2008 NIT Capsule: UNC Asheville
North Carolina Asheville Bulldogs
Big South (23-9, 10-4)
Big Wins: 1/5 at South Carolina (61-58), 2/2 Winthrop (71-56), 3/1 at Winthrop (63-50)
Bad Losses: 2/9 at Liberty (54-83), 2/16 VMI (75-97), 2/20 at Radford (53-62)
Coach: Eddie Biedenbach
K.J. Garland, Senior, Guard, 13.4 ppg, 5.9 apg, 4.4 rpg
Bryan Smithson, Senior, Guard, 16.4 ppg, 4.1 apg, 4.1 rpg
Reid Augst, Junior, Forward, 10.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 apg
Vincent James, Senior, Forward, 10.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Garrett Moles, Senior, Forward, 3.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Sean Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 5.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg
John Williams, Freshman, Forward, 6.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Kenny George, Junior, Center, 12.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.4 bpg
Why They Can Surprise:
You know how most coaches and announcers look really, really short when they are talking to a 6-8 player? UNC Asheville has a guy that makes those 6-8 guys look short. Kenny George, now listed at 7-7, is nearly impossible to stop for any opposing center. He is not a very polished player and rarely even starts, but when you can back down anybody without worrying about getting your shot blocked, it is a good offensive strategy to wait for George to get down the court and give him the ball as close to the basket as possible.
George will block shots, grab rebounds and put in any shot within arms length of the rim, but the Bulldogs have another dynamic to their game. Guard Bryan Smithson is a solid three-point shooter and K.J. Garland will knock some down as well. Those two make this team tick, despite all the press going to George. Smithson and Garland combine to dish out over ten assists per game and few teams in the nation share the ball as well as the Bulldogs.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Asheville will need to have a near perfect game to win in March. But the turnovers can be a little high, the rebounding is not that great and the free-throw shooting is mediocre at best. Smithson and Garland can be blamed for some of the turnovers, but they do a decent job considering they always have the ball in their hands. George will grab a ton of boards when he is on the floor, but forwards Vincent James, Reid Augst and Garrett Moles could do a little more to help him out. As long as the Bulldogs keep the ball in the hands of Smithson or Augst at the end of games, the free-throw shooting will not be a huge deal, but they will need every point they can get.
Who To Watch:
At 6-7, James and Moles are often overshadowed, both figuratively and literally, by George. Yet, James is a solid scorer in the paint and can be a very productive player in the scoring and rebounding columns. Moles does not put up big numbers, but he does the dirty work around the basket and plays a very important role on the team.
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