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The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Basketball offseason wraps up as MAAC Championship push begins

Photo courtesy of IonaGaels.com
Angelika Szumilo won consecutive NEC regular season championships in 2021 and 2022.

November marks the start of college basketball season and this off-season has been an interesting one for both the Iona University men’s and women’s basketball teams, especially when considering how the coaches in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference voted them to finish the season.  

Starting with the men, it’s been one of the wildest offseasons in college basketball. Following a first round exit in March Madness Tournament, Rick Pitino left to take the head coaching spot at St. John’s University. Iona then hired Tobin Anderson, who was the head coach that led Fairleigh Dickinson University to a first round upset over the top-seed Purdue University.  

Anderson welcomed a whole new roster because the previous years’ roster, with the exception of Osborn Shema, had left the team. Despite all the roster turnover, coaches still picked Iona to finish second in the MAAC for this upcoming season in the annual preseason poll.  

Divisional coaches also named three Gaels to the preseason All-MAAC teams. They named graduate forward Osborn Shema and graduate guards Joel Brown and Idan Tretout, who transferred from University of California Berkley and Harvard University, respectively to these teams. Another player to look out for this season is Greg Gordon, who averaged a 24-point double-double last season at Dyersburg State Community College and could be a sleeper pick for an All-MAAC selection by season’s end if all goes well for both him and the Gaels on the court. 

The men start their season on the road at the College of Charleston on Nov. 6. They play their first game at the Hynes Athletic Center on Nov. 10 when the Gaels host Sacred Heart University. Iona opens MAAC play at home against Marist on Nov. 29 and Senior Day is on March 9 against Siena. 

The women’s team’s offseason started similarly to the men’s one. After winning the MAAC Championship and losing in the first round to Duke University in the March Madness Tournament, Billi Chambers left the Gaels to take the head coaching job at Xavier University. Her successor was FDU women’s basketball head coach, Angelika Szumilo, who won two Coach of the Year Awards in her four years as head coach.  

Nine new players are joining the Gaels for this upcoming season. While some returning players, like Amaya Evans and Petra Oborliva, will have a bigger role and thrive in the new system, odds are that a lot of the rotation will be made up of players new to the school and team. Despite not being named to any of the preseason All-MAAC teams, both junior guard Ella Fajardo and graduate forward Sierra DeAngelo, whom transferred from FDU, have  a great chance of making any of the All-MAAC teams by the end of the season.  

The Iona women’s basketball team was voted to finish seventh in the MAAC this season.  

With the Gaels starting their season on Nov. 7 at Seton Hall and their home opener against Long Island University five days later, it’ll be interesting to see how much better the team could do this season than projected. 


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Michael Marchionna
Michael Marchionna, Staff Writer

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