#122 Davidson: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #122
Conference Rank: #2 Southern Conference
2009-10: 16-15, 11-7
2009-10 postseason: none
Coach: Bob McKillop (383-248 at Davidson, 383-248 overall)
Life without Stephen Curry and Andrew Lovedale proved to be difficult for Davidson. But that was no surprise. You do not lose a talent like Curry and an inside presence like Lovedale and get better. The expectations were pretty low heading into 2009-2010, but the Wildcats still managed to finish 16-15 overall despite the obvious fact that it was a rebuilding year.
Key Losses: G Will Archambault, G Bryant Barr, F Steve Rossiter
More so than usual the Wildcats will need to rely on freshmen to at least provide depth. The lone newcomer who is not a freshman is sophomore Clint Mann, a transfer from Iowa State. The 6-8 power forward did not see much action with the Cyclones, but he is a decent player who has been around the team for a year and could crack the starting lineup. Ali Mackay will need some time to develop, but the 6-10 Scotsman is an intriguing prospect. Like Mackay, Christopher Czerapowicz has experience at the international level, but is relatively raw. Eventually he will make a good wing or power forward. DeMon Brooks and Jordan Downing will add even more depth on this team and both could work their way into the regular rotation or even the starting lineup. Perhaps the most important freshman is Tom Droney. The 6-6 guard has the ability to run the show and this is a team that could use another ballhandler.
If Droney can run the point, Brendan McKillop could move off the ball. As it is, the coach’s son is the point guard, and that is not a bad thing since he averaged 4.0 assists and a mere 1.5 turnovers last season. However, he could be more effective off the ball. J.P. Kuhlman was a pleasant surprise during his freshman campaign. He ended up starting 24 games and ranked second on the team with 12.6 points and 3.3 assists per game. At 6-4, he could even spend some time at the small forward position when Coach McKillop wants to play small and that would give this team a slew of ballhandlers on the floor. Kuhlman was the team’s most efficient outside shooter last season and a year in the system should make him even better. Nik Cochran did not have quite the impact as Kuhlman during his freshman campaign, but he is a decent shooter and should play 15 to 20 minutes per game off the bench.
The frontcourt starts with forward Jake Cohen, who led the team with 13.3 points per game last season and added 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Big men at Davidson almost always are an outside shooting threat, and on this squad Cohen is the best outside shooter of the big guys. At 6-10 and 220 pounds, Cohen can clog the lane, but he also connected on nearly one long ball per contest. His partner up front could be Ben Allison. Allison was a key figure off the bench last season, averaging 6.0 and 4.4 rebounds. Those numbers could increase dramatically if he can hang onto the starting job and stay out of foul trouble. Frank Ben-Eze is the one returning player who can really be a menace on the defensive end. Cohen and Allison are fine defenders, but Ben-Eze stays in the paint and has enough girth to stop penetration.
Who to Watch:
Even after starting all 31 games a year ago, it is not inconceivable that the younger McKillop comes in off the bench. At the beginning of the season he will be the point guard, but if Droney can take over that role McKillop may play the role of the scrappy, hustling sixth man. McKillop is a good shooter, but at times last season he tried too hard. He would force some shots despite there being more than enough talent around him to help out. It all depends on Droney, but McKillop could spend some time off the ball or be the super sub who can fill in anywhere on the perimeter.
This is still a relatively young team with McKillop being the only senior on the roster. Will he have to shoulder the leadership role again or can he start to give way to younger rising stars on the team? The other issue is at small forward where the Wildcats lack an experienced player to take over for the departed Will Archambault. Kuhlman can play there, but that means a freshman has to start somewhere on the perimeter. That will not be a bad thing by March, but it may cause some problems early in the 2010-2011 campaign.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Brendan McKillop, Senior, Guard 10.2 ppg
J.P. Kuhlman, Sophomore, Guard 12.6 ppg
Jordan Downing, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Ben Allison, Junior, Forward, 6.0 ppg
Jake Cohen, Sophomore, Forward, 13.3 ppg
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