Men’s Basketball Finishes Third in Preseason Poll

Image credit: nuhuskies.com

By Milton Posner

Ahh, the CAA Preseason Poll. That wonderful time of year when the conference’s coaches, media relations directors, and media members (including a few from your favorite Northeastern student radio station) gaze deep into their crystal balls and relay the results of the upcoming season. The results of this annual divination ritual, released Wednesday, were among the closest ever, with five teams receiving first-place votes.

TeamPoints (First-Place Votes
Hofstra Pride331 (14)
Charleston Cougars323 (18)
Northeastern Huskies291 (4)
James Madison Dukes253 (3)
Delaware Blue Hens241 (2)
Towson Tigers194
William & Mary Tribe131
Drexel Dragons125
UNCW Seahawks118
Elon Phoenix48

Hofstra, the defending regular-season titleholder, narrowly topped Charleston despite receiving fewer first-place votes. Northeastern finished third without immediate neighbors, and James Madison squeaked ahead of Delaware.

Charleston senior guard Grant Riller took home Preseason Player of the Year Honors and headlined the All-CAA First Team.

First TeamGrant Riller, Charleston
Nathan Knight, William & Mary
Brian Fobbs, Towson
Eli Pemberton, Hofstra
Matt Lewis, James Madison
Second TeamJordan Roland, Northeastern
Ryan Allen, Delaware
Camren Wynter, Drexel
Desure Buie, Hofstra
Darius Banks, James Madison
Honorable MentionBolden Brace, Northeastern
Kai Toews, UNCW
Kevin Anderson, Delaware
James Butler, Drexel
Marcus Sheffield II, Elon

Hofstra, Charleston, and Northeastern, the top three finishers in the poll, were the top three finishers in the regular season last year, albeit in a different order. All three lost major contributors — Justin Wright-Foreman, Jarrell Brantley, and Vasa Pusica, respectively — to graduation. They, along with fellow first-teamer Devontae Cacok of UNCW, signed pro contracts. This was a familiar theme during the CAA offseason; many of the conference’s most talented players graduated or transferred, including William & Mary’s Justin Pierce, Drexel’s Alihan Demir, and Northeastern’s Shawn Occeus.

Hofstra will look to defend its regular-season crown behind a trio of guards: second-teamer Eli Pemberton, third-teamer and Defensive Player of the Year Desure Buie, and the sweet-shooting Tareq Coburn. Charleston will lean heavily on Riller and hope for increased contributions from their maturing role players, namely Brevin Galloway. Northeastern, the defending CAA champion, offers second-teamer Jordan Roland, versatile guard/forward Bolden Brace, and a mix of returning role players and freshman recruits. James Madison and Delaware look to rebound from losing years behind star guards and, in Delaware’s case, two high-powered transfers in Dylan Painter and Nate Darling.

WRBB will post detailed previews for each CAA team the week before Northeastern’s November 5 opening again Boston University. Michael Petillo and Milton Posner will be on the call; coverage begins at 6:45 PM ET.

Hockey East Preview: Merrimack Warriors

Last Season: 7–24–3 (4–18–2, 11th place); missed HE playoffs

Head Coach: Scott Borek (second season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: 11th

Losses

  • G Logan Halladay
  • G Craig Panatano
  • G Drew Volger
  • D Matt McArdle
  • D Alex Carle
  • F Derek Petti
  • F Michael Babcock
  • F Christian Simeone
  • F Chase Olsen
  • F Jackson Bales
  • F Laine McKay
  • F Cole McBride
  • F Logan Coomes

Additions

  • G Jere Huhtamaa
  • G Troy Kobryn
  • D Declan Carlile
  • D Jacob Modry
  • D Zach Vinell
  • D Zach Uens
  • D Liam Dennison
  • F Liam Walsh
  • F Hugo Esselin
  • F Regan Kimmens
  • F Mac Welsher
  • F Ben Brar
  • F Joey Cassetti
  • F Christian Simeone
  • F Ryan Nolan
  • F Flip Forsmark
  • F James Corcoran

By Dale Desantis

Last year was the beginning of a plan for seismic change in Merrimack’s hockey program. The school replaced 13-year head coach Mark Dennehy with successful Providence assistant Scott Borek. With Merrimack relatively new in Division I — men’s hockey joined in 1989 — the perception of the North Shore program seemed ready to change.

Unfortunately, Merrimack hit a new low in 2018–19, tallying just seven wins all year and finishing last in Hockey East with four conference wins. It was their worst record in twelve seasons; the team hasn’t had a winning record since 2011. Wins over powerhouses Northeastern, BU, BC, and Michigan provided the season’s sole saving grace.

After such a dismal season it’s unsurprising that for Borek to retain his position, he needed to immediately bail out the Warriors’ sinking ship. Coming into this season, he cut seven players and recruited sixteen. As the prospects stand for this season, no one expects too much for the upcoming season.

One of the few returning bright spots is freshman goal scorer Chase Gresock. Tallying 24 points with 11 goals and 13 assists last season, the newcomer cemented himself as someone to watch. Hopefully within Borek’s big recruiting class coach there’s a better first line to help Gresock build upon a respectable start to his career.

Bottom Line: Merrimack is a last-place team, and when seven players are cut going into a season it reflects poorly on the pre-Borek era. Until Borek strings together good recruiting classes, Merrimack will remain at the bottom of Hockey East.

Hockey East Preview: UMass Lowell Riverhawks

Last season: 19–13–5 (12–7–5 HE); lost in HE quarterfinal

Head Coach: Norm Bazin (eighth season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Sixth

Losses

  • G Christffer Hernberg
  • D Avini Bershia
  • D Croix Evingson
  • D Seth Barton
  • F Nick Master
  • F Ryan Dmowski
  • F Connor Wilson
  • F Ryan Lohin
  • F Cole Paksus
  • F Michael Dill
  • F Nick Marin
  • D Mattais Goransson

Additions

  • G Logan Neaton
  • D Jordan Schulting
  • D Marek Korenick
  • F Matt Brown
  • F Carl Berglund
  • F Brian Chambers
  • F Andre Lee

By Dale Desantis

The Riverhawks’ 2018–19 season was a great success. With a 19–13–5 record, Head Coach Norm Bazin rebounded from a tough 2017–18 campaign that saw the Riverhawks slip from fourth to seventh in the conference standings. Behind a group of rising juniors and senior scorer Ryan Dmowski, the Riverhawks placed fourth in Hockey East last year with 12 conference wins, with two coming against powerhouses BC and Northeastern.

Unfortunately the regular seaon success did not carry to the postseason, as BU eliminated UMass Lowell in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Although this was a disappointment, BU was playing great hockey after a dismal start to the season.

Last year the Riverhawks were anchored by junior goaltender Tyler Wall and his impressive .929 save percentage. Five different players tallied over 20 points, led by junior forward Ryan Lohin (27). Although no one put up huge offensive stats, the scoring-by-committee model and unselfish play benefited the team. With Wall and four of the top five goal scorers returning, the Riverhawks are poised for another solid season.

Bottom Line: The biggest knock against Coach Bazin’s squad is an inability to land top-rated recruits. BC and BU both scored great recruiting classes and will likely leapfrog Lowell in the standings. Nonetheless, Lowell is a well-run program primed to contend in Hockey East.

Hockey East Preview: UMass Amherst Minutemen

Last season: 31–10–0 (18–6–0 HE, first place); lost in HE semifinals to BC, lost NCAA National Championship to Minnesota Duluth

Head Coach: Greg Carvel (fourth season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Second

Losses

  • D Cale Makar
  • D Ryan Bliss
  • D Mario Ferraro
  • F Jacob Pritchard
  • F Brett Boeing
  • F Kurt Keats

Additions

  • G Alex Camarre
  • D Gianfranco Cassaro
  • D Zac Jones
  • D Jaakko Haarti
  • F Jeremy Davidson
  • F Eric Faith
  • F Calen Kiefiuk
  • F Reed Lebster
  • F Peyton Reeves

By Jonathan Golbert

On April 12th, 2019, Cale Makar stepped onto the stage at Harborcenter in Buffalo to accept the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s top NCAA men’s hockey player. On April 13th, he stepped on the ice to lead the charge for the Minutemen in the national championship against Minnesota Duluth. And on April 14th, he stepped on to a flight bound for Game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after signing an entry-level Contract with the Colorado Avalanche. The player who took UMass hockey from the conference basement to the national championship in just two years was gone.

Though Makar’s departure from Amherst was expected, it still leaves a gaping hole in UMass’s defense. His accolades seem endless: fourth pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Hobey Baker Winner, Hockey East Player of the Year, First Team All-American. But most importantly, he was a leader on and off the ice for a young, talented Massachusetts team.

The Minutemen have other departures to contend with, too. Sophomore defenseman Mario Ferraro left school early to sign with the San Jose Sharks, and seniors Jacob Pritchard, Brett Boeing, and Kurt Keats also leave holes in the Minutemen’s lines. Pritchard’s contributions will be sorely missed; he notched an exceptional 47 points last season, second only to Makar’s mind-boggling 49.

Head Coach Greg Carvel brings a nine-player freshman class to boost his roster, including New York Rangers’ third round Pick Zac Jones. Jones is the star of this recruiting class: an offensive defenseman who moves the puck well and fits perfectly into the UMass blue line. He will be joined by a crop of USHL talent, plus goalie Alex Camarre and defensemen Jaakko Haarti and Gianfranco Cassaro. Jones and forwards Reed Lebster and Peyton Reeves have the best chances of starting on opening night for the Minutemen.

Junior forwards Mitchell Chafee and John Leonard have demonstrated an eye for goal and excellent passing vision, and will be expected to step up their point production. Long Island native Bobby Trivigno also looks to make his mark after a successful 28-point rookie season. After a three-point performance against UNH in Game 1 of the Hockey East Playoffs, Trivigno received high praise from Carvel, who said, “He’s probably our most important player… He’s the best forward on our team. He’s outstanding.”

Sophomore Marc Del Gaizo played on the top pair with Cale Makar last season and is expected to contribute from the blue line again this year. He is a powerful skater with an excellent shot, comfortable with the puck in both zones. With man-advantage mainstays Makar and Ferraro on to the NHL, Del Gaizo will often be directing the Minutemen power play squad from the point.

One of the more interesting storylines for Amherst will be identifying their top netminder. Both Matt Murray and Filip Lindberg are solid; Murray started the season as Carvel’s number one, but Lindberg took over the starting role come playoff time and was absolutely lights out. Lindberg posted a staggering 1.60 GAA and .934 SV% over 17 games for the Minutemen last year, but without two of his best defenders, he’ll have his work cut out for him.

Bottom Line: The loss of Makar is a crushing blow, but most of last year’s offensive core is returning for the 2019–20 season. With Del Gaizo set to step up and lead from the blue line and reinforcements coming in Zac Jones and others, they’ve hedged their bets to try to reload the defense. UMass will remain an offensive powerhouse, but with the departures of Makar and Ferraro, a weakened defense, and an underwhelming recruiting class, they might fall just short of the Hockey East regular season crown.

Hockey East Preview: UConn Huskies

Last Season: 12–20–2 (7–15–2 HE, ninth place); missed HE playoffs

Head Coach: Mike Cavanaugh (seventh season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Ninth

Losses

  • G Adam Huska
  • D Miles Gendron
  • F Karl El-Mir
  • F Max Kalter

Additions

  • G Ryan Keane
  • D Carter Berger
  • D Jacob Flynn
  • D Yan Kuznetsov
  • D Harrison Rees
  • F Matej Blümel
  • F Eric Linell
  • F Vladislav Firstov

By Jonathan Golbert

Save for a OT win against Hockey East Champions Northeastern and a March 8th upset of then-No. 2 Massachusetts, it was another disappointing season in Storrs for the UConn men’s team. They notched just seven Hockey East wins and missed the postseason for the first time since 2002–2003.

This summer, UConn lost all three of their seniors and junior goaltender Adam Huska. Huska decided to forgo his senior season, signing an entry-level contract with the Rangers in March. Forward Karl El-Mir will head to the AHL, signing an ATO with the Bruins’ affiliate in Providence, as will former captain Miles Gendron. Senior forward Max Kalter joined the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks, an affiliate of the Calgary Flames. The Huskies will sorely miss the offensive contributions of El-Mir and Kalter, who combined for 19 goals and 24 assists last season.

The Huskies’ crop of incoming recruits features three players chosen in June’s NHL Entry Draft. Vladislav Firstov was taken in the second round by the Minnesota Wild, and Matej Blümel and Carter Berger were taken in the fourth round by Edmonton and Florida, respectively. Firstov and Blümel, teammates on the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks, will take on big roles straight away for Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh’s squad, as they look to replace the leadership and production up front from El-Mir and Kalter.

After the graduation of last year’s captain Gendron, one of UConn’s first priorities this offseason was appointing new athlete leadership. They filled this void by making Seniors Benjamin Freeman and Wyatt Newpower co-captains. Islanders prospect Ruslan Ishakov will also look to take a leadership role this year; the 5’8” Russian looks to use his blistering speed, soft hands, and good hockey IQ to build on an impressive 21-point freshman campaign.

Fellow Sophomore Jachym Kondelik will also be an important piece for the Huskies. His 6’7” frame makes the Czech centerman a matchup nightmare for opposing teams, as highlighted by his 22 assists last season. Another player to watch is highly-rated freshman Vladislav Firstov. He has an exceptional shot, great passing vision, and works hard at both ends of the ice. He’ll contribute right away and look to be a mainstay in this lineup for several years.

The departure of netminder Adam Huska will give an opportunity for sophomore Tomas Vomacka to step into the starting role after appearing in 15 games last year. Vomacka’s strong skating, athleticism, and rebound control allowed him to post the fourth-best save percentage in Hockey East (.922). He is well-positioned to take over in net for the Huskies this year ahead of junior Bradley Stone and freshman Ryan Keane.

A key barometer for improvement for this team will be their discipline and special teams play: Huskies sat in the sin bin for over 350 minutes last season, but killed only 77 percent of their penalties, 10th in Hockey East.

Mike Cavanaugh’s recruiting has been excellent the past two years, and he’s seeing the dividends in this year’s roster. UConn’s program is still in the bottom half of Hockey East, but their underclassmen-heavy squad is reminiscent in structure (minus one Cale Makar and a whole lot of talent) to the one that shuttled UMass Amherst all the way to the national championship game last year.

Bottom Line: The Husky offense features a plethora of strong 6’3”+ players backing up the smaller puck-handlers. Every man on the ice — regardless of size — can pass, shoot, and score. The incoming freshmen will bolster the Huskies’ lines, and the star-studded sophomore class has a year of college hockey under its belt. UConn will improve from last season, but there will still be considerable growing pains for a program still searching for its first winning season in Hockey East.

Hockey East Preview: Vermont Catamounts

Last Season: 12–19–3 (5–16–3 HE, 10th place); missed HE playoffs

Head Coach: Kevin Sneddon (17th season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: 10th

Losses

  • F Thomas Aldworth
  • F Liam Coughlin
  • F Martin Frechette
  • D Jake Massie
  • F Conor O’Neil
  • F Craig Puffer

Additions

  • F Jacques Bouquot
  • F Simon Boyko
  • F William Lemay
  • D Andrew Lucas
  • F Riley McCutcheon
  • F Thomas Beretta

By Matt Neiser

It was a forgettable 2018–19 campaign for the Vermont Catamounts, who finished second-to-last in Hockey East after accumulating just five wins in conference play. The Catamounts closed out the season with a winless month, going 0–5–1 over their final six games. Not ideal.

The lone bright spot for Vermont was goaltender Stefanos Lekkas, who was one of the best netminders in the country last season. The rising senior posted a ridiculous .930 save percentage and a 2.27 goals against average, earning him spots as a Hockey East Second Team All-Star and Mike Richter Award semifinalist.

There were rumors swirling in March that Lekkas had entered the NCAA transfer portal, but — much to the relief of Catamount fans everywhere — he dispelled those rumors and reaffirmed his commitment to Vermont for his senior year.

Head coach Kevin Sneddon’s Catamounts play a physical brand of hockey, relying on their size and muscle to tire teams out and keep pucks away from the net. Combined with the stellar goaltending of Lekkas, it makes for a rather formidable defense. Despite ranking in the bottom 15 in the nation in wins, Vermont registered a top-15 goals against per game average (2.41).

It’s the other end of the ice that keeps the Cats from putting up Ws. They netted an abysmal 2.12 goals per game last season, the eighth-worst mark in the nation. No player reached double-digits in scoring; the top mark was freshman forward Joey Cipollone with nine goals.

Luckily for the Catamounts, they are returning six of their top seven goalscorers from last season. Junior Max Kaufman (eight goals, 13 assists) and senior captain Derek Lodermeier (five goals, 13 assists) will likely join Cipollone on the first line. Other key offensive contributors will be juniors Vlad Dzhioshvili and Alex Esposito, a couple of six-footers who combined for 13 goals and 16 assists as sophomores last season. 

The loss of defenseman Jake Massie to the NHL will hurt the Catamounts on the blue line, but they have the depth to help fill that void. Senior Matt O’Donnell added five goals and eight assists last year, valuable contributions for a team with offensive struggles. Juniors Owen Grant (one goal, two assists) and Christian Evers (two goals, five assists) will be key contributors as well, while senior Corey Moriarty, sophomore Carter Long, and junior Cory Thomas will provide much-needed stability and depth.

One intriguing addition to this year’s squad is freshman Jacques Bouquot. The 6’ 0” freshman initially committed to Boston College before ending up with Vermont. A skilled two-way center with enough talent to pop up in 2019 NHL Draft discussions, Bouquot is a wild card and potential game-changer for the Catamounts.

Bottom Line: Having Lekkas at the back will keep the Catamounts in some games, but the offensive skill just isn’t there for Vermont right now. No matter how good your defense is, you have to score — and the Catamounts haven’t shown they can do that consistently. Barring breakout years for multiple players, expect Vermont to struggle to compete for a playoff spot come March.

Hockey East Preview: Providence Friars

Last Season: 24–12–6 (14–7–3 HE, second place); lost in HE quarterfinals to Boston College; lost in NCAA semifinal to Minnesota Duluth

Head Coach: Nate Leaman (eighth season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Third

Losses

  • G Hayden Hawkey
  • DJon Barry
  • D Jacob Bryson
  • D Vincent Desharnais
  • F Scott Conway
  • F Bryan Lemos
  • F Ryan Tait
  • F Brandon Duhaime
  • F Josh Wilkins
  • F Kasper Björkqvist
  • F Jay O’Brien

Additions

  • G Jake Kucharski
  • G Michael Lackey (transfer from Harvard)
  • D Max Crozier
  • D Luke Johnson
  • D Cam McDonald
  • F Garrett Devine
  • F Jamie Engelbert
  • F Parker Ford
  • F Jerry Harding
  • F Patrick Moynihan
  • F Craig Needham
  • F Albin Nilsson
  • F Caleb Rule

By Matt Neiser

The Providence Friars continued their run of success in 2018–19, finishing second in the Hockey East standings and earning their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. The Friars pulled off two straight upsets over No. 3 overall seed Minnesota State and Cornell to advance to the Frozen Four, where they were defeated by eventual champions Minnesota Duluth.

The squad’s going to look a little different in 2019–20 though. Much of the talent that brought Providence so far last season has left the program. Hockey East All-Stars Josh Wilkins (first team), Jacob Bryson (second team), and Brandon Duhaime (third team), all juniors last season, forewent their last season of NCAA eligibility to sign NHL contracts. Star goaltender Hayden Hawkey (.921 SV%, 1.88 GAA) graduated — taking with him arguably the best name in the sport.

A host of other important names graduated or left early for the NHL as well. The top four goalscorers and five of the top six point-getters from last season won’t be on the squad this year, including Wilkins, their leader in both categories. The Friars lost 78 of the 133 goals (about 60 percent) they scored as a team last season.

But enough about who isn’t here. Head coach Nate Leaman has plenty to work with this season. The roster includes seven NHL draftees, five of whom were chosen in the first five rounds of their respective drafts. 

The standout of the group is sophomore forward Jack Dugan, who notched 10 goals and a team-leading 29 assists en route to a Hockey East All-Rookie Team selection. The 6’ 2” Vegas Golden Knights prospect has plenty of opportunity to shine this season, and he’s primed to take full advantage. A physical wing with excellent distribution, Dugan is the perfect player for Leaman’s system.

Besides Dugan, look for sophomore New Jersey Devils draftee Tyce Thompson (8 goals, 17 assists) and junior Greg Printz (11 goals, 7 assists) to step into bigger roles on offense this season.

Leaman has turned Providence into a perennial defensive powerhouse. His squad allowed just two goals per game last season, tied for fifth best in the nation. The Friars are physical, smart, and well-drilled on the blue line, led by senior Spenser Young, junior Ben Mirageas, and sophomore Michael Callaway.

The departure of Hawkey left many concerned about the Friars’ goaltending situation — netminders not named Hayden Hawkey played just 54 minutes last season for Providence — but the addition of graduate transfer Michael Lackey has allayed worries. Lackey posted a 14–8–3 record in his senior year with Harvard, compiling a 2.34 GAA and .918 save percentage while backstopping the Crimson to an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Bottom Line: Providence lost A LOT of talent this offseason, but the Friars have reinforcements waiting to step up and fill the holes. If Nate Leaman can maintain the defensive excellence that has become the trademark of his teams, Providence should be right back in the mix for a top-four spot in Hockey East.

Northeastern Women’s Hockey Wins Hockey East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Ranked 4th in National Poll

Image credit: nuhuskies.com

By Christian Skroce

Boston, MA – After winning the Women’s Hockey East title last season, Northeastern was unanimously chosen to top the standings once again in the preseason HEAW coaches’ poll. The Huskies received nine first place votes (Northeastern voted for Boston University, as coaches cannot vote for their own team), good for 81 points in the poll.

BU finished second (71 points), followed by Boston College (65), Providence (56), New Hampshire (42), UConn (41), Merrimack (30), Maine (29), Vermont (25), and Holy Cross (9).

The team also was ranked fourth in the first regular season national poll. The ranking matches Northeastern’s pre-NCAA Tournament ranking from last year and puts the team in good position to reach the top three. Expectations are high for the Huskies, but they have the talent and coaching to pull off some key wins. The team has thrived using an underdog mentality, but they will be tested as the perceived top dog as they try for their third straight Hockey East championship.

Northeastern has undergone a significant youth movement over the past few years. The team consists of 16 underclassmen, many of whom have already experienced a conference win. Alina Mueller, a Patty Kaizmaier top-10 finalist last year, will look to lead the young Huskies this season. The talented sophomore forward finished with 21 goals and 30 assists last year, becoming the second NU rookie to score over 50 points in a season. Joining Mueller up front is fellow sophomore Chloe Aurard, who finished last season with 31 points of her own.

Backing up the Husky forwards will be the team’s talented defenders, led by the unmatched duo of Skylar Fontaine and Brooke Hobson. The juniors’ unique combination of speed and skill that allows them to defend well and provide extra ammunition for the Husky attack. Behind them is junior goalie Aerin Frankel, who broke out last season with a 1.81 goals against average and a .932 save percentage. Frankel turned in several clutch performances for the team last season, winning Hockey East Goalie of the Year and Hockey East Tournament MVP.

The team will kick off its season on Friday, October 4, when they head to Schenectady, NY for a date with Union College.

CAA Class of 2019 Goes Pro

Picture credit: nuhuskies.com

By Milton Posner

On April 7th, four CAA basketball players stood on a speedily assembled court in America’s largest shopping mall as dollar bills fluttered around them.

Northeastern’s Vasa Pusica, Hofstra’s Justin Wright-Foreman, Charleston’s Jarrell Brantley, and UNCW’s Devontae Cacok had won the Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship — and its $100,000 prize — after seven straight wins over teams representing other conferences.

It was an entertaining, financially rewarding experience for two-thirds of the CAA’s 2019 First Team. But it would pale in comparison to where they were headed.

Pusica went first. Two weeks after the 3X3U Tournament, he signed a contract with KK Partizan, the winningest team in his native Serbia’s top basketball league. Since joining the team, he has averaged eight points, two rebounds, and two assists over 12 games. Pusica possesses the deliberate ballhandling, mature decision-making, and versatile scoring skill to isolate or to attack in the pick-and-roll.

Brantley and Wright-Foreman went next. The Indiana Pacers drafted Brantley with the 50th pick, then flipped him to the Utah Jazz for Utah’s 2021 second-round pick and $2 million. The Jazz also nabbed Wright-Foreman 53rd with their own pick. It marked the first time since 1992 that two CAA players were chosen in the same draft.

Both have great upside; Brantley is a 6-foot-7-inch, 255-pound powerhouse boasting strong athleticism, positional versatility, and a diverse offensive skill set. Wright-Foreman is an electric combo guard who displays blazing quickness, on-the-catch and off-the-dribble shooting, and strong drives courtesy of deft handles and space-consuming spins.

On Tuesday, the Jazz signed both of them to two-way contracts. These contracts allow players to alternate between the NBA and G League (minor league basketball). Brantley and Wright-Foreman will likely spend most of their time with Utah’s G League affiliate (the Salt Lake City Stars), but they can spend up to 45 days with the Jazz.

They will make about $80,000 (prorated) for their G League time and about $900,000 (rookie minimum, also prorated) for their NBA time. The Jazz can make either contract into a standard NBA contract at any time, provided they have a free roster space. Should the pair finish their two-way deals, they would be eligible for qualifying offers and restricted free agency.

Brantley played four Summer League games — he was limited by a hamstring injury — averaging nine points (38 percent shooting) and five rebounds in 22 minutes. Wright-Foreman also played four games, averaging 12 points on 33 percent shooting, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 26 minutes per game.

But it was Devontae Cacok who shone brightest in Summer League. The 6-foot-7-inch, 240-pound dynamo averaged 23 minutes across eight contests, logging 12 points on 60 percent shooting, nine rebounds, and two steals a game for the Los Angeles Lakers. His Summer League coach and teammates have praised his defense, rebounding, energy, and toughness.

On July 9th, the Lakers signed Cacok to an Exhibit 10 contract, essentially a training camp invite with a bonus attached. It incentivizes Cacok to remain with the Lakers’ G League affiliate by paying him $5,000 to $50,000 if he is waived by the NBA club, signs with the G League team, and remains there for at least 30 days. The Lakers can also convert the deal into a two-way contract, allowing Cacok to transition between the NBA and G League clubs.

Just 100 days ago, these four athletes donned glitzy plastic sunglasses, gold-colored chains, and shot dollar bills from guns as they celebrated a win in a high-octane but mostly-for-fun tournament. Now they’ve all got real jobs, and how they develop and expand their skills will determine their longevity in an ever-changing sport.

Cornell ends Northeastern’s season with a 5-1 drubbing

by Joe Barbito

PROVIDENCE, RI – It was one of the roughest possible endings for an enchanted season for the Huskies. Northeastern surrendered five goals to the Big Red and will be watching the rest of the NCAA tournament from home.

Cornell got off to a hot start with a goal just about four minutes into the game, and never seemed to take their foot off the gas. Despite the similar statistics in shots and faceoffs, the Big Red were able to play a smarter heavier game that forced sophomore goaltender Cayden Primeau to make mistakes and prevent the Northeastern offense from generating many grade A chances.

Scoring opened up at 4:02 of the first period when senior forward Beau Starrett fired a wrist shot from the slot unimpeded on Primeau. The sophomore appeared to have made the initial save but was not able to clamp down quickly enough and let a dribbler get past him.

The Huskies would go on the power play twice in the first period and generated very little from top to bottom. The size of Cornell seemed to be a difference maker as they could put their sticks in the lanes and prevent Northeastern from getting any sort of tic-tac-toe passing going.

Less than a minute into the second period, senior forward Mitch Vanderlaan entered the zone and positioned himself well in the slot working past junior defenseman Ryan Shea. Vanderlaan roofed a wrister to beat Primeau and make it 2-0.

Nine minutes later sophomore forward Morgan Barron finally capitalized on all of his offensive zone time with a beautiful wraparound goal to make it a three goal game. Cornell widened their margin of victory to four when freshman forward Michael Regush 12th goal of the year.

The lone Northeastern goal came on the power play when senior forward Liam Pecararo hurled a wrist shot to the short side of sophomore goaltender Austin McGrath. The goal gave Pecararo 30 points on the season.

Cornell would get the last laugh when sophomore forward Brendan Locke beat Primeau at the 4:34 mark of the third. The Huskies fell flat after that and skated the game out with little gusto.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but looking back on it we’re the greatest team to ever wear the Husky logo, and that’s gonna be a feeling that’s going to last a lifetime,” said sophomore forward Zach Solow when asked about the make up of this team. “Hopefully it’s broken pretty soon.”

Northeastern hockey will be back in the fall. Until then, thanks for following along with WRBB all season long.