Three years have gone by since Felician University last experienced the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference playoffs in men's basketball. Ivan Lewis has been with the program in all three of those seasons -- two as an assistant coach and his first season as the head coach in 2015-16.
Lewis enters his second season having recruited eight new players into his program, including four first-year transfers. With a lift from the revamped roster, he feels a return to postseason play is a realistic goal.
"We feel we've brought in some talent, as well as the right kind of student-athlete that we need in order to be successful," Lewis said. "We want to make progress. For us right now, that's the conference tournament. It's definitely on our minds."
The Golden Falcons were statistically imbalanced during last year's 10-16 campaign, ranking fourth in the 14-team CACC in scoring defense but last in scoring offense. The trick for Lewis and his staff will be to improve on the offensive side of the ball without giving back those points on the other end.
"We put a defensive foundation in place with last year's group that we hope will be good right away and continue to get better," Lewis said. "But with our roster additions, we specifically focused on offense. We have guys who can put the ball in the basket. When we're clicking, we hope to get stops and create opportunities in transition."
GUARDS & WINGS: Lewis may take the bold move of handing over point guard duties to a true freshman. It could be up to Zamir Wright (Newark, N.J./University) to put the ball into the proper hands.
Redshirt junior Gjaimeir Stanford (Wilmington, Del./Howard) and junior co-captain Jamar Redmond (Roselle, N.J./Abraham Clark) are the likely starters at shooting guard and small forward. Stanford sat out last season after transferring from ASA College, while Redmond formerly played at Division-I Morgan State University.
Seniors Bryant Webb (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) and Lamine Cooper (Willingboro, N.J./Medford Tech) are scoring guards who also play solid defense. Senior Tim Massado (Wilmington, Del./St. Elizabeth), among Felician's all-time leaders in three-point field goals, and freshman Debon Bright (Woodland Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic) will be competing for a spot in the rotation.
POSTS: The Golden Falcons return fifth-year senior co-captain Kennedy Chukwuocha (Willingboro, N.J./Medford Tech) to the low block, and will team him with sophomore Terrell Spaulding (Paterson, N.J./Eastside), who sat out last season after transferring from Bergen Community College.
Junior Vadji Dosso (Paris, France/St. Vincent de Paul) should once again see time in the frontcourt. True freshmen Yvens Monfleury (East Orange, N.J./American History) and William Phelps (Linden, N.J./Linden) have shown promise in the preseason.