For the last two seasons, St. Joe’s basketball has had to deal with a myriad of injuries which has limited their on-court success. Redshirt junior point guard Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble has missed 38 games in the past two seasons. He played in just one game last season, before breaking his foot which sidelined him for the rest of the year.
Along with Kimble, redshirt sophomore forward Charlie Brown is another Hawk guard with big expectations this season. He missed all of last season with a wrist injury.
For the moment, however, the duo is healthy and poised to bring the Hawks back to prominence in the Atlantic 10 Conference, where they finished just 16-16 (10-8) a year ago.
“Those experiences you can carry forward,” said Hawks coach Phil Martelli. “But you can’t stay the same. The work that was done over the summer has to come forward. That’s what we’ve really been trying to concentrate on all summer.”
Brown had big expectations heading into last season. As a freshman, he averaged 12.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while leading the team in three-point percentage at 38.4 percent.
Kimble averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds in that very same season. He’s as crafty as they come and might be the best Hawks guard since Jameer Nelson to man the point.
“It’s definitely a blessing to be out there,” Kimble said. “I was really able to work with the guys the whole summer. That made everything worth the while. Now, we’re all ready to get things going.”
Other members of the Hawks’ supporting cast to watch are forwards Taylor Funk (11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds) and Pierfrancesco Oliva (6.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists) as well as guard Chris Clover (8.2 points, 3.3 rebounds).
St. Joe’s starts their season on Friday night against a tough Old Dominion team, who ranked fifth in the country in scoring defense a year ago at 62.8 points per game. On Tuesday night, the Monarchs held Navy to just 44 points in their 67-44 win to open up the year.
“There’s nowhere to hide on this schedule,” Martelli said. “I’ve always tried to do that. The casual basketball fan doesn’t get Old Dominion, but they’re legit. We have a week with Temple, Princeton and Villanova. That’s like the NCAA Tournament.”
Friday’s game will air at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+.