#102 Northeastern: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Conference Rank: #5 Colonial Athletic Association
2009-10: 20-13, 14-4
2009-10 postseason: NIT
Coach: Bill Coen (66-62 at Northeastern, 66-62 overall)
Northeastern graduates one of its best senior classes ever and they failed to reach their ultimate goals of winning a CAA championship or reaching the NCAA Tournament. Yet, despite the absence of so many quality and experienced players, last season showed that Coach Bill Coen had some talent sitting down his bench that was just not able to find too many minutes. Those that did play, performed very well and this team may not take as big of a step back as many expect.
Key Losses: F Manny Adako, G Baptiste Bataille, G Matt Janning, C Nkem Ojougboh
This is a young team and the freshmen will battle it out with a bunch of sophomores for playing time. Alex Harris is a versatile 6-4 wing who can score and bring the ball up the court. Chris Avenant redshirted last season and his year in the program could be a big help. Power forward Alex Bates and center Ryan Pierson will at least have to provide some quality minutes off the bench this year. It is Pierson who seems most likely to make an impact right away. The 6-10, 235 pound St. Louis, Missouri product already has the strength to compete under the basket and should at least be able to help on the boards while his offense comes around.
Neither Alwayne Bigby or Joel Smith will be the next Matt Janning, but they are the likely candidates to start on the wing. Bigby started 28 games during his freshman campaign and by the end of the season was a pretty solid all-around player. He was never asked to score much, but he certainly can when given the opportunity. And the opportunity will be there now. The Huskies hope Smith can take over some of the outside shooting left behind by Janning. Smith is a shooter, but it did not look that way most of his freshman campaign. He only averaged seven minutes per game, but if his shot starts falling, Smith could go from 1.9 points per game to double figures pretty easily.
The frontcourt has many of the same issues facing them. Like Bigby, Kauri Black played some good ball late in the season and is ready to take the next step. Black, a 6-7 sophomore, only played in 19 contests during his first year with the Huskies, but by the end of the season he was a key player off of the bench. Now he will step into a starting job and have to keep up his offensive output and hit the glass with a little more tenacity. The starting five spot could belong to Vinny Lima just because he is one of two seniors on the roster. Lima has never played too much, but he is a big guy who has enough talent to surprise a few people. Dinko Marshavelski is another one of those sophomores who barely got to play last season. In Marshavelski’s case he needed some time to develop. That time is up now and he will have to play a big role on this team.
Who to Watch:
The player who will hold this team together is the conference’s Player of the Year runner-up, Chaisson Allen. Allen is an experienced senior who will do everything. Last year he averaged 13.6 points, 3.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals. He also connected on nearly 40 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. That is not bad at all for a 6-4 point guard. His size allows him to attack the basket and Allen will be dangerous even if he does not get open looks this season since inevitably the opposing defense will be keying in on him. But Allen is a smart enough player to get the rest of his team involved and even if the opposition can stop Allen from scoring, they will not be able to stop him from penetrating and finding an open teammate.
There will be some growing pains, but Coach Coen proved last year that he can manage a slow start and still have a great year. The start this year might be a little slower as most of the team adjusts to playing more minutes, but by the end of the season this is a team that can come close to winning 20 games and reach the postseason for the third straight year, albeit not the postseason tournament they would prefer.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Chaisson Allen, Senior, Guard, 13.6 ppg
Joel Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 1.9 ppg
Alwayne Bigby, Sophomore, Guard, 3.2 ppg
Kauri Black, Sophomore, Forward, 2.3 ppg
Vinny Lima, Senior, Forward, 1.2 ppg
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