Aug 21, 2013, 7:25 PM EDT
The 2012-13 season was a tough one for King Rice’s Monmouth Hawks, as they finished the season with an overall record of 10-21. And at 5-13 in the Northeast Conference, the Hawks didn’t qualify for the NEC tournament after dropping their final four regular season games.
Tough way to say farewell to the NEC, as the Hawks are one of two newcomers in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with Quinnipiac being the other. On Wednesday the Monmouth program received some needed good news, as the NCAA Eligibility Center has cleared freshmen Marcelo Deschamps and Justin Robinson.
While this raises the number of freshmen on this season’s roster to seven, the personnel boost is a much-needed one for this young team. Deschamps, a native of Brazil, is a 6-10 center (Robinson’s a 5-8 guard from Kingston, N.Y.) who gives the Hawks additional size alongside fellow interior players (and freshmen) Chris Brady and Zach Tillman.
“Marcelo is a big, physical specimen,” Rice told Josh Newman of the Asbury Park Press. “He can run and be physical going into the MAAC with the physicality of that league. When when we first got Marcelo, we were still in the NEC, but at the time, we were looking to go out and find bigger, stronger post guys.”
All three will be needed as the Hawks lost their top three rebounders from last season (Ed Waite led the way with an average of 4.8 rpg), and to be frank Monmouth wasn’t all that good on the glass either.
Monmouth finished the 2012-13 season ranked eighth in the NEC in offensive rebounding percentage, as they managed to grab 29.8% of their missed shots. And on the defensive glass the Hawks had their issues, as opponents rebounding more than 35% of their misses.
The NEC certainly didn’t have slouches amongst its members, with three-time champ LIU Brooklyn and Robert Morris being perennial contenders, but Monmouth will see an overall rise in the level of competition now that they’re in the MAAC.
Monmouth will certainly take their lumps this season, but at least they’ll have a full roster to build with.
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