Seasons change but the game remains the same for Rowan men’s basketball team.
The Profs embark on a promising season, coming off their first New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) title since 1999.
The Profs won their opening game against Cairn University, 105-93, but this year’s title defense won’t feature the familiar faces we’ve grown to know.
The best brother duo in team history, the DePersia’s — Rob and Nick — graduated this past Spring, taking 211 games of experience with them.
Nick was the fourth-ranked scorer in the history of the program, with 1,463 points, while Rob joined the 1,000-point club with 1,004.
Defensive “Swiss Army knife” Ramon Wright will also be missed after leading the team in steals and blocks the last two seasons.
The 6-foot-7-inch Wright gave the team invaluable versatility with his ability to guard multiple positions and was a potent option finishing around the rim.
Guard DaRon Curry has moved on as well, taking his lightning quick scoring ability with him.
Forward Teirique Robinson also departs after appearing in 49 games across the last three seasons.
This year’s team will go through growing pains but won’t be completely lost. Last year’s supporting cast received valuable playing time and will benefit from expanded roles.
Diante Bah returns after finishing the year as a starter.
The talented big man blocked 30 shots and averaged 4.7 points-per-game. He can only improve from additional experience after joining the squad as a walk-on a year ago.
If his 16-point opening day performance is any indication, he could be in for a big year.
Junior guard Matt Green will get a chance at expanded playing time after being used sparingly a year ago.
Although he wasn’t a regular part of the rotation through much of the season, Green made the most of his opportunity, sinking the game-winning three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining to win the NJAC title in front of a hostile New Jersey City University crowd.
Austin Kearney enters his senior season as an important inside-outside threat. The 6-foot-5-inch forward averaged 6.1 points-per-game a year ago and led the team with 19 points against Cairn University.
Sophomore Connor Dickerson returns after arriving on the scene a year ago. Averaging 8.8 points-per-game as a freshman, Dickerson is a fiery leader who can score in a myriad of ways.
Junior guard Ryan Legler returns after proving he can be a valuable outside shooter, hitting .369% of his shots.
While Coach Joe Crispin remains in charge of the program, his top lieutenant — longtime Rowan coach Joseph Cassidy — retired after 27 years as a member of the coaching staff.
Cassidy retired as the program’s all-time leader in wins with 336 wins across twenty seasons at the helm.
The Brown and Gold face off against Lehman College in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania at 6 p.m. on Friday night.
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