Get to know the Saint Peter’s Peacocks


Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks Jr. (12) celebrates a TyTy Washington Jr. (3) 3-pointer during the UK vs. Vanderbilt SEC Tournament quarterfinals mens basketball game on Friday, March 11, 2022, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. UK won 77-71. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Kentucky’s first challenger of the 2022 NCAA Tournament has been revealed: 

The Saint Peter’s Peacocks. 

Hailing out of Jersey City, New Jersey, the Peacocks are making their fourth ever appearance in the big dance. 

After compiling a 16-11 regular season record, they earned the No. 2 seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, where they would eventually bounce Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels in the championship game, securing the auto-bid into March Madness. 

The Peacocks will ride a seven-game winning streak into Indianapolis on Thursday, March 17, looking to play spoiler in what will be a raucous, Kentucky-friendly crowd inside the Gainbridge Fieldhouse. 

In three previous tries, they’ve been unsuccessful in making first round magic. Most recently in 2011, they scored just 43 points as a No. 14 seed against Purdue. 

Statistics and metrics show that while they don’t hold a candle to the blue bloods of the world, the Peacocks are no slouch. 

The holy grail of metrics, KenPom, has Saint Peter’s ranked at No. 118 in the nation out of 358 Division I teams. 

Where do the Peacocks excel, you ask? Well that would be on the defensive side of the ball. Ranked 34th in defensive efficiency, they allow just 61.8 points per game. 

It’s quite the opposite story on the attack, as they graciously hold spot No. 259 in the offensive efficiency category.

Shaheen Holloway is in his fourth season at the helm for the Peacocks, where he holds a 61-56 record as head coach. He played four seasons at Seton Hall from 1996-2000, where he averaged 13.7 points and 5.9 assists per game. 

While scoring doesn’t always come easy for Saint Peter’s, they still have two players who reach an average of double-figures each night. 

Daryl Banks III leads the way in scoring with 11 points per game. He has landed the most 3-pointers on the team, making 47 of 129 attempts. 

A trifecta of 6-foot-7 forwards will bang down low with Oscar Tshiebwe. 

KC Ndefo hauls in 6.2 rebounds a game to go along with 10.6 points. Fousseyni Drame brings in 6.8 boards a game, leading the team. Hassan Drame rounds out the trio, adding over five points and rebounds a night. 

Coach Holloway loves to rotate his players, as no Peacock averages over 26 minutes on the court this season. 12 players will see the court for Saint Peter’s, with even the last man in the rotation, Latrell Reid, notching nearly nine minutes a game. 

It’s not about the offense for Holloway’s group, however. Defense wins championships, and that’s what got the Peacocks to the MAAC title this year. 

Ndefo has racked up 82 blocks in 30 games, leading the conference while both he and Banks have nabbed over 30 steals. 

The climb past Kentucky is going to be a daunting one for the lone New Jersey Jesuit college. Behind depth and defense, Holloway will attempt to lead his team to the biggest win in school history on Thursday in Indianapolis.