Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Iona G Sean Armand about what it takes to be 1 of the best 3-PT shooters in the nation.
You lost your leading scorer from last year (Momo Jones, whose 22.6 points per game was third in the nation). How will your team be able to fill the offensive void left by his departure? We are a real athletic team with a lot of good shooters, so everyone is willing to play together and feed the hot hand. Momo was a huge part of our team but we will be fine.
Your non-conference road schedule includes trips to Kansas, Dayton, and Nevada, which of these three games do you feel will present your biggest test? Of course Kansas: it will be like playing a team we face in the NCAA tourney. With our size we will see early on how we can compete with one of the highest-ranked teams in the country. Dayton and Nevada will also be good tests for us.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season? We want to start off and take it one game at a time. I want to win the MAAC regular season title, win the MAAC tourney, and then win a couple of games in the NCAA tourney.
You played in all 37 games as a freshman. How were you able to come in and contribute from the start? I was actually supposed to be a starter from day one due to my play in our preseason scrimmages but had a little medical setback.
In the 2011 CIT title game you scored 14 points in a seven-point loss to Santa Clara. What was the reaction like in your locker room afterward? We lost two championships that season. We were pretty down after losing to St. Peter’s in the MAAC tourney title game after sweeping them during the regular season, but we all came together because we did not want our seniors to go out with a loss.
In the 2012 NCAA tourney you scored 10 points in a six-point loss to BYU. How on earth were the Cougars able to come back from a 25-point deficit (the biggest comeback in NCAA tourney history)? It was on us: we were not hitting shots or penetrating. We are a pressing team, so if we do not score then we cannot press. We thought the game was over early but you have to play all 40 minutes, which we learned the hard way.
In the 2013 NCAA tourney Sam Thompson had a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds in a win by Ohio State in Dayton. What did you learn from that game that you think can help you this year? That was my second time in the tourney. We fell behind early because a lot of the new guys were just happy to be there. We were not as composed as we needed to be and let the game slip away.
Last year your 3.27 three-pointers-per-game was among the best in the nation: what is your secret for making shots from behind the arc? A lot of repetition and practicing different situations: coming off a screen, stop-and-pop, etc.