Saint Joseph's In The Thick Of The Race

By Andy Jasner - October 25, 2007

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli is one of the most affable coaches in the country.

He's sincere. He's candid. He's simply honest.

When talking about his team's performance last season (18-14, no postseason), he was blunt.

"We weren't tough enough," Martelli said.

The Hawks saw their postseason run of six straight appearances come to an end.

But four starters return, including Ahmad Nivins, Rob Ferguson and Pat Calathes. With a strong recruiting class, the expectations are higher as the Hawks are picked to finish third in the preseason poll with seven first-place votes.

Nivins was exceptional last season, averaging 16.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

"I can do better," the soft-spoken Nivins said. "I think we have the type of team to compete for the league championship. I'm excited to be a part of it. We're used to playing in postseason games and it didn't happen last season. We want to change that this season."

It starts with toughness, according to Martelli.

"I liked what I saw in the spring and I liked what I saw in the beginning of practice," he said. "The team looks focused. It's what you do to prepare by yourself that makes you tougher."

Posted by Andy Jasner at 11:38 AM on October 25, 2007

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