2008-09 Team Capsules
The Great Danes you see in November probably won't resemble the club you'll see come America East play. Albany could have freshman Anthony Raffa
and juco transfer Michael Johnson
starting in its backcourt sooner rather than later. Given time to jell with returnees like guard Tim Ambrose
(7.2 ppg) and forward Brian Connelly
(10.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg), expect the Danes to be a much more freewheeling bunch than last season's half-court grinders. The bigger questions are whether they can defend in a 94-foot game and, without departed senior forwards Brian Lillis
and Brent Wilson
, if they will be able to rebound like last season. Albany was the second-best team in the nation in defensive rebounding percentage, allowing opponents to claim only 25.6 percent of their misses.
Rolling the dice on Theo Davis
, a Gonzaga transfer, could be smart business for a team that really struggled to defend inside the arc and rebound its defensive glass last season. While fellow transfer Tiki Mayben
, formerly of UMass, might help stabilize the Cats on the offensive end, Davis is the kind of athlete you rarely see in the A-East. If he takes his second chance seriously, the rest of the conference could be in for some long nights in the paint.
What was a very young team the past two seasons is now maturing, and it's time for the Terriers to become more efficient on offense. According to kenpom.com
, no individual BU player was even above average offensively last season. That and the injuries help explain how BU ended up in the nation's bottom 100 in both 2-point and 3-point shooting percentage. Throw in turnovers on 21.3 percent of the Terriers' possessions (197th in Division I), and that makes for a very mediocre offense. One good thing going for BU is that Corey Lowe
, the Terriers' leading scorer and highest volume shooter, made a team-best 37.1 percent from the arc. He'll need some help, though, if the Terriers are going to fulfill their preseason promise.
Addition by subtraction? We'll see how the Hawks can replace the production of forward Warren McLendon
(12.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg), who was dismissed from his second Division I program after also flaming out at The Citadel. The Hawks like to score and rebound en masse, so in theory they should be able to replace the inconsistent McLendon's production, but they were a terrible rebounding team last season even with him around. Improved chemistry can go only so far if you can't rebound. What Hartford can do, though, is shoot the ball. The Hawks are led by junior Joe Zaglinski
(16.2 ppg), who knocked down 41 percent of his 251 3-point attempts last season.
UMBC won the league at 13-3. Maine finished tied for last at 3-13. So, of course, the Black Bears went on the road on Jan. 12 and upended the Retrievers 77-74 in the second league game of the season. Unfortunately, not much went right after that for Maine, which lost 13 of its last 15 games. The good news is that the Black Bears bring back virtually everyone for another run.
It's not easy being green? Kermit the Frog received a strong rebuttal last season from Retrievers point guard Jay Greene
(7.2 assists, 2.1 turnovers per game). He was a huge reason why UMBC was the second-most careful team in the nation, only coughing up the ball on 14.7 percent of its possessions. How Greene balances his shooting and dishing with less firepower around him this season will be a key to UMBC's title defense.
It's a good thing the Wildcats can shoot the 3, because last season they couldn't defend it or make shots from inside the arc. UNH was lit up for 39.3 percent shooting from the arc (320th) in Division I, so its own proficiency from that range was muted. The Wildcats were smart to take so many of their shots from the arc, though, given they were worse than all but two teams in the nation in 2-point field goal percentage. Despite its shooting imbalances, UNH still returns eight of its top nine scorers.
Head coach Steve Pikiell has to replace the top two scorers from last season's 7-23 squad. In
and Dayton transfer Desmond Adedeji
, the Seawolves have some bulk inside, but on paper, they lack quality scoring options, which is troublesome given their struggles on that end last season.
You hate to play the "what if?" game, but you have to believe that Catamounts head coach Mike Lonergan will occasionally look wistfully at Boston College box scores this season and daydream about how well former Catamounts forward Joe Trapani
would fit into this guard-heavy team's lineup. Back to reality
It will be interesting to see how former Michigan State guard Maurice Joseph
changes the Cats on both ends. Last season's club played some of the most "3-free" ball in the land, finishing in the bottom 40 both in percentage of shots taken and allowed from 3-point range. In his sophomore season at Michigan State in 2006-07, Joseph took 116 3s in just 520 minutes.