LaRose Named Sacred Heart Captain; 2 Games Televised
Sacred Heart University men's basketball coach Anthony Latina announced that seniors Kinnon LaRose and Jare'l Spellman and junior E.J. Anosike have been named the Pioneers team captains for the 2019-20 season. The Pioneers open the campaign Tuesday night at Providence, with the home opener coming Nov. 19th versus Brown.
Tuesday's game will be broadcast on the YES Network at 7 p.m. The Pioneers will also major television coverage on Friday meeting UCONN on SCNY (channel 29) at 7 p.m.
"I am extremely excited and proud to name Kinnon, Jare'l and EJ our captains for the upcoming season," Latina said. "It is an honor that they have earned and deserve. All three individuals have distinguished themselves both on and off the court! We believe that their strengths will complement each other and provide excellent leadership for our program!"
LaRose was first named captain during the 2018-19 campaign. He is a fifth-year senior that is playing his third year with the Pioneers. He enters the 2019-20 campaign with 62 games played at SHU, 39 starts., and having scored 534 points.
Spellman is playing his second season with the Pioneers after playing two seasons at Florida Southern. He is the reigning NEC Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league, and finishing fourth in the nation with 96 blocked shots. That blocked shot total is the Division I single-season record and he on the cusp of becoming the sixth player in school history to eclipse 100 career blocks.
Anosike is a junior that was named to the NEC Preseason Team this year, after earning All-NEC Second Team and NEC Most Improved Player honors last season. He enters this season with 580 points and as a 48.2 percent shooter, having knocked down 52 percent of his shot attempts last season. Anosike finished second in the league last season at 8.1 rebounds per game and recorded seven double-doubles.
Season and single-game tickets are on sale now for the 2019-20 season by calling the SHU Ticket Office at 203-396-8499.
PIONEERS PICKED SECOND
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Sacred Heart men's basketball was selected second in the NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll. The poll, voted on by the league's head coaches, was revealed on Wednesday at NEC Social Media Day at the Barclays Center. Sacred Heart received three of the 10 possible first-place votes from the league's other coaches.
With the Pioneers being picked second in the preseason poll, it marks the first time that the Pioneers were picked that high since the 2008-09 season, where SHU was picked to finish second as well. That season, the Pioneers finished with a 17-14 record and earned the third seed in the NEC Tournament, where the Pioneers eventually were knocked out in the NEC Semifinals by No. 2 seeded Mount St. Mary's.
"It's not about where you start, it's about where you finish," said head coach Anthony Latina. "What we are trying to do is worry about things that matter. Whether we are picked first, second or last doesn't matter. We were picked ninth last season and were a possession away from possibly being the number-one seed."
The Pioneers were picked to finish ninth last season, but with a 15-17 overall record and 11-7 finish in NEC-play, the Pioneers were able to secure the third seed in the NEC Tournament. Despite being eliminated in the first round of the NEC Tournament, SHU managed to win 15 games in a season for the first time since the 2014-15 season and won 10 or more home games for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
LIU was picked to finish first with five first-place votes, followed by SHU. Saint Francis U. was picked third with one first-place vote and reigning NEC Tournament champions Fairleigh Dickinson was picked fourth with two first-place votes. Robert Morris, Bryant, Mount St. Mary's, St. Francis Brooklyn, Wagner, Central Connecticut and Merrimack rounded out the poll.
The Pioneers were also represented on the Preseason All-NEC team, with junior E.J. Anosike earning one of the five spots.
Last season, Anosike became the second player in program history to win the NEC Most Improved Player Award after averaging 14.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. In NEC-play, Anosike averaged 15.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 56% from the floor and 42% from three-point range to earn All-NEC Second Team honors as a sophomore.
SHU returns four starters from last season, including Cameron Parker and Koreem Ozier who earned All-Rookie honors last season and the reigning NEC Defensive Player of the Year in Jare'l Spellman. The Pioneers open the season on Nov. 5 at Providence.