As we count down the days to the start of the 2018-19 season, A10 Talk will be brining you its preseason power rankings, as voted on by its team of writers. We begin the countdown with #14 Fordham Rams.
Returnees to Watch
Unfortunately for Fordham, this category isn’t as full as the Rams would’ve hoped. Losing star guard Joseph Chartouny to the transfer market was the biggest blow to Jeff Neubauer and company this offseason. Chartouny averaged 12.1 points and 5.0 assists per game for the Rams last year but will finish his career up at Marquette. Also gone are Perris Hicks, Cavit Havsa, and Tre Evans. On the plus side, Fordham has some frontcourt depth that could keep the Rams competitive this season. Slanina will be absent due to a shoulder injury, but Chuba Ohams will look to take a step up this season as well as senior forwards David Pekarek and Jesse Bunting. Freshman Ivan Raut showed that he can knock down the three ball with consistency last season and should also take a step up. Unfortunately for the Rams, they’ve lost quite a bit of talent to the transfer market, and the injury to Slanina is a dagger. You can’t sugarcoat it; this is going to be a difficult season to be a Fordham fan.
Newcomers to Watch
Perhaps the silver lining for Fordham in what will be a tough year is the freshman class that Jeff Neubauer brings in. Nick Honor is a 3 star point guard from Florida who should have a shot at making the A-10 All-Rookie team this season; plenty of scouts have expressed excitement about Honor, and he’ll take over immediately at the helm without Joseph Chartouny in the mix. Onyinyechi Eyisi is a 6-10 forward that should get immediate playing time and help pick up the slack of Slanina. The Rams also bring in 4 more freshmen, including 6-4 shooting guard Chris Austin. With a lot of new faces at Fordham, the Rams are going to need some time to rebuild; however, Neubauer has a strong freshman class to lay the foundation.
Games to Watch
Fordham’s most exciting non-conference game will likely be against Rutgers when it plays host to the Big Ten team on December 8th. That will be a tough challenge for Neubauer and company and would certainly be a step in the right direction for the program if they could pull it off. Fordham may be able to string together a decent non-conference record given its lackluster quality of opponents, but in all honesty, that’s probably a good thing. The Rams need to rebuild after all of their losses this offseason, and there probably isn’t much good in facing a bucketload of Power 5 teams. Fordham should get tested by teams like James Madison, Columbia, and FIU, hopefully giving the freshmen a chance to compete in tight games.
It’s going to be a tough year for Fordham. In all honesty, the stock lies in the freshman class right now, specifically Nick Honor, and my hope is that the Rams develop that group so they can get some traction moving forward. This will be a young and inexperienced team that won’t win a lot of conference games. It’s going to take some time for Fordham to get back on the right track, but Jeff Neubauer needs to instill some confidence in the program given the recent turnover rate of his upperclassmen. The Rams have had some talented players in the past, but keeping them in The Bronx has been a different story. Let’s see if Fordham can gain some sort of momentum after this season, even if the record doesn’t show it.