Despite the fact that they fell short of their goal of reaching the NCAA tournament, the 2013-14 season was a successful one for the Canisius Golden Griffins as they won 21 games and put together a 14-6 record in MAAC play. Unfortunately for head coach Jim Baron he has to account for the loss of four starters from that team, most notably prolific scoring guard Billy Baron, and that could make for a difficult year in Buffalo.
Two players who will have the opportunity to earn significant opportunities in 2014-15 are forwards Phil Valenti and Jermaine Crumpton, with the latter entering his first season of play after redshirting last season. And on Thursday, Jim Baron announced some important news regarding both players.
Valenti, a redshirt sophomore who averaged 5.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season, injured his right ankle in practice on Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined “for a few weeks” according to the school release. As for Crumpton, a redshirt freshman, he’s been suspended for both exhibition games for a violation of team rules.
Missing exhibition games may not seem like much, since the games don’t count against a team’s official record. But for a team like Canisius that has to replace so much production from last season, the exhibitions can help the players establish greater chemistry in game situations. Senior Josiah Heath (2.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg) joins Valenti as Canisius’ most experienced front court players heading into this season, with junior center Kevin Bleeker (6.0 mpg) and freshman forward Cassidy Ryan rounding out the interior rotation.