NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Past Conferences: Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Metro, Metropolitan Collegiate Conference
City: Jersey City, New Jersey
Arena: Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Recreational Life Center
NCAA Tournaments: 4 (1991, 1995, 2011, 2022)
National Championships – 0
Conference Titles – 6 (1967, 1968, 1969, 1982, 1984, 1987)
Saint Peter’s began play in the 1930-31 season and struggled from the start, posting one winning season in the team’s first 11 years, when they went 9-8 in 1940-41. Following the 1941-42 season, the team took time off for World War II, resuming play for the 1946-47 season. The Peacocks made the NAIA Tournament in the 1952-53 season, beginning a run of three straight seasons playing in the NAIA postseason.
The Peacocks spent some time playing in the Metropolitan Collegiate Conference but played as an independent at the start of the 1970s. Following some time in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, Saint Peter’s became one of the original six Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schools and has been there ever since.
The Peacocks made the first of their 12 NIT appearances in 1957 and reached the third-place game in 1968, which was the team’s best finish in the NIT. The Peacocks won the CIT in 2017.
Saint Peter’s made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1991 and also competed in 1995 and 2011, with the results being what you would expect from a lower-seeded team; sure enough, the Peacocks lost their first-round game all three seasons.
However, the 2022 NCAA Tournament was a different story and the Peacocks made a tournament run that will be remembered for quite some time: 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s upset No. 2 Kentucky in the first round, winning 85-79 in overtime. The Peacocks followed that up with a 70-60 win over No. 7 Murray State and pulled another shocker with a 67-64 win over No. 3 Purdue. Saint Peter’s lost to North Carolina in the Elite Eight round.
Keydren Clark, 3,058
Ricky Bellinger, 1,743
Willie Haynes, 1,730
Pete O’ Dea,1,053
Todd Sowell, 976
Quadir Welton, 884
Jasper Walker, 674
Keydren Clark, 501
Trevis Wyche, 501
Who Is the Best Player To Come From Saint Peter’s?
The player at the top of many Saint Peter’s team stats is Keydren Clark, the school’s all-time leading scorer and a two-time NCAA scoring leader (2004, 2005.) His 3,058 career points rank No. 9 all-time in college basketball. While undrafted by the NBA, Clark did enjoy a solid career overseas, winning the Greek Basket League scoring title in 2009 and was MVP of the Greek A2 Basket League in 2018.
Why Is Saint Peter’s Nickname the Peacocks?
Saint Peter’s became known as the Peacocks in 1930 when the school reopened after being closed for 12 years due to World War I. The dean of the school, Robert Gannon, chose the peacock as a tribute to the myth of the bird, which, according to the school, was “committed to the flames of a funeral pyre and was reborn more beautiful than before.”
Has Saint Peter’s Had Any NBA Players?
While the Peacocks have seen 13 players drafted by NBA teams, only two of them ever saw action in a regular season game. Bill Smith played nine games for the New York Knicks in the 1961-62 season and Rich Rinaldi saw action in 79 games for Washington between 1971-72 and 1973-74.