Thursday’s dead-tree edition offered a look at American senior guard Daniel Munoz, who will run an offense that lost its top two scorers after last season.
Maybe Munoz picks up a little of the scoring slack, but that’s a job certain to spread over several players on the Eagles’ roster. And Munoz – who has more starts (51) than than the other juniors and seniors on American’s roster combined (49) – will be counted on for stability as much as anything.
As for a few more insights on the Eagles, here’s 10 quick hits on American’s offseason and what’s to come in the fall.
1. Look for a leap from 6-foot-8 sophomore Kyle Kager, whose minimal playing time last season (16 minutes in 10 games) had little to do with offense.
“Kyle is a kid who is really talented,” coach Jeff Jones said. “The thing he does best is score the ball. He used to give it to Charles [Hinkle] in practice, let’s put it that way.”
The graduated Hinkle ranked second in the Patriot League with 18.4 points per game. Kager might not make that sort of impact, but the Eagles are eager to see what he can do.
“Just watching him in practice, he’s got what we need,” Munoz said. “He can score the ball. Hopefully he translates what he can do in practice into the games. He’s a really good offensive player and he has a lot of confidence in his offensive game.”
2. Want an extended answer on just how American will replace its top two scorers (Hinkle and Troy Brewer)? Here’s Munoz’s explanation:
“I’m obviously going to try to score a little bit more,” he said. “Is that my game? I’m not going to be Charles from last year, but certainly I’m going to take a little bit more of the load. John [Schoof] has experience now. He had a year where he played a lot his freshman year. We’re certainly looking at John. Blake [Jolivette] as well. Tony [Wroblicky] was really good on the blocks last year. I think he’ll be better. And Kyle coming off a freshman year where he didn’t play too much, but he’s certainly the guy with the skillset and sort of the arsenal to score a good amount for us. Hopefully he’ll come along well. It’s going to be balanced attack, which can be a good thing because people don’t know where everything’s going to come from.”
3. Jones said guard Austin Carroll, a transfer from Rutgers, has applied for a waiver to become eligible immediately.
The 6-foot-4 Carroll averaged 2.8 points and 1.2 rebounds in 10 games as a sophomore, but suffered a left knee injury Dec. 12, did not play the rest of the season for the Scarlet Knights and was granted a medical hardship.
4. American also picked up a transfer at point guard. Darius Gardner averaged 4.7 points as a sophomore at Stephen F. Austin and led the Lumberjacks with 103 assists. Gardner will sit out this season.
The major upshot: It provides an experienced option at the point after Munoz’s career is completed after this season.
5. American opens the season Nov. 9 at Minnesota. It is the first time the Eagles’ opener is against a power conference team since 2008-09 (at Oklahoma) and first game against a Big Ten team since Dec. 21, 2009 (at Penn State).
6. The Eagles will also visit Kansas and make their usual trip across town to face Georgetown.
It is the fifth consecutive year American will play the Hoyas – after a two-decade gap in the series. Before that, the Eagles and Hoyas played at least once every season between 1953-54 and 1986-87.
7. Wroblicky, a rising junior, produced 6.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 51.1 percent, but American saw a significant boost from the center late last season.
Wroblicky averaged 9.7 points (on 59.1 percent shooting) and 7.2 rebounds over American’s final 13 games. The Eagles will need that progress (and maybe a little more) to carry into the coming year.
8. American’s personnel additions include four freshmen: Guards Billy Dooley, Jesse Reed and Marko Vasic and center Zach Elcano.
9. Guard Wayne Simon II transferred out of the program. Simon had 26 points and 25 rebounds in 26 games for the Eagles, averaging 7.7 minutes. After an increase in playing time during league play, Simon logged only eight minutes in the last six games of American’s 20-12 season.
10. Munoz enters his senior season with 264 career assists, just 12 outside the top 10 in school history.
Only seven players in school history have managed 300 assists. Were Munoz to replicate his junior season (134 assists), he would be ranked sixth on the program’s career assists list.