited to get back and as for me, I want to lead these guys back to a championship,” Jenkins said.

12:34 p.m.

Central Connecticut State University head coach Donyell Marshall and junior guard Ian Krishnan are next up today.

CCSU are projected to finish ninth in this year’s preseason poll after finishing eleventh last year after going 4-27 overall. Marshall is entering his fifth season as head coach with nine players returning this year. 

Krishnan averaged 12.5 PPG last season for the Blue Devils and started all 19 games he played. He led them in scoring during conference play with 11.9 PPG. 

“For us we have less to put in than other teams, Marshall said. 

“I think for me, taking it to the next level is working on the next parts of my game,” Krishnan said. 

“One thing I can say about this year is that our team is really connected, preferably the older kids so that they can show the younger kids what it’s like. The freshman got thrown into a hard situation,” Krishnan said.

12:23 p.m.

Bryant head coach Jared Grasso and sophomore guard Michael Green III are the first to speak today.

Bryant is projected to finish third in this year’s poll after finishing seventh last season after going 15-17 overall. Grasso is entering his third season as head coach. 

Green III averaged 9.3 PPG last season and appeared in all 32 games for the Bulldogs as a freshman.

“We’re still trying to find ourselves. It has been fun so far, I like our guys and we got a group of veterans but it’s still early,” Grasso said. 

“Me and Charles (Pride) are like brothers. We’re like family on and off the court so there really is no pressure,” Green III said 

“I’m still trying to learn this team and they’re still trying to learn from each other,” Grasso added. 

12:18 p.m.

NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris joins NEC Reporter Craig D’Amico to talk about the upcoming season with COVID-19 being a challenge for them.

“We are very excited to get back to business and see our students get back to playing,” Morris said. 

“There are so many challenges that we have been trying to face and with all the protocols we have been starting from an academic standpoint.” Morris Said. 

“I couldn’t imagine being a student athlete in this environment,” Morris said.

12:12 p.m.

The Pre Season All- NEC Team is as follows

Junior Guard, Damian Chong Qui, MSM

Redshirt Senior Forward, Ty Flowers, LIU

Senior Guard, Chauncey Hawkins, SFBK

Senior Guard, Jahlil Jenkins, FDU 

Senior Forward, Elyjah Williams, FDU

12:10 p.m.

NEC Reporters Dave Popkin and Joe DeSantis kick off today’s Media Day with the 2020-2021 NEC Preseason Poll:

  1. Fairleigh Dickinson University (6)
  2. LIU (4)
  3. Bryant, 
  4. Mount St. Mary’s
  5. St. Francis Brooklyn 
  6. St Francis (Pennsylvania)
  7.  Merrimack
  8.  Wagner
  9.  Central Connecticut
  10. Sacred Heart

11:55 a.m.

Good afternoon, everyone! 

Welcome to the second day of NEC Virtual Media Day coverage brought to you by The Equinox. I’m Anthony Covino, the sports editor for The Equinox. I will be joined by fellow sports writer, Jennifer Malti, to help with today’s coverage. Our Editor-in-Chief, Elizabeth Scalzo will produce the live blog. Social Media updates will be run by managing editor Amaya Morales. 

With Women’s Basketball concluding their media day yesterday, today the Men’s Basketball teams will have their time to discuss the upcoming season with their coaches. The annual preseason poll and preseason ALL-NEC team will be released alongside interviews with each team’s coach and one player from each team. 

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Photo from NEC.