By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- They were three-year starters who combined to score 2,003 points and provided leadership as captains.
Rocky DeAndrade and Joseph Carty of Bridgewater State University were among the top players in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference since the 2015-16 season.
Now, the Bears must fill two large voids in their program after the graduation of DeAndrade, who scored 1,150 points and made the All-MASCAC team twice, and Carty, a three-time all-conference pick who had 853 points and averaged 9.7 rebounds in three seasons.
"Obviously we lost two very good players, two first-team all-conference players," said coach Joe Farroba. "Now we've got to come up with some points and rebounds.″
Bridgewater State opens the season on Wednesday night at the University of Massachusetts Boston, then hosts the four-team Cave Classic at the Tinsley Center on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
While DeAndrade, who ranks fifth at BSU with 105 games played, and Carty, who transferred to the school after a year at Goldy-Beacom, are gone, the Bears do have three returning starters.
BSU (18-9) won the conference tournament and lost to Williams College, 56-45, in the NCAA Division 3 tourney. The Bears are the preseason pick in the coaches poll to win the MASCAC this year after going 9-3 last season.
Starting forward Rayshon Ward, a Plymouth North graduate, made the all-conference second team a year ago and is joined by guard Ryan Carney of Easton and forward Dimitri St. Louis of Brockton, a Cardinal Spellman graduate.
Ward averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds, Carney provides long-range shooting and averaged 12.3 points while St. Louis contributed nine points and 4.3 rebounds.
"The expectations for those three are really high," said Farroba, now in his 27th year as head coach. "We're going to lean on them quite a bit.
"Carney's a scorer, Dimitri was good for us last year. Ray Ward is a force at the Division 3 level. He's very tough. Now it's can they do it night in and night out? When we had Carty and DeAndrade, they were night in and night out guys. That's a big adjustment."
"Those guys got minutes last year and now they're getting bigger minutes," said Farroba.
The bench will include Corey Green of Taunton, a sophomore who averaged 15 points in 27 games at Bristol Community College last season, and freshman point guard Admar Jaramillo of Brockton, a Cardinal Spellman graduate.
"He had a good year last year and I think he's going to help us," said Farroba of Jaramillo.
Junior Brian Grant, who provides defense, was on the second unit last season. He will be joined by sophomores Michael Vrabel and Cole Stairs, freshmen Jose Monteiro Jr. of Brockton, Calvin Bridges IV and Kalik Liburd and seniors Bo Garcia, Chris Zodda and Matthieu Midouin of Taunton.
"We had two scrimmages that didn't go as well as I would have liked, so there's still a lot of room for growth," said Farroba. "We've got a lot of sophomores so we're still a young team. It's going to be interesting to see how these guys grow up."