The Northeastern University men’s basketball team won six of seven games on a summertime exhibition tour through Canada, topping opponents by an average of 10 points per tip-off.

But the team’s biggest asset this season isn’t its offensive firepower or its defensive pluck. “Our greatest strength is our chemistry,” head coach Bill Coen declared in a preseason interview. “The fact that our players look out for each other is a quality that will help us win this season.”

Players on the tight-knit team believe in their chance of making a serious run to the top of the Colonial Athletic Association conference and earning a postseason berth in the NCAA Tournament.

But the path to the postseason will feature a series of formidable foes. The Huskies play a tough non-conference schedule, for example, with matchups against the likes of La Salle, Princeton, and Georgia State, all of which won at least 20 games last season. 

Coach Coen looks forward to the challenge. “I love going to practice every day,” he says. “Being around these young men is inspiring.” 

Meet Coen’s team cornerstones here and find out why.

Quincy Ford
6 feet 8 inches, sophomore forward / guard
2011–2012 stats: 11.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals per game

Quincy Ford grew up playing basketball against his big brother in the backyard of their St. Petersburg, Fla., home. Winning was the only option—even if it took all night. 

“Mom got upset, and dinner got cold,” Ford recalls, “but I wasn’t quitting until I won.” 

Ford carried his can’t-lose attitude to Northeastern and spent all summer working on his rebounding and ball-handling skills. His motto for the upcoming season is simple: “I want be relentless and aggressive.”

Coach Coen views Ford as a star in the making. “Quincy has a tremendously high ceiling,” he explains. “He can shoot the three, get rebounds, and has a knack for coming up with steals.”

Reggie Spencer
6 feet 7 inches, sophomore forward
2011–2012 stats: 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game

Reggie Spencer is the Zen master of the basketball court. 

Grabbing rebounds and sinking key shots in a big game, he says, is his way of clearing his mind and relieving his stress. “I have fun,” he explains, “and I don’t worry about anything else.” 

Spencer would be happy to play before 100,000 screaming fans—an honor frequently bestowed upon his favorite college football team, the Alabama Crimson Tide—but he notes, “It’s more fun when you’re playing in front of your friends and family.” 

His mom, who was a slick-shooting, 6-foot-2-inch forward for her high school team, taught her son to play the game with tenacity and grit, and Spencer often recalls her advice: “Be tough,” she told him, “and play hard.”

Jonathan Lee
6 feet 2 inches, senior guard / co-captain
2011–2012 stats: 14.5 points and 3.5 assists per game

Jonathan Lee learned how to play basketball at a YMCA in his hometown of Flint, Mich., waking up at 6 a.m. to shoot hoops with his big brother before school.

“He taught me everything I know,” Lee says of his brother, who played pro ball in England for four years. “I still listen to his advice when I go home.”

Lee likens his scoring touch and defensive prowess to that of Jameer Nelson, the Orlando Magic’s undersized point guard and captain, with whom he shares the No. 14.

Coach Coen calls his co-captain the Huskies’ heart and soul. “His competitive spirit trickles down to his teammates,” he says. “He plays hard and sets the tone for everybody.”

Joel Smith
6 feet 4 inches, senior guard / co-captain
2011–2012 stats: 12.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game

Joel Smith grew up in a military family and played basketball with his fellow Army brats at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas. 

He recalls the moment he fell in love with the sport: “One day we were playing knockout,” he explains. “I got really into it and started making a few shots.”

Growing up on military bases in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama shaped his character and his vocabulary, which includes the phrases “Yes, sir,” and “No, ma’am.” 

“I learned to be disciplined and respectful,” he says. “I respect my teammates and coaches, and it’s a big part of my game.”

Coen has high hopes for his co-captain, who has dreams of both playing and coaching at an elite level. “Joel is positioned to have a tremendous senior year for us,” he says. “He has embraced his role as a leader.”

Rounding Out the Team Roster …

No. 1
Chris Avenant 
6 feet 4 inches, redshirt junior guard/forward
Scored first collegiate points on a three-pointer in 77-67 win over East Tennessee State on Dec. 23, 2010.

No. 2 
Demetrius Pollard
6 feet 2 inches, sophomore guard
Played 20 games for the Huskies in 2011–2012.

No. 4
David Walker   
6 feet 6 inches, freshman guard
Captained Ohio’s Stow-Munroe Falls High School to a 22-3 record, a Northeast Ohio Conference River Division Championship, and an appearance in the state regional finals.

No. 11
Marco Banegas-Flores   
6 feet 1 inch, sophomore guard
In his final season before Northeastern, scored a season-high 35 points and was named a New England All-Star. 

No. 21
Dinko Marshavelski   
6 feet 11 inches, redshirt junior forward/center
Led the Huskies with 15 blocks in the 2010–2011 season.

No. 24
Derrico Peck    
6 feet 5 inches, freshman guard
Was a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and the 21st Century Leadership Program.

No. 33
Zach Stahl     
6 feet 5 inches, freshman guard
Led Hopkins High School to a 29-2 overall record in his senior campaign, during which the squad was ranked No. 1 in Minnesota.

No. 34
Kwesi Abakah      
6 feet 8 inches, freshman forward
Captained North Gwinnett High School in Georgia to a 21-10 record and an appearance in the quarterfinal round of the state tournament in his senior season. (Expected to miss entire 20122013 season with a torn ACL.)

No. 43
Scott Eatherton       
6 feet 8 inches, freshman forward
Played two seasons at St. Francis University in Pennsylvania, where he was the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer as a sophomore. (Will sit out 20122013 season per NCAA transfer regulations.)

Take a look at our Huskies Unleashed video series, which gives a glimpse of the team during practices, scrimmages, team meetings, and workouts leading up to a Canadian tour. Then follow the team during the tour for game highlights, exclusive interviews, and other original content.
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4