2003-04 Season Preview
Nov 20, 2003
Catholic University, returning two starters, begins the post-Matt Hilleary era in Coach Mike Lonergan's 12th season at his alma mater. Much of CUA's success will depend on how well it can replace the two-time All-American.
Hilleary, a four-year starting post player who led the Cardinals in scoring and rebounding each of the past two seasons, was a force at both ends of the court. He averaged 17.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game last year. He led CUA to a 24-5 record and sixth straight Capital Athletic Conference regular-season championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.
"Although we have six freshmen and six sophomores," Lonergan said, "we hope we have enough experience to compete for another CAC championship and NCAA Tournament bid."
Senior forward Will Morley, a three-year starter, will be the Cards' principal inside threat. He enters the season 18th on the school's career scoring list with 1,160 points. He averaged a career-high 15.7 points and 5.9 rebounds a year ago. Senior forward Blair Mills is looking to move into the starting lineup. He averaged 6.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg last year.
Adam Dickman is CUA's other returning starter, although he has been hobbled by an injury and will not play at the beginning of the season. The senior point guard posted career highs in points (5.9 ppg) and assists (5.1 apg), and performed well running the Cardinal offense. He led the club in 3-point FG percentage (54.8) and hit 83.7 percent of his free throws.
The Cards, ranked 18th in the preseason by D3hoops.com, will greatly benefit if a healthy Dickman can improve his perimeter defense and scoring. Junior Tim Burke, sophomores Aaron Kelly and Pat Satalin (2.3 ppg), and freshman Mike Wasilenko will vie to replace Dickman at the point.
Satalin (2.3 ppg) and junior Opeyemi Jawando (6.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg) are the leading contenders to start at shooting guard. Sophomore Matt Tanner is looking to man the small forward slot. He played in every game last year and averaged 3.9 ppg and 1.6 rpg.
Shane Sowden will be one of the first players off the Cardinal bench. The 6-foot-8 sophomore saw limited action last season and averaged 3.0 ppg and 2.6 rpg. CUA's tallest player, 6-9 Matt Spierenburg, has shown steady improvement and gives the Cards a strong inside presence.
Freshmen swingmen Patrick Dwyer and Scott Fumai should see substantial playing time among the rookies. Dwyer (6-7) is an athletic big man who played last year as a postgraduate student at the Hun School in Princeton, N.J. The versatile Fumai (6-6) played both guard positions and small forward last season in high school.