To say that head coach Bart Lundy is building something special at Queens University of Charlotte may be an understatement.
Phenom Hoop Report got a sneak peek into the program, attending an open gym to get a first-hand glimpse of what Queens has to offer and how the programs have grown into a national powerhouse at the Division II level.
Coach Lundy enters his seventh season of his second stint at Queens and 12th overall, as the Royals are coming off a 31-5 record last year and making it to the Elite 8 last year. They are also looking for their fourth consecutive 30-win season, as Lundy holds a 75 percent win percentage at Queens.
Even with a few key losses from last season, the Royals look ready to go once again with a great mixture of guards, experience, size, and young talent. Check out the names to watch for this season.
Senior Daniel Carr: Carr is the leading returning scorer from last year at 15.7 points per game. Carr has the ability to play with and off the ball but one thing he is for-sure capable of doing is getting a bucket. He is wired to score and plays with such physicality on the floor, it is hard for opponents to keep him from attacking. Carr can score inside and out and is fantastic at creating his own shots.
Sophomore Kenny Dye: Dye may have been one of the most impressive prospects on the court. Dye will play as one of the main ball handlers for the Royals, as he plays with a great pace, high IQ, strong handles, and with confidence. He has a smooth jumper and makes the easy plays, reading what defenses give him and uses his handles to get to the lane as well. Expect a big year from Dye this year.
Senior Van Turner Jr.: Turner was facing a small injury but is looking close to returning. When watching him though, there is one thing for sure and that is Turner can be a dangerous shooter from outside. Last year’s stats back that up, as made 113 3-pointers last year, shooting 44.5 percent from behind the arc.
Senior Josh Brodowicz: Brodowicz played in 34 games last year, securing 10 minutes a game as a primary ballhandler and distributor. As a small guard, he provides experience and strong handler that can initiate and bring the ball up the court.
Sophomore Jermaine Patterson: Patterson saw action early on as a freshman last year and should once again this season. Patterson’s game really takes off when he has the ball in his hands, as he is one of the quickest guards on the court at all times. Changing direction, getting defenders off balance, and using that speed to attack is where he excels. We shall see if he has worked on his three-point game, which would add another level to his game.
Senior Jachai Taylor: Explosive wing type prospect that originally played at Murray State, Taylor brings versatility to the floor and is for sure one of those rotation-type players. His explosiveness and athleticism catch your eye quickly, but he also shot 54 percent from the floor last year including 40 percent from three. Is one of those do-it-all type players, whether it is needing his length, athleticism, or rebounding on the floor.
Redshirt sophomore Kayle Mason played in nine games last year and brings versatility to the floor with his frame. Redshirt junior Jonathan Horodyski stands at 6’6 and is a nice spot-up shooter but also a coaches’ player, as he fills in where is needed for this team.
Key transfers coming in:
Junior Peanut Cunningham: Coming from McCook Community College, Cunningham provides a solid role as a physical, sturdy guard that can put the ball on the deck and finish through contact. Time and time again, he ran in transition and finished strong around the rim.
Senior Jordan Oakley: Oakey provides strength as a forward, as he has a solid in and out game but really works well as a slasher, downhill type prospect. Before Eastern Kentucky, Oakley averaged 18.2 points, 8.1 rebounds per game at Louisburg.
Also keep an eye on 6’4 junior guard Teddy Fifer as well, who comes from Pratt Community College.
New faces on the team:
RS Freshman Jamari Smith: Smith may not officially be a new face to the team after playing five games before a medical redshirt. But Smith is going to play a big role for the Royals this year. He was named the GHSAA 6A State Player of the Year and showed flashes of why he could be a great replacement down low. He moved really well on the floor, showcasing a strong finish but also a nice touch that allowed him to step out from the rim. Smith moves really well in the half-court, moving to open spots but also playing well in pick-and-roll situations.
Freshman Jay’Den Turner: Turner continues to make great strides at Queens. Standing at 6’5 already, Turner uses his length incredibly well to his advantage on both sides of the court. Offensively, he can stretch the floor with his outside shot, using his length to rise up over defenders as well as create extra opportunities. Defensively, he can be disruptive and rebound the ball. Turner is still learning just what he is capable of doing but expect him to carve out a role this year.
Freshman AJ McKee: McKee provides another ball-handler and is competitive on the defensive end; he gets after it against experienced guards and doesn’t back down. He showcased that he can be a vocal player on defense and a scrappy guard that can body up guards and finish around the rim.
Freshman Gavin Rains: Rains has made an impression on the staff early on. One thing that you will get with Rains is competitiveness and physicality. He finishes with two hands around the rim but also showcased that he has a few moves with his back to the basket. But he brings instant energy and muscle to the floor, and he will scrap it up with anyone.
Freshman Mike Fowler: Fowler comes with a winning pedigree and is fundamentally sound forward. He moves well, can put the ball on the floor, and has a soft touch around the rim as well as stretch the defense with his mid-range shot.
Freshman Zeke Littlejohn: Another freshman guard that is quietly working his way onto the court. In high school, he was known as a very good shooter and doesn’t need a ton of room to get it off. Look for him to do the same at Queens.
Freshman Kam Flynn from Ardrey Kell is another prospect part of an impressive freshmen class.