Coach: J.P. Jones, second year.
Last Season: 11-12, 8-8.
Outlook: Last season, the Knights won a school-record eight conference games and just missed tying the school mark for most wins in a season (12). This year, they return all five starters and could end up in an unusual position--contending for the SMAC title.
"St. Mary's Ryken doesn't know what it's like to have the expectations of winning," Coach J.P. Jones said. "But this season we have the potential to have one of our best seasons ever. That's something we are going to have to learn to deal with."
The Knights are led by senior guard Chad Maloney (16 ppg) and senior forward Joe Saunders (15 ppg, 8 rpg). Senior guard Dabren Wills is expected to improve upon his stats from last season: 6 ppg and 5 apg.
St. Mary's Ryken is also the conference's biggest team. Junior guard Pat Christiansen (5-10) is the only Knight under 6 feet.
"In [1998-1999], we were just learning to play together as a team and by the end we were really starting to click both offensively and defensively, and that gave us a lot of confidence," Jones said. "This year, it's all about executing--and if we do that, we should be successful."