MORAGA, Calif. -- Continuity has been a hallmark of recent seasons for the Saint Mary's basketball team.
As a result, players new to the Gaels program have a had a chance to get their feet wet before jumping all the way in to the pool that is college basketball.
This year's freshmen may want to brush up on their swimming skills.
There is no shortage of talent for the newest crop of Gaels basketball players. Junior college transfer Kerry Carter comes to Moraga via Citrus College in Southern California. USC transfer Garrett Jackson is eligible after sitting out a year and should make an immediate impact. True freshmen Calvin Hermanson and Dane Pineau will begin their collegiate careers this season and they'll be joined by redshirt freshman Treaven Duffy, who will also make his first appearance in a Gael uniform.
Each comes highly decorated, and each will be counted on to apply their talents right away.
"We need them to play early and be able to perform early for us," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "I don't know if we've been in that situation where we've had to have three new ones come in and get it done as one of our top eight or nine players but we do. That's the situation we're in and they're every bit capable of doing it and they're on the right track to do it."
Bennett credits this summer's trip to Australia as a big reason he feels confident that his new players can perform right away. Having had extra practice time and with a few games under their belts, the level of familiarity is much higher than it normally would be.
Carter, Hermanson and Duffy will add depth to the Gaels backcourt as well as a tremendous amount of athleticism. Senior guard Stephen Holt lauded praise on each of his new running mates, crediting their toughness and court awareness as advanced for their experience level.
"Kerry brings that toughness. He's a very, very good shooter and he'll knock down a lot of shots for us this year," Holt said. "Calvin being from Oregon, I've definitely followed him over the years and I know what his game's like. He's a pure scorer. He can do it all as far as getting to the basket, shooting 3s, good defender. We're going to look to him to play a bigger role than a freshman normally would."
Pineau and Jackson will comprise the new group up front, with the 6-foot-9 Pineau projecting as a versatile big man who has both the ability to rebound and step outside. At 6-foot-6, Jackson has the ability to play several positions, and should see plenty of time at each depending on matchups.
"Garrett can score and rebound and he plays hard. He's going to make things happen when he comes in," Bennett said. "He's a tremendous worker and he's had a great redshirt year. He's going to have to get a little rust off but he's one of those other guys that will help Stephen. Garrett could easily be a double digit scorer for us. Between he and Beau (Levesque), we've got a nice couple of forwards that are pretty experienced and have a lot of confidence."
Added Holt: "Dane can run the floor really well. He has good hands and touch around the rim. He needs to continue getting stronger but his IQ is there."
All of the Gaels newcomers should be in the mix when Saint Mary's kicks off the season on Nov. 8 at 8:30 p.m. against Louisiana Tech. Tickets for that game can be purchased by clciking the Tickets link on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.