Merry Christmas, Phil Martelli!
Reported by FanRag Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Saint Joseph’s junior James Demery has been fully cleared for basketball activities. The North Carolina native missed the last ten games with a stress fracture in his left foot.
Despite being cleared, Martelli refused to commit to the 6’6″ forward’s availability for the Hawks’ Atlantic 10 opener versus George Washington.
Demery, a significant piece of last season’s Atlantic 10 conference tournament champions, averaged 8.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game during his sophomore season. Moreover, he exhibited great improvement in the Hawks’ season-opening win versus Toledo, scoring 11 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in 32 minutes.
With the early departure of current Atlanta Hawk DeAndre’ Bembery and the graduation of Isaiah Miles, Saint Joseph’s knew a scoring void would be present. Junior Sean Newkirk has taken the initiative, averaging 21.2 points per game (3rd most in Atlantic 10), along with sophomore Lamarr Kimble (15.0 PPG).
During Demery’s absence, the Hawks have been mediocre. Granted, their worst loss is against a formidable Illinois State squad; however, their best victory, in turn, is Loyola (IL). In other words, Saint Joseph’s will have to rely on Atlantic 10 play to build a resume or place their NCAA Tournament aspirations on a weekend in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
6-5 Saint Joseph’s hosts 2016 NIT Champion George Washington tomorrow at 7 p.m. EST. Following the conference opener, the Hawks travel to South Kingston, Rhode Island, to take on the Rhode Island Rams. URI was ranked in the Associated Press’ preseason Top 25 Poll.
– P. Wesner