Hawks opening with great expectations

Saint Joseph’s enters 2009-10 with one big hole to fill. It’s about 6-foot-9, 242 pounds.

The departure of Ahmad Nivins, along with starting point guard Tasheed Carr, to graduation leaves Phil Martelli without 49.1 percent of his scoring. It’s going to take a total team effort to fill that gap.

“We need every guy, and I mean every guy, to improve mentally and physically,” Martelli said. “We don’t have any one guy who is capable of being the all-league guy that Ahmad was … So the idea that there’s only one guy is wrong.”

That leadership starts with the backcourt duo of Darrin Govens and Garrett Williamson, who are among three returning starters. Govens, a Chester grad, struggled for consistency last year while averaging 12.5 points per game, but is one of the most dangerous deep threats in the Atlantic-10 when he’s on.

Williamson, a Lower Merion product, will have full control over the backcourt for the first time in his career. His average of 6.4 points must improve.

As always, Martelli will lean heavily on his seniors.

“I think the seniors have to be seniors,” he said. “The way we run our program, the seniors are counted on for so many different things — on and off the court.”