|RMU 2011-12 Season in Review|
Overall: 26-11 • NEC: 13-5
Third Place in the NEC • Seventh Straight Winning Season
2012 NEC Tournament Runner-Up • 2012 CIT Quarterfinalist
Top Story - Led by second-year head coach Andrew Toole, the Robert Morris University men's basketball team posted an overall record of 26-11 (.703) in 2011-12, including a mark of 13-5 (.722) in the Northeast Conference that was good enough to finish third in the league standings. The Colonials advanced to their fourth straight NEC Tournament championship game before falling @ No. 1 seed LIU Brooklyn (3/7/12), 90-73. Despite falling short of its third NCAA Tournament appearance in the last four years, RMU accepted a bid to the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, the program's fourth postseason appearance in the last five years. In the CIT, Robert Morris advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to road wins @ Indiana State (3/13/12) and Toledo (3/17/12) before suffering a 67-61 loss @ Fairfield (3/21/12). Redshirt junior guard Velton Jones was named to the 2012 All-NEC First Team and led the Colonials in scoring (16.0 ppg), assists (167) and steals (68), while freshman forward Lucky Jones earned spots on both the 2012 All-NEC Rookie Team and the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Freshman All-America Team. In his first year at Robert Morris, Lucky Jones averaged 8.5 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds per contest. In addition to earning a spot on the 2012 All-NEC First Team, Velton Jones joined redshirt sophomore guard Coron Williams as members of the 2012 All-NEC Tournament Team. Williams averaged 10.8 points per game for the Colonials in 2011-12, converting 87 three-pointers, the second highest single-season total in school history. Both Williams and redshirt junior forward Russell Johnson have opportunities to join the RMU 1,000-point club next season, as Johnson is 131 points shy of becoming the 21st member of the club, while Williams needs 365 points to eclipse 1,000 career points.
What's Next - Already in the midst of its golden era in program history thanks to seven straight winning seasons, the 2011-12 Robert Morris roster featured just one senior and returns the bulk of its production next year. RMU's only senior in 2011-12 was forward Lawrence Bridges, who averaged 3.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 55.3 percent (105-for-190) from the field in 65 career games. The Colonials return four starters and nine letterwinners in 2012-13, highlighted by guards Velton Jones and Coron Williams and forwards Russell Johnson and Lucky Jones. In all, Robert Morris returns an astounding 92.2 percent (2,334-of-2,532) of its scoring, 86.2 percent (1,150-of-1,323) of its rebounding and 88.8 percent (443-of-498) of its assists. Since the beginning of the 2005-06 campaign, RMU has compiled an overall record of 149-81 (.648) during its seven consecutive winning seasons.
Head of the Class - Considered by many to be the heart and soul of the Colonials, redshirt junior guard Velton Jones put forth arguably one of the best seasons in school history in 2011-12. In addition to setting both single-season (207) and career (397) records for free throws, Jones broke seven other junior class records. Included in that list are games started (36), points (591), field goals attempted (457), assists (167), free-throws attempted (270) and minutes played (1,096). Jones became the 21st member of the RMU 1,000-point club in 2011-12 when he exploded for 35 points in an 81-73 victory @ Monmouth (1/21/12) and finished the season with 1,259 career points. He will enter his final season of eligibility next year ranked 11th all-time at Robert Morris in scoring, just 18 points shy of moving into the top 10. Jones also owns 393 career assists and would need 163 as a senior in 2012-13 to break the all-time record of 555 that is held by former point guard Forest Grant (1980-84).
Lucky Charms - Lucky Jones showed steady improvement throughout the course of his first collegiate season in 2011-12, and the freshman forward played his best basketball of the year during the month of March. Over RMU's final six games of the year, which included three contests in both the 2012 Northeast Conference Tournament and the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, Jones averaged 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 46 percent (23-for-50) from the field and producing a team-high eight steals. Jones paced Robert Morris in rebounding in 2011-12 by pulling down an average of 6.1 per game, and he became just the second freshman in school history to eclipse 200 rebounds in a season. Jones finished with 213 caroms, behind only all-time leading rebounder Anthony Dickens (1985-90), who posted 237 boards in his first season in 1985-86.
A Run At the Record? While freshman forward Lucky Jones got off to a great start rebounding the basketball in his first season in 2011-12, redshirt junior forward Russell Johnson will enter his final season of eligibility with a chance to become the program's all-time leading rebounder. Johnson, who became the 16th member of the Robert Morris 500-rebound club in 2011-12 thanks to eight boards in a 70-56 victory over in-state rival Saint Francis (Pa.) (2/11/12), finished second for the Colonials in 2011-12 with 177 rebounds in 31 games, an average of 5.7 per contest. Johnson owns 565 career caroms entering the 2012-13 season and is 187 rebounds shy of becoming the program's all-time leading rebounder. Based on a 31-game regular-season schedule, Johnson would need to average 6.0 boards a contest to eclipse the mark. Currently, former Colonials Anthony Dickens (1985-90) and Tony Lee (2004-08) share the career record of 751 rebounds.
Experience Counts - Despite falling short of a Northeast Conference record eighth league tournament championship @ LIU Brooklyn (3/7/12), the Colonials will enter the 2012-13 campaign loaded with postseason experience. Of RMU's 14 players that made up its roster in 2011-12, six have played at least six NEC Tournament contests in their respective careers. In fact, of the 53 combined career games of experience in the postseason on its 2011-12 roster, the Colonials will return 44 in 2012-13. A look at how four key players have played for RMU in the NEC Tournament on their respective careers ...
* Redshirt junior guard Velton Jones, tabbed to the 2012 All-NEC Tournament Team, averaged 15.7 points and 5.3 assists in three games, including a game-high 25 points in a 71-64 victory @ No. 2 seed Wagner (3/4/12) in the semifinals of the 2012 NEC Tournament ... In nine career games in the NEC Tournament Jones has averaged 14.9 points, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals per contest ... Jones has scored in double figures in eight of his nine career NEC Tournament games and has shot 82.7 percent (43-for-52) at the charity stripe.
* Redshirt sophomore guard Coron Williams also earned a spot on the 2012 All-NEC Tournament Team after leading the Colonials with a 16.3 points per game average ... Williams established an NEC Tournament single-game record with eight three-pointers in an 87-68 win over No. 6 Monmouth (3/1/12) in the quarterfinals of the 2012 NEC Tournament and in six career games in the postseason has averaged 15.8 points per contest while shooting 61.3 percent (19-for-31) from beyond the arc.
* Redshirt junior forward Russell Johnson has averaged 9.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in nine career NEC Tournament tilts ... Freshman forward Lucky Jones averaged 13.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in the 2012 NEC Tournament while shooting 45.2 percent (14-for-31) from the field.
A Special Season - Redshirt junior guard Velton Jones became the seventh different Colonial in school history to eclipse the 500-point plateau in a season in 2011-12 and finished the year with 591 points, the second highest total in the RMU single-season record book. The total for Jones trails only Robert Morris all-time leading scorer Myron Walker (1990-94), who scored 614 points as a sophomore in 1991-92 en route to Northeast Conference Player of the Year accolades. Even with his ability to score, Jones also finished with a team-high 167 assists in 2011-12, which ranks as the fifth highest total in single-season history. Jones is the only Colonial in school history to own top five totals in both points and assists in the same season.
Golden Era - While Robert Morris is in the midst of its golden era in the 36-year history as a Division I program, an area that gets credit for that success is RMU's ability to convert from beyond the arc. Redshirt sophomore guard Coron Williams posted a team-high 87 three-pointers in 2011-12, the second highest total in the RMU single-season record book. Former Colonial Scott Shepard (1988-91) owns the single-season mark with 93 during his first year with RMU in 1988-89. In 2011-12, Williams became the third player in the last four years to hit at least 80 three-pointers in a season and is also the eighth different Colonial in the last 11 years to post one of the top 10 single-season marks in three-point field goals.
Big Mac - Sophomore forward Mike McFadden hopefully showed a glimpse of what's to come in the future in RMU's final game of the 2011-12 season in the quarterfinals of the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. McFadden paced the Colonials in a 67-61 setback @ Fairfield (3/21/12) with a career-high 20 points, converting eight of his 12 shots from the floor. He also grabbed seven rebounds against the Stags, including six offensive boards. A transfer from Iona, McFadden became eligible to play for the Colonials in December of 2011, and in 27 games in 2011-12 he provided averages of 8.4 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 53.9 percent (90-for-167) from the field, which paced Colonials that scored at least 200 points on the year.
The Rock - Guard Velton Jones has been a rock for Robert Morris over the last three seasons, as the redshirt junior will enter his final season of eligibility in 2012-13 owning the longest active streak for games played. Jones has played in 104 straight games for RMU dating back to the 2009-10 campaign and owns 98 career starts, far and away the highest mark for a Colonial. Jones is just two starts shy of becoming the fifth player in school history to start at least 100 career games, and he needs 23 starting assignments next year to break the school record of 120 that is held by former Colonial Jeremy Chappell (2005-09).