Sonics look to Trotman
In the build-up to the 2012 Premier League season, NATION basketball correspondent Justin Marville continues a series of team-by-team previews.
TEAM: Roll-A-Way St John’s Sonics
Head coach: Terry Inniss
Last year’s regular season record: 10-10 (seventh)
Average points per game: 66.7 (ninth)
Average points against: 65.9 (sixth)
Key additions: none
Key losses: Jason Bowen
St John’s won’t be resting everything on Akeem Marsh’s shoulders this time around – or so they hope.
With former MVP Jefferson Trotman finally committing to play a full season, at the very least Sonics will have the veteran leadership sorely lacking from last year’s disappointingly average team that was as middle of the table as its record suggested.
But more importantly, Trotman serves as an immediate upgrade over Kevin Mason at point guard, granted the veteran combo guard is willing to sacrifice his own scoring to shore up one of the team’s most glaring weaknesses.
It’s not that he should be missed on the wing either, not once Rommel “Earth” Garnes can knock down a respectable amount of his three-point attempts, as he, Stefan Clarke and Nicholas Bradshaw try to keep defences honest.
The presence of both Trotman and Garnes will also provide much needed playmaking ability to a side that once featured Clarke as its lone perimeter player capable of creating his own shots – and looks for others.
Make no mistake, though, for all the improvements Sonics benefit from on the perimeter, their offence will still start and stop with Marsh in the post – at least it should.
As an extremely skilled and rangy forward, Marsh gives this side the ability to score from both the high and low post, although there is little cover for him in the likes of Philip Harewood, Dwayne Kellman and Shane Whittaker.
Help should be coming in the form of overseas-based big man George Haynes for the second round, though, and paired together, the two six-foot-nine forwards should prove unstoppable in the paint at both ends.
Again, logic dictates that a Marsh-Haynes combo propped up by Trotman, Clarke and Garnes is the nucleus of a play-off squad at worst.
However, this team underachieves with the best of them, and no one knows exactly how many games Haynes will be available for.
Sonics can lean on an elite defence to stay in most contests, but they can’t afford to drop any games against the league’s bottom dwellers while they await Haynes’ arrival if they are to make the postseason.