Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
The La Salle Explorers snuck up on people last year making their first Sweet 16 appearance in nearly sixty years. With only one key player gone from a year ago, Dr. John Giannini’s team is expected to compete for the Atlantic 10 title.
LA SALLE EXPLORERS
Last Season: T-3rd, 11-5 in A-10, 24-10 overall
Predicted A-10 Finish: 3rd
Projected Depth Chart
C: Steve Zack (Jr)/Jermaine Davis (Fr-red?)
F: Jerelle Wright (Jr)/Rohan Brown (So)
G: Sam Mills (Sr)/D.J. Peterson (Jr)
G: Tyrone Garland (Sr)/Taylor Dunn (Sr)/Amar Stukes (Fr)
PG: Tyreek Duren (Sr)/Khalid Lewis (So)/O.J. Lewis (So)
Gone: G-Ramon Galloway, C-Gavin Hunt
La Salle will once again rely on their talented backcourt to lead the way. Leading scorer Ramon Galloway is gone but the Explorers still return Tyreek Duren and Tyrone Garland who combined to average more than 27 points per game last season so there is still plenty of offensive firepower. Duren will be the primary ball-handler and is also a dangerous threat from downtown. Garland was one of the top sixth men in the A-10 last season but should replace Galloway in the starting lineup.
Sam Mills completes La Salle’s three-guard look. He started every game last year and was a solid glue guy who plays his role tremendously. D.J. Peterson contemplated transferring during the off-season but ultimately chose to stay with the Explorers and brings experience off the bench. Delaware transfer Khalid Lewis also becomes eligible after sitting out last season and adds even more talent to a very deep backcourt.
Up-front, La Salle returns Jerrelle Wright and Steve Zack who both played significant roles for the guard heavy Explorers. Wright provides physicality and a low post scoring option while Zack’s height makes him effective as a shot blocker and rebounder. Redshirt freshman Jermaine Davis adds needed size off the bench while Rohan Brown is a physical wing who is forced to play bigger due a lack of depth inside.
Giannini was once again active in the transfer game landing a pair of wings in Auburn’s Jordan Price and Cleon Roberts of Georgia Southern. Price is a physical wing while Roberts started every game last year as a freshman. Both guys must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules but will provide needed bodies on the wing in 2014-15 since Duren, Garland, and Mills are all seniors.
Guard play will once again carry La Salle this season as Giannini won’t be afraid to use a four guard look that takes advantage of their quickness on both ends of the floor. With all their experience, expect the La Salle Explorers to contend with VCU and St. Louis atop the Atlantic 10 standings and make a return trip to the Big Dance.
Player to Watch: Tyrone Garland
Despite playing just 24.5 minutes per game, the former Virginia Tech transfer averaged more than 13 points in ‘12-’13. With more playing time this year, Garland will see his numbers increase especially if he can improve his outside shooting since he shot just 28.6% from distance last season.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/9 vs. Manhattan
11/19 at Penn State
11/23 vs. Morgan State (Paradise Jam)
11/24 vs. Providence/Vanderbilt (Paradise Jam)
11/25 vs. Maryland/Marist/Northern Iowa/Loyola Marymount (Paradise Jam)
12/15 at Villanova
12/22 at Miami FL
1/18 vs. Temple
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#38 San Diego State
#40 Arizona State
#44 Iowa State
#52 Boston College
#53 Ole Miss
#56 Saint Mary’s
#60 Florida Gulf Coast
#64 Florida State
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#70 Miami FL
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#84 Washington State
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks