BOSTON – The curtain of the Suffolk men's basketball team's 70th campaign raises Tuesday night as the 2016-17 Rams travel to Brandeis for their season opener scheduled for 7 p.m.
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GUESS WHO'S BACK
Sophomore Michael Hagopian is the lone returning Ram from last season's starting line, which put together an 8-18 season, a 6-12 run through the GNAC and a GNAC Quarterfinals appearance. In his first season as a Ram, Hagopian played in all of Suffolk's 26 games, starting 26, for 6.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 1.5 apg.
Other prominent returning Rams are senior Quinn McCartney and junior Matt McLean. McLean, who played the role as Suffolk's sixth man a year ago, averaged 3.9 points and 1.5 handouts per game last season. McCartney, meanwhile, was limited due to injury, but contributed when healthy on both ends of the hardwood.
NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES
The Rams' line up will get a boost from the addition of eight rookies this season. Suffolk's Class of 2010 includes guards Thomas Duffy, Jonathan Eng, Jamal Fiin, George Grillakis, Lyle Logan, Cameron Powers, Conor Reynolds, Matt McLean and forward Austin Prevost.
LET'S GET IT STARTED
- Since 1967-68, Suffolk is 20-28 in the first game of the season. Starting in 2009, the Rams rattled off three consecutive wins on day one of the season, but since Suffolk has gone 1-3, including the debut of the Jeff Juron era last season, a 72-61 setback to UMass Boston.
- The Rams have opened up its campaign on the road 15 times (5-10) since 1976 and have been in the friendly confines or Regan for the season opener eight (4-4). Suffolk has taken the court at a neutral site for the first game of the year on 17 different occasions (6-11).
- Prior to the 1976-77 campaign, the location of Suffolk's season opener was undisclosed with the Rams going 5-4 through those contests.
- Suffolk and Brandeis will meet on day one of the year for the first time in Suffolk's storied history.
BITS 'BOUT BRANDEIS
The Judges, who are coming off a 9-16 season, will be anchored by returner Jordan Cooper. Cooper, a 6-6 junior forward, garnered All-UAA second-team accolades a year ago thanks to with 15.3 ppg and 4.6 rpg. Seven upperclassmen join Cooper in the veteran role including his co-captain senior Tim Reale, who chipped in 7.0 ppg and 2.9 rpg from the starting line-up.
Brian Meehan returns to the Judges' bench for his 21st season.
Suffolk and Brandeis have a storied history, which dates back to 1968. The Rams trail the all-time series, 5-37, and are currently on a six game skid against the Judges with the team's last meeting coming in 2007. Suffolk's last win over Brandeis came Dec. 4, 2001 in a 78-75 a decision.
2016-17 GNAC MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
1. Albertus Magnus
2. Johnson & Wales
4. Mount Ida
5. St. Joseph's (Maine)
7. Anna Maria
ON THE BENCH
Jeff Juron was named the fifth head coach in Suffolk men's basketball history in the summer of 2015 and begins his second season at the helm in 2016-17. As an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Rochester, who made three appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament and was a national runner-up as a player, came to Boston for his first season at Suffolk in 2015-16 and first collegiate head coaching position.
Suffolk has one senior and junior, five sophomores and eight freshmen. Position wise, the Rams are comprised of 12 guards, three forwards and one swing player.
Thirteen Rams stand 6-5 or shorter and two players are 6-6 or taller.
The Rams 2016-17 roster features 16 players representing five states. There are six Rams that call Massachusetts home and five who hail from Connecticut. Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin are also represented.
Suffolk's home games against Saint Joseph's (Maine) Dec. 3, Norwich Dec. 8, Albertus Magnus Jan. 12 and Anna Maria Jan. 28 will be part of a doubleheader, as the Rams' women's team will host Framingham State, Johnson & Wales, the Falcons and St. Joseph (Conn.) also on those dates.
Last season, the Rams went 1-5 when playing the same day inside Regan Gymnasium as the women.
RETURNING TO ROCHESTER
Jeff Juron will return to Rochester, where he spent nine years – four as a starting point guard for the Yellowjackets and five as an assistant coach of his alma mater – officially as the Rams' head coach for the Chuck Resler Invitational Nov. 18-19. The trip also marks Suffolk's first to the University of Rochester.
THAT'S A FIRST
Suffolk will tip-off against fresh competition this season. All three programs joining the Rams at Rochester's Chuck Resler Invitational Nov. 18-19, Washington and Lee, Alfred and the host Rochester have yet to take the hardwood against the Rams.
Since 1967-68, Suffolk has taken the hardwood against 101 opponents. The Rams have not dropped a game to 16 of its all-time competition to hold an unbeaten record against .158 percent of its all-time foes.
SUFFOLK FREE RADIO
Suffolk Athletics has teamed up with Suffolk Free Radio to bring Ram Nation live broadcast events this year including multiple home and away women's basketball contests.
The pre-game shows are set to launch 15 minutes prior to tip-off of all contests and fans can follow along at mixlr.com/suffolkfreeradio/.
Suffolk ventures to Rochester, New York over the weekend for the Chuck Resler Invitational hosted by the University of Rochester. The Rams will face Washington and Lee Friday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. with the victory advancing to a matchup between the winner of the hosts Rochester and Alfred Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. The two losing teams will play in the consolation game Saturday at 1 p.m.