Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 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.
In the ever evolving landscape of college athletics, the Old Dominion Monarchs enter their final year as members of the Colonial Athletic Association. ODU will move to Conference USA next season and should once again be in the title picture in their swan song year in the CAA.
OLD DOMINION MONARCHS
Last Season: 4th, 13-5 in CAA, 22-14 overall
Predicted CAA Finish: 3rd
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: DeShawn Painter (Sr)/Anton Larsen (Jr)/Ekene Anachebe (Fr)
F: Nick Wright (Sr)/Richard Ross (So)/Jason Pimental (So)/Stewart McEwan (Fr)
G/F: Donte Hill (Jr)/Aaron Bacote (Fr)
G: Dimitri Batten (So)/Deion Clark (Fr)
PG: Keenan Palmore (Fr)/Ambrose Mosley (Fr)
Gone: G/F-Kent Bazemore, F/C-Chris Cooper, SG-Trian Iliadis, PG-Marquel De Lancey, F-Nayquan Mitchell (dismissed), PG-Breon Key (transfer-Hampton)
ODU gets an immediate boost in their frontcourt with the addition of NC State transfer DeShawn Painter who will replace double-double machine Chris Cooper. The NCAA granted Painter a hardship waiver as he moves closer to home to be with his sick grandmother. Painter will bring some size and strength down low as well as the ability to hit mid-range jumpers.
He will joined in the starting frontcourt by the team’s top returning scorer and rebounder, Nick Wright. Wright is more athletic and also has range out to the three-point line. Richard Ross started twelve games a year ago and will be a valuable contributor off the bench. Jason Pimental and Anton Larsen will compete for the leftover minutes while freshman Ekene Anachebe adds more depth inside. Australian newcomer Stewart McEwan is expected to redshirt this season.
Despite losing some talented players in their backcourt, the Monarchs do return Donte Hill and Demetri Batten who each logged quality minutes last season. Batten was the team’s most dangerous three-point threat last season and Hill brings more versatility with his ability off the bounce and will try to emulate the versatility that Kent Bazemore brought to the floor. Freshmen Aaron Bacote and Deion Clark will compete for playing off the bench.
The biggest question mark will come at the point guard position. Keenan Palmore is the team’s top recruit and will likely be the floor general from day one which is an awful lot to ask of a true freshman. Fellow newcomer Ambrose Mosley is more of a combo guard than true distributor but will be forced to run the point as well unless Blaine Taylor feels comfortable using Batten at the one for short periods of time.
Per usual, Old Dominion will be in the CAA title chase and VCU’s exit from the Atlantic 10 helps the Monarchs prospects some. However, defending league champion Drexel returns a ton of talent and George Mason is always a factor. Plus, ODU is banned from competing in the CAA Tournament as a punishment for them exiting the league so the team’s only hope of dancing is by earning an at-large bid which will not be an easy accomplishment.
Player to Watch: Keenan Palmore
How quickly Palmore can familiarize himself to the college game might be the difference between the Monarchs remaining a solid mid-major program or the team taking a bit of a dip compared to recent years. He is known for having a high basketball IQ as a floor leader but can also score when needed.
Key Non-Conference Games:
12/7 vs. VCU
12/22 vs. Virgina (in Richmond)
12/29 vs. Fairfield
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
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. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)