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 Charleston Cougars will see a step up in competition this year as the move from the Southern Conference to the CAA. With four of their five starters returning, the Cougars should make some immediate noise in their new home.
Last Season: 2nd, 14-4 in Southern, 24-11 overall
Predicted CAA Finish: 3rd
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Adjehi Baru (Jr)/David Wishon (So)/Glenn Pierre Jr. (Fr)
PF: Willis Hall (Sr)/Terrence O’Donaghue (Fr)
SF: Anthony Thomas (Sr)/Theo Johnson (So)
SG: Nori Johnson (Sr)/Canyon Barry (Fr)/Pat Branin (Jr)
PG: Anthony Stitt (Sr)/Joseph Chealey (Fr)/Jonathan Cook (Fr)
Gone: PG-Andrew Lawrence, F-Matt Sundberg, PF-Trent Wiedeman (transfer-Georgia Southern), SG-Trayvonte Dixon (transfer-Francis Marion)
Second year head coach Doug Wojick will trot out an experienced starting five featuring four seniors. The graduation of leading scorer Andrew Lawrence paves the way for Anthony Stitt to take over as the primary ball-handler and go-to offensive option. Nori Johnson who started 15 games as a sophomore but was primarily used as a reserve last season, figures to step back into the starting backcourt alongside Stitt.
Adjehi Baru anchors the Charleston Cougars in the middle. The blossoming big man has the potential to be a double-double man on a nightly basis. Willis Hall is an energy four man who can step out and knock down perimeter shots while Anthony Thomas adds athleticism at the three.
With Theo Johnson as the only reserve to have seen quality minutes last season, there is a ton of inexperience on the Charleston bench. Canyon Berry, the son of former NBA legend Rick Barry, provides some outside shooting after redshirting a year ago. 7-2 David Wishon also becomes eligible adding some size inside. The former Tulsa Golden Hurricane followed Wojick to Charleston last year and sat out per NCAA transfer rules. Four freshmen will try to add depth across the roster as well.
With the CAA going through their own makeover having lost usual title threats George Mason and Old Dominion, Charleston has a chance to make their presence felt. The Cougars will see stiff competition from Towson and Drexel in what figures to be a three-horse race for the CAA Championship.
Player to Watch: Adjehi Baru
A top ten center recruit in the 2011 class, Baru was a prized get for the Cougars two years ago. By mid-major standards, the 6-9 Ivory Coast native is a defensive presence in the middle thanks to his length, athleticism, and aggressiveness on the inside. If his offensive versatility can continue to develop, this could end up being a breakout year for Baru.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/28 vs. San Diego State (Wooden Legacy)
11/29 vs. Creighton/Arizona State (Wooden Legacy)
12/1 vs. Marquette/CS-Fullerton/Miami FL/George Washington (Wooden Legacy)
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#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