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Chasing Excellence

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Following last season’s 26-11 (13-5 NEC) run, expectations are running high in Moon Township for the 2012-13 Robert Morris Colonials as Andrew Toole settles into his third season as head coach.

Specifically for these Colonials, a Northeastern Conference title and an NCAA berth are the goals after RMU’s 2011-12 season ended in a disappointing manner with a 67-61 loss to Fairfield in the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

The Colonials are already recognized as one of the premier members of the NEC, having been ranked No. 2 by NEC coaches in their pre-season poll. Additionally, senior guard Velton Jones was named to the All-NEC Pre-season Team after he led the Colonials in scoring and assists last season, with 16 points and 4.5 assists per game.

“Our expectation is to compete for the NEC Championship. We have had some good years, and this year, that is what we will strive for as our goal,” Toole said.

Jones is not the only valuable member of last year’s Colonials who returns, as their veteran talent and depth constitute the team’s most valuable assets. Alongside Jones, guards Coron Williams and Anthony Myers-Pate return, with forwards Lucky Jones, Lijah Thompson, Mike McFadden and Russell Johnson returning to the front courtt for the Colonials—in other words, the Colonials’ top seven scorers from the 2011-12 season.

Not only does this group of Colonials have experience, but they also have talent,

“Experience is very valuable, but talent with experience is even more valuable,” Toole said. “It’s nice to have guys that have played a lot of minutes, and been in a million different situations in college basketball.”

But as Toole knows, the breadth of his veteran talent’s depth not only applies to scoring.Photo by Justin Berl

“We have a lot of guys, and their impact is not just limited to scoring,” Toole said. “There are a lot of guys that can get it going on different nights in different ways.”

Starting every game alongside Velton Jones last season, Williams averaged 10.8 points per game and represented the Colonials’ largest threat from distance as he shot 41 percent from 3-point range while making a team-high 87 treys.

Flanking Jones and Williams on the perimeter will be Russell Johnson, who will likely start at small forward for the Colonials this season. Johnson scored 8.7 points and pulled in 5.7 rebounds per game last season, and the grizzled veteran should improve on those numbers this year.

In the paint, Lucky Jones earned a spot on the NEC All-Rookie Team last season as a freshman, and led the team in rebounding at 6.1 boards per game while scoring 8.5 points per game.  Alongside Jones, another likely starter in the paint will be Mike McFadden, a senior forward who put up 8.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest last season.

With all their experience and talent, every single one of these players will have a huge role on Toole’s Colonials this season, and will be the driving force toward RMU’s hopes at an NEC Conference Championship.

“All these guys—Russell Johnson, Velton Jones, Lucky Jones, Anthony Myers, Mike McFadden, Coron Williams—will have a say in what happens every Photo by Justin Berlgame,” Toole said.

Fri, Nov 9 @ Rider 7:00 PM
Mon, Nov 12 vs Lehigh* 8:30 PM
Tue, Nov 13 vw Fordham/Pitt TBA
Sat, Nov 17 @ Xavier 2:00 PM
Mon, Nov. 19 Preseason NIT TBA
Tue, Nov. 20 Preseason NIT TBA
Mon, Nov 26 @ Savannah State 7:00 PM
Sat, Dec 1 vs Ohio 7:00 PM
Tue, Dec 4 @ Campbell 7:00 PM
Sat, Dec 8 @ Hampton 2:00 PM
Sat, Dec 15 vs Duquesne 7:00 PM
Tue, Dec 18 @ Louisiana-Lafayette 8:00 PM
Thu, Dec 20 @ Arkansas 8:00 PM
Thu, Jan 3 vs Bryant University 7:00 PM
Sat, Jan 5 vs Central Connecticut State 7:00 PM
Thu, Jan 10 @ Fairleigh Dickinson TBA
Sat, Jan 12 @ Monmouth 7:00 PM
Thu, Jan 17 vs Quinnipiac 7:00 PM
Photo by Nick SusnjerSat, Jan 19 vs Sacred Heart 7:00 PM
Thu, Jan 24 @ St. Francis (PA) 7:00 PM
Sat, Jan 26 vs Mount St. Mary's 7:00 PM
Sat, Feb 2 @ St. Francis (NY) 4:30 PM
Wed, Feb 6 vs St. Francis (PA) 7:00 PM
Sat, Feb 9 vs Wagner 7:00 PM 
Thu, Feb 14 @ Quinnipiac 7:00 PM
Sat, Feb 16 @ Sacred Heart 3:30 PM
Thu, Feb 21 vs Monmouth 7:00 PM 
Sat, Feb 23 vs Fairleigh Dickinson 7:00 PM
Thu, Feb 28 @ Bryant University 7:00 PM
Sat, Mar 2 @ Central Connecticut State 3:30 PM

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