Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Davidson Preview: One More Run

By David Sink
Returning Faces
Everyone around the league is familiar with De'Mon Brooks, Chris Czerapowicz, Tom Droney, and Tyler Kalinoski. Also returning are senior Clay Tormey, junior Ali Mackay, and sophomores Jordan Barham, Jake Belford, and Connor Perkey. The Wildcats lost Jake Cohen, Clint Mann, Nik Cochran, and JP Kuhlman to graduation, Mason Archie to transfer, and Youssef Mejri. Those four seniors scored well over 4000 points. They'll be missed. But the Wildcats return 6 of their top 10 scorers, 3 of their top 4 rebounders, and their leading assist to turnover guy. Brooks, Czerapowicz, Droney, and Kalinoski have all started games for Davidson.

New Faces
The Wildcats welcome a freshman walk-on, Manu Giamoukis, two seniors who have been team managers for their first three years, Ryan Ansel and Will Thoni, three scholarship freshmen, Joe Aase, Andrew McAuliffe, and Jack Gibbs, and a transfer sophomore, Brian Sullivan. Sullivan comes to the Wildcats from Miami University where he was a member of the MAC all-freshman team. He shot 45% on 3s that season, including an 8-10 game against Vandy and a 6-9 game against Western Michigan. Wildcat fans report that he's torched the nets this summer and in early practices. He can really shoot the ball. But he does a lot of other thing well, too. He's a quick and capable defender and solid ball-handler. The same things can be said of Jack Gibbs. He's a strongly built point guard who can shoot, distribute, and defend. Aase and McAuliffe are both 6'8. They'll both have opportunities to contribute. Some observers think that McAuliffe will be a starter this season.

The schedule is full of opportunity. At Duke, UNC, Charlotte, and Wichita State. Georgia and two other opponents at the Charleston tournament. Home for Virginia, CofC, and Drexel. Also games against Stetson, Niagara, and UWM. And, finally, a 16-game Southern Conference schedule.

Best case/Worst case
The best case is that Davidson does well in the OOC season, rolls the Southern for a third consecutive championship, and celebrates Bob McKillop's 25th season with a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
Barring injuries, I think the worst case scenario is that Davidson's confidence is destroyed by the tough OOC schedule, that the team finishes around .500 in the conference, and we limp out of the Southern.

Check out my worst case scenario again. It ain't happening. The coaches and the media both predict that Davidson will finish second to Elon. I'm not buying it. This Davidson team will be very exciting to watch. They have the depth and quality of personnel to play with any team on the schedule and should win the Southern Conference for the third straight year. NCAA rule changes to protect the ball-handler and help the scoring should benefit the Wildcats. They led the nation in free throw shooting last season at 79.5% and should be excellent free throw shooters again. My prediction is that this group of Wildcats will cut down the nets in Asheville and win at least one game in the Big Dance.

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