#82 James Madison: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #82
Conference Rank: #4 Colonial Athletic Association
2009-10: 13-20, 4-14
2009-10 postseason: none
Coach: Matt Brady (33-34 at James Madison, 106-84 overall)
Do not let the 4-14 record fool you, James Madison has an extremely talented squad. Their best player missed the first semester due to transfer rules and another forward only played in four games before succumbing to back injuries. And four days before the season began the team lost their starting point guard. If injuries do not strike again, the Dukes will be a lot closer to 14-4 than 4-14 in 2010-2011.
Key Losses: G Pierre Curtis, F Matt Parker, F Dazzmond Thornton, G Darren White
The only thing JMU really needs out of this class is some depth on the wings. And Coach Matt Brady got plenty of that. Junior college transfers Rayshawn Goins and James Millen have plenty of experience. It is Goins who is the more intriguing prospect. At 6-6 and 250 pounds, Goins has a lot of size for a wing. Millen is a more traditional shooting wing. The lone incoming freshman is Chad Jackson. With the addition of the junior college transfers, Jackson may find it difficult to see much playing time, but he is a talented player who may be too good to keep on the bench for long.
Two years ago Devon Moore averaged 10.7 points and 2.9 assists per game and started all 32 games, leading the Dukes to a postseason tournament. James Madison really missed him last year. Moore was just a freshman two years ago and turnovers were an issue, but that should be relatively resolved with a year of starting experience and a year to watch from the bench. Ben Louis will help Moore with the ball handling duties this year, just like he did with Pierre Curtis last season. Louis is not a scorer, but he is a superb defender and this is a team that needs all the defense it can get. Alioune Diouf did not have a great freshman campaign, but he had his moments and should improve with a year of experience.
The backcourt will be good, but it will be the frontcourt that propels JMU to the postseason. Junior small forward Julius Wells has developed into a great all-around player. He averaged 16.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists during his sophomore campaign and should only get better with time. Wells knocked down nearly three three-pointers per contest and is not afraid to use his 6-5 frame to attack the basket. The return of Andrey Semenov will bolster the frontline even more. The 6-7 sophomore missed all but four games last year, but had a great freshman campaign in which he averaged 8.2 points and 4.1 rebounds. Semenov’s ability to hit the outside shot really stretched out the defense and that was sorely missed by JMU last season. Trevon Flores stepped into a starting role in place of Semenov. Flores ended up averaging 3.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks and did a fine job for a freshman forced into action. Now he will be a superb player off of the bench.
Who to Watch:
The star of this team quickly became Denzel Bowles once he was eligible in December. He started all 25 games he played in and averaged over 20 points per game and nearly ten rebounds per contest. Nobody in the conference found a way to stop him. Bowles may not have to put up numbers like that this year since some other players should step up their scoring production, but it is nice to know that the 6-10 senior can take over any game he needs to.
Poor defense was an issue last season, but now James Madison has three legitimate shot blocking threats and the reshuffling of the backcourt should help the team’s overall defense. The offensive weapons are abundant and experienced, so it should come down to the defense. An NIT bid is probably the best this group can hope for and they have the talent and experience to sneak into the NIT and avoid another trip to the CIT or CBI.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Devon Moore, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Ben Louis, Senior, Guard, 5.4 ppg
Julius Wells, Junior, Forward, 16.3 ppg
Andrey Semenov, Sophomore, Forward, 6.2 ppg
Denzel Bowles, Senior, Forward, 20.8 ppg
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