Last season, the Saint Joseph’s Hawks won the Atlantic 10 conference tournament, made the NCAA Tournament and loss to the eventual national champions the UConn Huskies in the first round. The Hawks were led by seniors Langston Galloway, Halil Kanacevic, Ronald Roberts Jr. and freshman DeAndre’ Bembry.
Many people did not know much about Bembry, the 6’6″ prospect out of Charlotte, North Carolina, who attended the Patrick School in New Jersey. The kid with the afro was also unknown to the local media in Philadelphia but not to head coach Phil Martelli.
As a freshman, Bembry played a lot of minutes, which can only bode well for his sophomore season. He would go on to play 32.6 minutes and average 12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. You might think to yourself, that’s unheard of for a freshman to play that many minutes, but for St. Joes it filled a much-needed void at the small forward position. Bembry also complimented the seniors on the team very well with his style of play too.
On the court, Bembry didn’t play like a freshman, he played like an upperclassmen as his feel for the game was tremendous. When you watch him play, he has an old school type of game and he looks like he could be the next great player on Hawk Hill. Yes, I said it. He could be mentioned in the same breath as Jameer Nelson and Delonte West when his career is finished and we know what those two accomplished on Hawk Hill.
The stats backup this statement on Bembry. This past season, in a loss to Doug McDermott and Creighton, Bembry scored 20 points in 37 minutes. He also shot 8-for-14 from the field and 4-for-8 from three-point range. Then against VCU on Feb. 8, in what was a must-win game for the Hawks in terms of making the NCAA Tournament, they defeated the Rams 69-62. Bembry would go on to score 18 points and grab six rebounds. He would also shoot 8-for-13 from the field.
Throughout the entire season, he would score less than 10 points in only eight games. Bembry should get better over his college career as he shot 45.8 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from three-point range as a freshman.
Bembry picked up many accolades this past season as he was named Atlantic 10 Co-Rookie of the Year, Big Five Rookie of the Year, an All-Rookie Team selection and selected to the Kyle Macy Freshman All-America squad.
Finally, when looking at his stats in comparison to Nelson and West, they are similar. As a freshman back in the 2000-01 season, Nelson averaged 12.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game and from there, he exploded on to the scene. He also shot 46.1 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from three-point range. When West stepped on to the court in the 2001-02 season as a freshman, he only averaged 5.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 17 minutes per game. So it seems as if Bembry could be following in Jameer Nelson’s footsteps at Hawk Hill.
DeAndre’ Bembry has so much talent that he will most likely rack up more accolades as his career continues at St. Joes. If he continues to play well and keep on improving his game, then he will go down as one of the great players to ever step foot on Hawk Hill.