Anyone who watched Saint Joseph's basketball last year will tell you they were never a threat to light it up from the field. The Hawks were dead last in the Atlantic 10 in field-goal shooting percentage with 40% as a team. SJU also had six players who played significant minutes shoot less than 40% and four of those were under 38%. The team was not much better from 3-point range. They shot less than 30% from deep which ranked them twelfth in their conference. To make matters worse, SJU was also dead last in the conference in free-throw percentage.
It goes without saying that St. Joe's must improve their shooting. Incoming freshman guard Chris Clover should help if he's able to make a fairly smooth transition from high school. While billed as a shooter, Clover only shot 33% from 3-point range in his last two years. However, during the same time span, he made 48% of his shots from the field and 76% at the line. This helps to indicate his shooting stroke should be translatable to the next level and with some work, he could transform into a three-point threat.
Fellow freshman Lamarr Kimble also should provide hope for the St.Joe's faithful. He has been described as an "excellent passer and 3-point shooter" by The City of Basketball Love. Still, it is difficult to put pressure on two freshmen to contribute right away.
Papa Ndao, who missed last year for medical reasons, will also be back and he has shown an ability to hit consistently from three. As a junior, Ndao shot over 40% from deep, but he only shoots 35% for his career. His junior year may appear to be an outlier but even if that's true, Ndao immediately becomes one of the better long-range shooters on a team that lacks that skill.
While St. Joe's has reinforcements, it is difficult to rely on two unproven freshmen and a senior coming off a year-long medical issue to cure the team's shooting woes. In the end, some of the players who shot poorly last year such as Shavar Newkirk and James Demery must improve for SJU to challenge the top tier teams in the conference.
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-Saint Joseph's ends season with loss in first round of A-10 tournament against UMass