2018 Men’s Basketball Preview: How the Blue and Gold plan to replace Cshuran and Vuyancih

Brad Heiss, The Carroll News

Heading into the second year of the Pete Moran era, the John Carroll Blue Streaks men’s basketball team looks to build off a promising year from Moran’s first tenure as head coach.

The Blue and Gold are coming off a year in which they finished first in the Ohio Athletic Conference with an overall record of 25-6 while drawing a bid for the NCAA tournament. The Blue Streaks danced in the tournament, making it to the sweet sixteen.

With John Carroll graduating two starters in John Cirillo and Antonio Vuyancih and two key reserves in Brian Papich and Matthew Cshuran, the Blue Streaks will look to fill a big void that the four of them left. This will be especially difficult because Cshuran was named the OAC player of the year.

Returning six rotation players from last year, coach Moran will look to these players to step up and be leaders in a season full of expectations.

It is expected that the guard play should look to carry the team this, acknowledging that is where the bulk of the returning players play.

Five rotational players in juniors — Jimmy Berger, Ryan Berger, Sean Flannery and Greg Parella and sophomore Jackson Sartain — make up the guards.

The most interesting part of the team will be in the frontcourt. JCU is returning just one big man that played consistent minutes: senior Allen Stokes. The Blue Streaks will have to explore their young options, looking toward forwards Corbin Anthony, Emil Hess and Luke Hippler. Hippler may get the first crack at playing alongside the senior forward.

In addition to a flock of experienced players, the Blue and Gold have a fresh set of legs with nine freshmen. Coach Moran’s first recruiting class will bring lots of intrigue, as the second-year head coach brought in three new forwards, four new guards, one big and one versatile player from the Class of 2022.

The keys to success for John Carroll will rely, once again, on offense. Coach Moran had his team come out last year running and gunning, good enough to be the fourth in the nation in scoring at 98.1 points per game.

One area the Blue Streaks can look to improve is on the road. While still a perfect 15-0 at the Tony Decarlo Varsity Center during the Pete Moran era, they are just 7-6 on the road. If John Carroll can play better on the road, they will have a good chance to replicate last year’s success and possibly go even further in the NCAA tournament.

The Blue Streaks’ season will tip-off at the Buffalo State Coles Classic, where JCU is slated to play Johnson & Wales University on Nov. 16 and Buffalo State on Nov. 17. Following their competition in Buffalo, the Blue and Gold will be represented at the Christopher Newport Invitational, where they will take on Thomas More College in Newport News, Virginia, on Nov. 24.

JCU will return home for opening night on Dec. 1 to defend their home court at the DeCarlo Varsity Center. The Marietta Pioneers will have the honor of taking on the Blue Streaks in the first conference matchup of the season.