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2015 March Madness: Can A.J. English Help Iona Sneak In?


The Iona Gaels are likely a lock for the MAAC Conference regular season title. If all goes right they will win advance to the NCAA Tournament. With a full three weeks of the season remaining, the Gaels can’t let up. With a potent offensive attack, March Madness can’t come soon enough.

Led by the scoring of A.J. English III and fellow junior, David Laury, the Gaels rank fifth in the nation with an 82.3 points per game average. That’s a full 11 points higher than the closest team in the MAAC Conference.

A contributing factor to the gaudy scoring is the team’s 236 made three-pointers which places them fifth among all teams in the nation. The Gaels have three players in English, Isaiah Williams and Schadrac Casmir that have made 50 or more three’s this season. This solidifies them as of the best shooting team’s in the country, and it all starts with English.

Basketball is in English’s blood. His father, A.J. English II, played with the Washington Bullets from 1990-1992.

Following in his father’s basketball footsteps, English played his prep basketball in Delaware, and was named the 71st best prospect in the class of 2011 by Rivals.com. After seeing moderate success his freshman and sophomore years, it has been English’s breakout junior season that has many scouts talking.

English averages a healthy 20.7 points a contest, and does it with a wide array of three-point shots and drives to the basket. Being a versatile scorer is something the elder English envisioned for his son, as he stated to Delaware Online.

“We can score in a variety of ways. I use to tell A.J. not to let anyone put you in a box. Don’t just be a shooter or someone who can just get to the basket.”

However, the game of English is much more than scoring. He also averages 5.6 assists and 5.7 rebounds, which make  him one of college basketball’s best all-around players.

With English putting up stats across the board, David Laury tends to go unnoticed. However, the 6’9 forward shouldn’t be taken lightly. Laury has grown leaps and bounds from his sophomore season, increasing his average from 14 points a contest to 21.2. In addition, Laury averages 9.2 rebounds per game.

The only flaw to Iona’s masterfully crafted duo of Laury and English has been their lack of discipline and maturity. English recently sat out a game against Siena due to an on court skirmish at then end of their overtime win against St. Peter’s.

Meanwhile, Laury was arrested for misdemeanor assault late last year after an altercation with his roommate.

Despite the two random instances of bad judgment, when you combine Laury’s scoring and rebounding with English’s polished game you get a very dangerous Iona Gaels team. While not a lock to make it to March Madness, there is no question they are the most exciting team in the MAAC Confernce, and maybe in the nation.


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