With the college basketball season rolling back around, I thought it would be good to take a look at some players who have big roles this year, conference by conference.
This is the first of many for the “Players to Watch” segment.
With that, let’s take a look at some players starting in the America East Conference this year who should be stellar.
Muhammad El-Amin, Stony Brook
As a junior, El-Amin was the leader of this Stony Brook team, and if the Seawolves want to compete in the America East this season, El-Amin will be the one to carry them. Leading the team in scoring last season, El-Amin has picked up where he left off, as both his scoring and his rebounding are improving.
Stony Brook is 3-1 this season, and El-Amin has scored 11 or more points in three of those games. The only game he didn’t was against the University of Rhode Island, which is their only loss.
Clearly, Stony Brook relies heavily on El-Amin offensively, and if they hope to finish better than fourth in the America East (where they finished last season), it will be behind the play of El-Amin.
John Holland, Boston University
Holland led the Terriers in scoring last season as a sophomore, so it is not surprising that he is even more important to their success this season. Holland and senior Corey Lowe are the leaders of this team, but Holland has been the one stepping up so far this season.
In six games, Holland has scored 20 points or more four times, and against very tough opponents: George Washington University, Kansas State, Indiana, and Georgia Tech. Clearly Holland can run with the best teams, but unfortunately the rest of this team has not risen to the challenge yet.
Look for Holland to continue to get better this season, where he is already averaging 21 points and six rebounds per game.
Marqus Blakely, Vermont
With stellar guard Mike Trimboli having graduated, Blakely will need to step up to lead the Catamounts, and he has done just that. Through four games this season, Blakely’s numbers are all up, including good games against tough opponents such as Rutgers and Providence.
Blakely and Trimboli were Vermont’s main scoring threats last season, but Blakely will have to do most of the work himself this year. After averaging 16 points a game last season, he is already averaging 21 a game this season, and his rebounding, assists, steals, and blocks are all way up.
Blakely has stepped up so far in the few games Vermont has played, and Vermont will need him to continue to only get better in his senior season.
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(Pictured is former Vermont head coach Tom Brennan. No other pictures available were relevant.)