Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season, as voted by our staff. Today, we feature #24 James Demery of Saint Joseph’s.
In the absence of Lamarr Kimble and Charlie Brown, James Demery stepped up all season long to be the leader Saint Joseph’s needed. Averaging 16.9 points per game, Demery had some serious scoring performances that lifted the Hawks to some big wins. While Shavar Newkirk was the best player and Taylor Funk was a nice surprise as a freshman, James Demery was the X-Factor that kept SJU competitive at the end of the year.
Demery scored in double figures in every game he played in this past season with the exception of one. Perhaps his biggest game of the season came towards the end of the year against Rhode Island, scoring 21 points, knocking down 9 field goals, and grabbing 7 boards to secure the most surprising win of Atlantic 10 play. It’s difficult to pick one game where Demery really stood out, as he scored at least 20 points 9 times this past season. He went out with a bang and put up a good fight in his final showing against URI in the Atlantic 10 semifinals. Whether he got enough credit for it or not, James Demery was a crucial player all year long.
1.2. As a senior, James Demery really stepped up on the defensive end, averaging 1.2 steals per game. He only had 0.5 steals per game his junior year, so the progression was certainly crucial.
9.6. James Demery’s 9.6% turnover rate was the 4th best in the Atlantic 10, a monumental improvement from the previous season where he coughed the ball up more than 3 times per game.
330 Demery attempted 330 two pointers his senior season, more than 100 more than his junior year. He knocked down 52.4% of his shots inside the three point line and clearly became a go-to-guy his senior season.
Saint Joseph’s has suffered from Murphy’s Law for the past two season, and it hasn’t been fun for the program or the fanbase. That being said, guys like James Demery came into the spotlight and stepped up. Demery’s progression from a role-player to a starter and eventual go-to-player is exactly what Phil Martelli wanted to get out of him, and as a senior, Demery was playing the best basketball of his career. Losing him and Shavar Newkirk to graduation will hurt the Hawks, but they should bounce back nicely with returning talent.