Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers
Overall Rank: #135
Conference Rank: #1 Northeast Conference
2007-08: 19-15, 11-7, 4th
2007-08 postseason: NCAA
Jeremy Goode is who makes Mount St. Mary’s so, well, good. As a sophomore during last year’s NCAA Tournament season, Goode averaged 14.5 points and 5.5 assists per contest. The 5-9 Charlotte, North Carolina native is even a decent rebounder for his size and is always a pesky defender. With his leadership, especially now that he is an upperclassman, Goode and the Mountaineers will be shooting for another trip to the Madness come March.
But how well will the offense adjust to playing without Chris Vann? The shooting guard knocked down a ton of three-pointers during his senior season and there are not a whole lot of other options to hit the long ball. Seven-footer Jason Loughry was never a major scoring threat, but he was the only player on last year’s roster over 6-7. At the least, he was a decent big body to grab a couple fouls, but he could alter some shots on the defensive end as well.
A trio of 6-7 forwards will help bolster the frontcourt depth. Danny Thompson and John Schwarz redshirted as freshmen last season. Thompson is a good athlete who will use that ability to hit the glass effectively and block some shots. Incoming freshman Jacolby Wells might need a little time to become acclimated to the style of play at Mount St. Mary’s, but eventually he will find a spot in the regular rotation. His ability to block shots will get him some playing time sooner than later and he is a fine finisher around the basket as well. The lone backcourt newcomer is point guard Lamar Trice. The 5-11 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania product plays under control in an uptempo style and that has Coach Milan Brown and Mountaineer fans very excited for the future.
Who to Watch:
The most important thing to keep an eye on this season is the outside shooting of the wings. Will Holland knocked down 1.6 long balls per game, but only at a 32.6 percent clip. Compared to the departed Vann’s 38.4 percent three-point field-goal percentage, Holland has some work to do replace him. The answer will likely be Vann’s replacement in the starting lineup, sophomore Jean Cajou. Cajou was a superb sixth man as a freshman, but he will be asked to do more this year. And after averaging 7.1 points, he should be ready. Cajou will not hoist up a bunch of shots from beyond the arc, but he hit 46.4 percent of what he did attempt last year. If he can keep that rate up while taking a few more shots, Cajou will be a consistent double-digit scorer and one step closer to become an NEC superstar in the years to come.
The backcourt has plenty of talent and the frontcourt returns everybody who played over 13 minutes per game last season. Senior Sam Atupem is the biggest threat to score around the basket. He could be a better rebounder, but at least Markus Mitchell and Kelly Beidler can help out in that department. Mitchell, who started all 34 games as junior, can do a little bit of everything. He led the team with 5.9 rebounds and ranked second with 1.2 steals per contest. He will even block a few shots, but that is usually Atupem’s specialty. At 6-5, Beidler lacks the size to battle in the paint against most teams, but he can play at the four and stretch out the opposing defense or spend time at the three and add another rebounder to team.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Jeremy Goode, Junior, Guard, 14.5 points per game
Jean Cajou, Sophomore, Guard, 7.1 points per game
Will Holland, Junior, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Markus Mitchell, Senior, Forward, 5.4 points per game
Sam Atupem, Senior, Forward, 7.7 points per game