#143 Quinnipiac: 2010-11 Basketball Preview

    
July 28th, 2010

Overall Rank: #143

Conference Rank: #1 Northeast Conference

 

2009-10: 23-10, 15-3

2009-10 postseason: NIT

Coach: Tom Moore (53-41 at Quinnipiac, 53-41 overall)

 

Quinnipiac lost one game on their home floor last season and it was to Robert Morris in the Northeast Conference Tournament final. That loss sent RMU to the NCAA Tournament where they nearly upset second seeded Villanova and left the Bobcats in the NIT. Coach Tom Moore hopes to win that final game this year and send his team to the NCAA tournament.

 

Key Losses: G Jeremy Baker, G James Feldeine

 

Key Newcomers:

William Harrison is the newcomer who will provide an immediate impact on this team. He is an athletic wing who can do a little bit of everything and has some experience after spending some time at Western Texas College. After losing Jeremy Baker and James Feldeine to graduation, this is a team that desperately needs some depth on the wing, especially from one who can shoot the ball. The Q hope to find some shooting from Dominique Langston as well, but Langston will score in more ways than just from his outside shot. The lone newcomer to the frontcourt is 6-7 forward Ike Azotam. Azotam is a versatile forward who can play inside and out and should compete for playing time off the bench right away.

 

Backcourt:

Feldeine would take all the big shots for the Bobcats, but the backcourt is still in good shape thanks to the return of James Johnson. The 6-0 junior is not only a quality point guard, but he is a dynamic scorer. If this team starts struggling offensively without Feldeine and Baker, Johnson can certainly take over. However, Johnson is at his best creating for his teammates. But he can get to the basket and hit the three-pointer with relative ease when Quinnipiac needs him to do so. Deontay Twyman should step into a starting role after being the sixth man last season. Twyman only averaged 18.5 minutes per game last year, but in that time he managed to average 7.1 points, 1.9 assists and 2.4 rebounds. If he can keep up that pace and play closer to 30 minutes per game, Johnson and Twyman will form one of the most dangerous backcourt duos in the conference. Dave Johnson will compete with the newcomers for playing time off the bench and be the primary backup point guard.

 

Frontcourt:

The star of the frontcourt is Justin Rutty. The 6-7 senior tallied 15.3 points and 10.9 rebounds last year and could be in for a huge senior season. Rutty has a knack for scoring under the basket and the opposition is often forced to double team him down low. If the Bobcats were a better shooting team this year, it would make Rutty even more valuable when those double teams come crashing down on him in the paint. Jonathan Cruz is a nice complimentary forward to Rutty. He is not much of a scorer, but is a scrappy rebounder and will do the dirty work around the basket. However, it remains to be seen if Cruz will play this season after graduating. By the end of his freshman campaign, Jamee Jackson was playing very well and should get a long look at a starting job. On the year he only averaged 4.0 points and 3.7 rebounds, but he can do much better than that with a year of experience under his belt. If Cruz opts not to return, Jackson will almost certainly have to step into a starting role.

 

Who to Watch:

Quinnipiac would prefer to run three guards, but they really lack a proven small forward. That means Jackson could play at small forward at times, but at 6-7 he really lacks the foot speed to handle that position defensively against most opponents. That could force junior college transfer Harrison into a starting job right away. That would give Quinnipiac more options up front with a possible rotation of Cruz, Jackson and Rutty, but it also forces a relatively unproven player into the starting lineup. Coach Moore will sort it out soon enough, but for now finding a small forward who can play defense is an issue.

 

Final Projection:

There are plenty of different options at small forward and the situation should work itself out. Even Langston has the size and ability to see some playing time there if Harrison cannot secure a starting job. On a team that has the potential to go nine deep, filling in the holes should not be much of a concern by the time the conference season begins. And with Robert Morris losing their coach and some big time players, this is Quinnipiac’s year to go the NCAA Tournament.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

James Johnson, Junior, Guard, 12.1 ppg

Deontay Twyman, Senior, Guard, 7.1 ppg

William Harrison, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

Jonathan Cruz, Senior, Forward, 5.3 ppg

Justin Rutty, Senior, Forward, 15.3 ppg

 

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