Boys Basketball – 2021 Season Preview: Red Bank
In the last several years, Red Bank has carved out a reputation as a dangerous double-digit seed in the NJSIAA Tournament – a good-news-bad-news proposition. The good news is the Bucs have been a tough out in the state tournament. The bad news is they have had to play on the road as an underdog because some inconsistent play in the regular season.
The additional bad news this season is Red Bank – like every other team in the state – won’t have a chance to play in the state tournament, so the Bucs will have to get into playoff mode earlier this season. On the bright side, the Bucs have the roster to build on last year’s near-upset of Nottingham in the Central Jersey III opening round and will have an opportunity to prove themselves in a Shore Conference pod that includes two local rivals and perennial SSN Top 10 teams in Red Bank Catholic and Rumson-Fair Haven.
Red Bank lost a pair of key players in top scorers Drew Valentino and Matt Weidman, but bring back a host of players who got key minutes in 2019-20 and are good enough to take a step forward. Junior Patrick Murray is the most likely candidate to pick up the mantle as the team’s top scorer in his third season as a varsity regular. Seniors Nick Ferrogine and Owen Laughlin are football standouts who were starters on the hardwood as juniors and will bring an element of senior toughness to the fold, with Laughlin coming off the bench to begin this season. Enoch Hutchinson showed his scoring ability off the bench last year and Bodhi Martin, Matt Keegan and Donovan Bradley are in line for bigger roles this year as well.
With some toughness around the lineup and two emerging scoring guards in Murray and Hutchinson, Red Bank enters the season with a chance to open a lot of eyes, particularly in pod home-and-homes vs. local rivals Red Bank Catholic and Rumson-Fair Haven.
Head Coach: Scott Martin, 20th season
2019-20 Record: 10-17 (5-9, sixth in Class B North)
2020 Postseason Performance: Did not reach Shore Conference Tournament; lost in NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III first round (Nottingham)
Disclaimer: Projected lineups listed in the 2021 Shore Sports Network Preview are not necessarily directly from coaches. Some are, while others are projections from Shore Sports Network staff. In either case, the projected lineup is fluid and could change leading up to the start of the season and beyond. Check back for periodic updates to every team's projected starting lineup on shoresportsnetwork.com.
Enoch Hutchinson, Sr., 6-1, Guard (R)
Patrick Murray, Jr., 6-3, Guard (RS)
Bodhi Martin, Sr., 6-0, Guard (R)
Nick Ferrogine, Sr., 5-11, Guard (RS)
Matt Keegan, Sr., 6-1, Guard (R)
Matt Weidman, 6-0, Guard
Drew Valentino, 6-2, Guard
Off the Bench
Owen Laughlin, Sr., 6-1, Forward (RS)
Donovan Bradley, Jr., 6-3, Forward
Jackson Hyman, So., 6-0, Guard
Tommy Keegan, Jr., 6-0, Guard
Brian Tobin, Jr., 6-0, Guard
Nick Valentino, So., 6-0, Guard
Michael Wood, Sr., 6-0, Guard
Player to Watch: Patrick Murray
After getting some starts as a freshman and averaging nine points and four rebounds per game as a sophomore, Murray is poised for a big season as a 6-foot-3 swingman who can score in a variety of ways. Red Bank has been a team that always spreads the wealth when it comes to scoring and Murray is not likely to lap his teammates when it comes to scoring, but this should be his year to emerge as the featured offensive weapon for Red Bank.
Big Shoes to Fill: Enoch Hutchinson
The under-the-radar offensive threat for Red Bank is Hutchinson, a 6-1 guard with slashing and shooting ability who provided a scoring jolt off the bench on a number of occasions as a junior. With Weidman’s shooting gone from last season, the Bucs will be looking for other sources of perimeter scoring and if Hutchinson can level up, Red Bank should have its shooter and scoring complement to Murray and Ferrogine.
Impact Newcomer: Donovan Bradley
One element Red Bank is missing is height, with Murray at guard the tallest projected starter at 6-3. That makes the 6-3 Bradley a key piece for Red Bank, with the junior providing some rebounding and interior defense off the bench to support Ferrogine and Laughlin.
X-Factor: Team Toughness
Without a lot of height and with some scoring and rebounding to replace, Red Bank will have to find other ways to win the battle in the paint. Having Ferrogine and Laughlin certainly helps, with the two seniors bringing a football mentality to the court. Ferrogine is a guard who can both score and rebound (10.8 points and four rebounds per game last year) while Laughlin will scrap with opposing forwards and hassle some bigger guards when called upon. If those two set the physical and mental tone for Red Bank, the Bucs will be an unpleasant opponent.
Jan. 27 vs. Rumson-Fair Haven, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 29 at Rumson-Fair Haven, 7 p.m.
Feb. 2 vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 at Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 6 vs. Wall, 1 p.m.
Feb. 8 at Long Branch, 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 10 vs. Long Branch, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 16 vs. Red Bank Catholic, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 18 at Red Bank Catholic, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 vs. Holmdel, 1 p.m.
Feb. 22 at Shore, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 24 vs. Shore, 6:30 p.m.