Off The Boards
By Jack Scheuer
November 6, 2013
The balls are bouncing, the coaches are yelling and the fans are excited. That must mean that it’s college hoops time in Philadelphia, the only city in the country that has six Division One teams. Since the action gets serious this week, here is one man’s capsule opinion of what we may be expecting in 2013-14.
LaSalle – The Explorers had a season to remember last year, advancing to the Sweet 16, and there is a renewed spirit at 20th and Olney. The only loss is a big one,( leading scorer Ramon Galloway), but the rotation is deep, led by premier point guard Tyreek Duren, Tyrone Garland, Sam Mills, and big man Jerrell Wright who continues to make great strides. Khalid Lewis, a transfer from Delaware, will get minutes when he returns from a wrist injury, and freshman Jermaine Davis ,6-9,280, will help in the front-court. There is also a lot of depth, so last season’s 24-10 record certainly seems approachable for John Giannini’s team.
Saint Joseph’s – The Hawks lost Carl Jones and C.J. Aiken, but still seems to have enough to bounce back from last year’s disappointment (18-14). In fact with what appears to be better chemistry, Phil Martelli’s team could surprise. Langston Galloway is as solid as it gets, Ronald Roberts was 1st Team A-10, and hopefully the talented Hilal Kanacevic has improved his maturity level. Chris Wilson will run the point, while Daryus Quarles and highly regarded freshman DeAndre’ Bembry will battle for the 5th spot. Redshirt freshman Javon Baumann, 6-8,257, could offer some surprise help up front. This looks like a team that wants to make amends for last year.
Villanova – The Wildcats kept improving last season, ended up with a 2014 record and made it into the NCAA’s. Mouphtaou Yarou is playing in Serbia, and will be missed, but Ryan Archidiacono who made the Big East All-Rookie team, and the ever-improving JayVaughn Pinkston led the team in scoring. Darrun Hilliard, James Bell and Daniel Ochefu will be the starters, although Rice transfer Dylan Ennis will challenge when he returns from a hand injury. Freshmen Kris Jenkins, 6-6,255, and 6-5 guard Josh Hart are likely to get minutes, along with Tony Chennault. This is a deep team with some fire power, and certainly capable of causing a lot of trouble.
Temple – A challenging season is in store for the Owls, who went 24-10 and made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA’s last year. Gone are the A-10’s MVP Khalif Wyatt , the team’s leading scorer, plus 4 others who were major contributors. Joining the new American East and facing a tough schedule won’t make it any easier. Center Anthony Lee, 9.8 ppg. is the top returning scorer ,and will team up with point guard Will Cummings, Quenton DeCosey, Dalton Pepper and either Daniel Dingle or 6-8 impressive freshman Mark Williams. Fran Dunphy has taken Temple to the tournament 6 straight times. Number 7 would be a major accomplishment.
Drexel – The Dragons (13-18) are another team that look capable of rebounding from a disappointing season, having lost only center Daryl McCoy. Damion Lee and Frantz Massenat made All-Colonial 1st team last year, and outstanding shooter Chris Fouch is back as a grad student. Returning big men Dartaye Ruffin and Kazembe Abif will be up front where they will be helped by good-looking freshman, 6-6 Rodney Williams. Major Canady, a 6-4 freshmen guard should also get some minutes. This is a talented group who could easily turn things around. Bruiser Flint’s team faces a tough opener though, at UCLA on Saturday.
Penn – Jerome Allen’s young Quakers had a rough time last year (9-22) , and were hurt badly by the early loss of 6-7 Fran Dougherty who still managed 13.8 ppg and 8 rebounds. Dougherty is back and healthy, along with Miles Jackson-Cartwright and Tony Hicks, (both double figure scorers) , plus Henry Brooks and Jamal Lewis. Sophomore Darien Nelson-Henry, at 6-11, showed much potential in his freshmen season and will eventually be a starter. A 6-10 freshman with a famous father, Dave Winfield Jr., will sit out the year because of knee problems.
This and That: Here is a true big man; Canadian Sim Bhuller at New Mexico State, is 7-5 , weighs 360, wears a 22 shoe, and evidently can play. Last season he averaged 10.7ppg, 6.7 rebounds, and was the WAC Freshman of the Year. This year he’ll be joined by his little brother Tanveer, who is 7-3…. Boise State is the only team that participated in the NCAA tournament with all 5 starters returning…. Talk about a traveling man, talented guard Troy Ziegler played for his father at Central Michigan, transferred to Pitt, and is now at TCU….Former Hawk Pat Calathes was MVP of the Israeli league playoffs, and is now playing in Kazakhstan. Younger brother Nick (Florida) is in the NBA with Memphis.