One of the last two teams to tip off their 2018-19 season, Dean College opens its campaign with a stretch that sees them play five of their first six games at home. That one exclusion is the season opener on the road against an Emmanuel College team that will have two games under its belt.
GUESS WHO IS BACK
The Bulldogs return their top five scorers from a team that went 15-12 a season ago and advanced to the postseason for the second straight year.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAINS
Dean has named four student-athletes as captains for the 2018-19 season. Junior Jordan Booker (Waterbury, Conn.) will join the Bulldogs' three seniors – Armani Baker (Pawtucket, R.I.), Dayvon Russell (Naugatuck, Conn.) and Randolf Thurman (Swampscott, Mass.).
Jordan Booker returns after a sophomore campaign that saw him earn All-America status from the USCAA, First-Team All-Conference honors from the NECC after averaging 18 points, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals in 26 games.
Even with the Bulldogs returning all that firepower and finishing tied for second in the conference last season, Dean was picked to finish fifth in the NECC preseason coaches' poll. Defending league champion Southern Vermont and league newcomer New England College were picked to finish first.
DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS
The Bulldogs welcome a host of newcomers to the program from as far as California in D'caran Anderson (Compton, Calif.) but no state provided more new Bulldogs than Texas. The seven newcomers from the Lone Star State include Jaren Brooks (Odessa, Texas), De'marquez Hadnot (Pflugerville, Texas), Elijah Martinez (Friendswood, Texas), Sean Odum (Rowlette, Texas), Nick Sampeck (Blanco, Texas), Ozwaldo Terrazas (Odessa, Texas) and DJ Whaley (Imperial, Texas).
Armani Baker returns to the fold after a season in which he started all 27 games and averaged 12.1 points and exactly ten rebounds per game. Baker totaled eight double-doubles and shot 53.8 percent from the field – good for third in the NECC.
UNDER THE RADAR
The junior season Randolf Thurman had in 2017-18 was one many people might not have noticed. He appeared in all 27 games, averaged 10.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, while leading the NECC in three-point percentage (43.2) and led all guards in the NECC in overall field goal percentage (49.8).
No team in the NECC shot the ball better from three-point land than the Bulldogs in 2017-18. Not only did they lead the league in three-point percentage (36.0), but on seven occasions last season they connected on ten or more shots from behind the arc and went 5-2 in those contests.
No student-athlete finished the season like Dayvon Russell did. In his final three games, Russell averaged 24.3 points and connected on a season-best six three-pointers in the season-ending 89-80 loss to Florida College.
One huge reason Dean finished second in the conference in blocks per game a season ago (3.3), was Josh Croskey (Union, N.J.). He averaged 2.0 blocks per game and had six games with four blocks or more, including when he rejected six shots, scored 19 points and had 14 rebounds in a thrilling 79-75 win over Wheaton.