A few notes about Rhode Island’s basketball team, which Southern Lee star Akeem Richmond committed to play for on Wednesday by signing his national letter of intent:
(Notes credited to USA Today)
Led by Jimmy Baron, one of the best shooters in A-10 and school history, the Rams were an offensive juggernaut and employed coach Jim Baron’s up-tempo style to the tune of 23 wins, the fourth most at Rhode Island.
Perhaps even more surprising was the Rams’ late charge at the league’s regular season title. After starting A-10 play 1-3, Rhode Island wound up in a three-way tie for second place at 11-5, earning Baron the A-10 coach of the year award.
But Baron couldn’t have done it without his son, Jimmy, and fellow senior Kahiem Seawright.
The duo combined for almost 40 percent of the team’s 79.3 points per game. They will leave behind a lasting legacy as Jimmy and Seawright helped the Rams win 63 games in the last three years and both ended their careers as members of the 1,000-point club.
FINAL RECORD: 23-11, 11-5, tied for 2nd in the Atlantic 10.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Rhode Island turned out to be one of the most prolific scoring teams in the country. The Rams finished the season ranked in the top 25 in numerous offensive categories including points, field goal percentage, assists and 3-point shooting percentage. Seniors Jimmy Baron and Kahiem Seawright took ownership of the team from the beginning. Baron finished his career as the A-10’s all-time leading 3-point shooter. The two led the Rams in scoring and Seawright was the team’s best rebounder. Rhode Island understood how to dictate the tempo to win games and players understood their roles. The Rams lost only two games by double-digits and remained competitive in every other one.
WHAT WENT WRONG: The Rams were a mediocre defensive team, ranking near the bottom of the Atlantic 10 in field goal percentage defense. You couldn’t count on the Rams to get stops when they needed to, making it more difficult to pull out close games. Of the team’s 11 losses, seven were by four points or less. The Rams often failed to make plays in the closing minutes, which led to losses.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THE GOOD NEWS: Rhode Island will have three veterans back on the team, who were productive as juniors. But the Rams probably won’t resemble last year’s team that relied heavily on shooting 3-pointers.
Rhode Island will have a ton of depth in the frontcourt with the return of 6-8 Delroy James and 6-6 Lamonte Ulmer.
Sophomore center Will Martell started 20 games and gave the Rams an added size advantage inside. Forwards Ben Eaves and Orion Outerbridge should also battle for minutes. Coach Jim Baron also added another 6-8 forward to the roster by signing Ryan Brooks, who will be a freshman next season. This group of post players should help the team improve in rebounding and scoring inside.
Senior-to-be Keith Cothran is the Rams’ best returning guard and was third on the team in scoring last season.