Projecting Quinnipiac Men’s Basketball’s Lineup and Depth Chart


Photos: Liz Flynn/QBSN; Graphic: Q30 Sports

Kevin Higgins

While the times have certainly changed since the last time we saw Baker Dunleavy’s Quinnipiac men’s basketball team take the court — both in Hamden and the world as a whole — college basketball is officially back, and that means it’s time for some MAACtion at the People’s United Center (even if it’s without fans).

The Bobcats, like every college basketball team this season, will have a great deal of uncertainty heading into play, but their situation is even more precarious without the presence of the team’s two best players.

Guard Rich Kelly and forward/center Kevin Marfo both utilized the transfer portal this offseason, shipping off to Boston College and Texas A&M, respectively. While losing the team’s leading scorer and the nation’s leading rebounder certainly leaves a massive hole in the lineup, Dunleavy has a group loaded with young potential to mix and match with, and the team’s success this season depends on the quality of depth pieces they have.

With that being said, let’s get into how Quinnipiac lineups might look this season.

Backcourt Starters

Savion Lewis

In this writer’s humble opinion, Quinnipiac’s ceiling for the 2020-21 season is only as high as their star guard’s. The former Mr. Basketball of New York was limited by injuries last season after redshirting his first year on campus, but it is now unquestionably Lewis’s time to shine.

With Kelly out of the picture, Lewis should assume primary ballhandling duties, and if he’s on the court consistently, that 6.5/2.3/2.0 line will see massive improvements. You can’t teach speed, and Lewis has plenty – one of the quickest players in the conference, he has serious potential to rack up some hardware this season.

Tyrese Williams

Now one of the veterans of the program, the junior should provide the other half of a powerful guard tandem with Lewis. The leading returning scorer on the team, Williams has shown flashes of the true triple threat with the ball in his hands: he can drive with ease, showcases occasional range, and can get teammates involved.

While he will now be shown more attention by opposing defenses without Kelly, Williams has both enough individual talent and depth around him to put together the best season of his Quinnipiac career. Expect his numbers to increase across the board, but especially as a scorer, where he’s primed to average double digits on a consistent basis.

Backcourt Depth

Tyree Pickron

Pickron will get important minutes off the bench, and there’s a chance he could parlay his role from giving Lewis/Williams a breather into a bona fide rotational piece. Dunleavy played the junior for almost 15 minutes a game last year, but Pickron might force his hand and get more minutes if he continues to be more aggressive on the offensive end of the ball – Pickron increased his FG%, 3PT% and FT% last year while taking more shots than he did his first year.

Matt Balanc

Balanc was a pleasant surprise for Quinnipiac last year, as the redshirt sophomore averaged 7.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game while shooting at over a 40% clip. Additionally, he was a high energy spark plug, providing a much-needed boost on the defensive end. His role could fluctuate a little this year with the surplus of guard talent, but expect him to regularly log double-digit minutes.

The New Kids – Tymu Chenery, Bol Akot, Luis Kortright

This trio of guards bears the biggest upside and biggest question mark for the team’s campaign. Akot seems to be the most “ready” for college ball, as he’s shined bright in high-level high school basketball camps, tournaments and circuits. Akot showed promise in scoring efficiently at a high clip, which was more or less the Rich Kelly blueprint during his time in Hamden, so he could provide an instant impact.

Chenery might end up at the forward position before long, as his rebounding ability (6.4 RPG in 2018-19) could be vital to a smaller team. Dunleavy will likely have the 6’6” Chenery start the season at guard to provide a height mismatch, but regardless, he’ll feature heavily in the new-look offense.

Kortright might be the odd man out in the guard rotation, but not due to a lack of talent: his scoring prowess at the legendary St. Raymond’s High School in New York could prove vital if Dunleavy needs a hot hand off the bench or a role player to step up with confidence. He’ll likely be eased into the rotation slower than the other two, but sooner or later, Kortright will be a regular contributor.

Frontcourt Starters

Jacob Rigoni

Rigoni will be in his signature stretch forward position for his senior year, and the Australian native looks to have found his niche in the offense. Ever the long-range sharpshooter, Rigoni saw an increase in efficiency from deep last season after a down 2018-19.

For Rigoni, the key will always be if he can expand his offensive range – if he becomes a threat to score more off the dribble or down low, the already uber-talented player could vault himself onto an All-MAAC team.

Elias King

King is a Santa Monica Junior College transfer, and he might be the unicorn Dunleavy has been waiting for. A 6’9” forward with range at this level is already rare, but if you put that together with rebounding ability (6 RPG in 2019-20) and an unprecedented level of effectiveness from every spot on the floor – King just barely missed the 50/40/90 club with a 51.4 FG%, 41.9 3PT%, and 88.2 FT% – you might have a genuine star on your hands. King might end up being the most important player on the team if he can replicate his previous season’s performances.

Seth Pinkney

The seven-footer might have the most important job on Quinnipiac’s roster this year, which is to replace the program-changing monster that is Marfo.

No one is expecting him to lead the nation in rebounding, but his minutes are going to skyrocket this season, and there’s a ton of pressure on him to at least show signs that he can fill Marfo’s shoes. Averaging 3.0/2.9 with over a block per game in just over an 11-minute average is impressive, but Pinkney will need across the board improvement to cement himself as a reliable option on both ends of the court.

Frontcourt Depth

Brendan McGuire

McGuire was more or less an unknown as he entered his freshman year, but the Chaminade product burst into the rotation last season, as his army knife-like versatility allowed him to serve in a multitude of important roles.

A guard/forward hybrid that will likely play more of the latter, McGuire can drive, pass and shoot at respectable clips, and his defensive ability is extremely valuable – he can take on both guards and forwards, with his on and off-ball defensive presence causing an issue for many MAAC opponents.

Jamil Riggins

Riggins is a redshirt first-year who will also look to bring a dual-threat presence to Quinnipiac’s rotation. In addition to averaging double-digit points per game over his last two high school seasons, Riggins was also a two-time defensive player of the year. While a tad undersized at the forward position, his large frame allows him to be a force on the glass and down low against more traditional big men. He should serve as a complementary piece in this forward group, and he has plenty of room to grow, both physically and as a player.