Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at 335 Division I teams. To order the complete 2011-12 edition of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com or call 1-877-807-4857.
(Information in this team report is as of Oct. 1.)
COACH AND PROGRAM
Some nights Dan Hurley considered suiting up his brother and sending him out on the floor. The rest of the NEC might have protested had former Duke star Bobby Hurley donned a Wagner uniform and ran the offense, but the truth is the Seahawks had more point guards in suits than on the roster last season.
"I almost subbed Bobby in a few times," the younger Hurley said, laughing.
Even without a true point man, Hurley and his assistants accomplished plenty in their first season in Staten Island:
• They won eight more games than in 2010.
• They returned to the conference tournament after a one year break.
• Most importantly, they restored a buzz to the Wagner program.
"Last year the players gave us all they had," Hurley said. "We maxed out what we were capable of doing."
With all of their starters back and a couple of real point guards coming in, the Seahawks believe they could take it even farther this season.
"With the amount of returning players we have and the five players we added to the mix, we feel good about where we are at in rebuilding the program," Hurley said. "We did some nice things [last year] and the guys know what it takes to play at Wagner."
Tyler Murray (16.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.5 apg) did his part filling out a stat sheet nightly to earning first-team all-conference honors. The 6-5 senior doubled his point production while thriving in Hurley's system.
"We identified him really early in workouts and saw him as a wing player who could score," said Hurley, who also noticed something else about Murray's game. "He's an edgy player, which I like. He has a mean streak."
Sophomore Latif Rivers (13.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, .346 3PT) also turned out to be a difference maker in his first season. Hurley was so high on the 6-1 guard from New Jersey that he couldn't wait to get hired.
"I wanted them to speed up the hiring process so he didn't sign somewhere else," Hurley said. "We sensed coming in he could be a legitimate second scorer."
Rivers went through some freshman lulls and also battled a shoulder injury (torn labrum), but he turned into a perfect compliment to Murray. His 56 three-pointers were three shy of Murray's team-high 59, plus Rivers got the job done at the free-throw line, leading the NEC at 89.1 percent (122-for-137).
When 5-11 senior Chris Martin (9.8 ppg, 3.7 apg) joined the attack, the Seahawks had another threat from outside. Martin, who led the team in scoring two years ago at 12.1 ppg, made 50 treys and shot 41 percent from behind the arc.
Martin and Murray both handled the point last season, but two newcomers will via for that job: Southern Miss transfer Kenneth Ortiz, a 6-0 sophomore, and 6-0 freshman Marcus Burton, from David W. Butler in Charlotte, N.C.
Ortiz played in 26 games for Southern Miss in 2009-10 and made two starts, averaging 1.2 points and 1.0 rebounds. Burton averaged 20.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.9 steals last season.
"I feel really good about the options we are going to have," Hurley said.
Five-foot-11 junior Danny Mundweiler was another three-point threat (28-of-85, .329) off the bench and adds depth at guard along with 6-6 junior Jonathan Williams, a transfer from City College of San Francisco.
Williams averaged 14 points and eight rebounds at CCSF, where he led the program to a 32-1 record and California Community Athletic Association title. Williams was the co-player of the year in the North Conference.
"He can play anywhere from the one to the four and he brings a mature presence to our team," Hurley said. "He's a grown up."
"Parker was one of the biggest surprises in our league," Hurley said. "To have two freshmen start at the four and five in our league -- and we are not a one-and-done league, but one dominated by upper classmen -- is tough to do."
Naurais played for the French National team in the U18 European Championship last summer and will add to the Seahawks' perimeter game.
Moody is a versatile player that can handle both forward positions and even center.
"He's a world-class athlete and an above-the-rim talent," Hurley said.
Thompson came off the bench in 29 games and turned into a solid sub.
BLUE RIBBON ANALYSIS
The Hurley name was what drew people to come see Wagner play last season. This year people know the Seahawks have players on the floor with serious game, too.
Just like with most programs that add a new coach, things start to settle in the second season.
The coaching staff and players have a good feel for each other, and Hurley has a good idea about the other teams in the league.
Even though the Seahawks finished with a losing record, the fact they return five starters and are bringing in a talented recruiting class has the rest of the league's attention.
The Seahawks will get an early-season glimpse of what it's like to celebrate a championship when they visit Connecticut in the second game of the season. If they improve like they did in Hurley's season, they might get to celebrate a title of their own come NEC Tournament time.
For the most comprehensive previews available on all 335 Division I teams, order the "Bible" of college basketball, the 2011-12 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, at www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com or call 1-877-807-4857.