Hawks freshman a defensive stalwart

DeAndre' Bembry isa fearless defender.
DeAndre' Bembry isa fearless defender. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff)
Posted: February 20, 2014

This is Phil Martelli's 19th season as St. Joseph's head basketball coach and as he remembers he has never given a freshman as much defensive responsibility as he does to 6-foot-6 forward DeAndre' Bembry.

Most of the time Bembry will cover the opponent's top offensive player, regardless of size. That was the case in Saturday's 75-64 win over La Salle, when Bembry covered point guard Tyreek Duren, who was limited to nine shots.

"I would say DeAndre' has probably had the most significant defensive role of any freshman I have had," Martelli said.

One of the reasons Bembry has been so successful in this role is that unlike many college (or NBA) players, he relishes the chance to defend.

"I have always liked playing defense and have been guarding the other team's best player since I was young," Bembry said. "Guarding is definitely a positive thing for me."

He is able to adjust whether it's defending guards, forwards, or even centers.

In high school I covered all positions, so it's not a problem for me," he said.

Bembry isn't just a defensive specialist. He leads the 17-7 Hawks with 26 steals, but is also the third-leading scorer with an 11.4 average. Bembry is also averaging 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

On a team that starts three seniors and a junior, Bembry has blended in with the veterans. He is averaging 31.8 minutes per game, and the only statistic he cares much about is the number of points the player he guarded had scored.