Charleston Basketball Preview: #97
Overall Rank: #97
Conference Rank: #1 Southern Conference
2008-09: 27-9, 15-5
2008-09 postseason: CBI
Coach: Bobby Cremins (65-37 at College of Charleston, 519-344 overall)
College of Charleston’s impressive 2008-2009 campaign was often overshadowed by the success and hype that surrounded Davidson. But it was the Cougars who knocked Davidson out of the Southern Conference Tournament and ended up with an impressive 27 win total on the year. The Cougars ended up in the CBI, which may not be exactly where they wanted to be, but at least it prepared the team for bigger post season aspirations that could happen this season.
Key Losses: G Marcus Hammond, F Jermaine Johnson, F Dustin Scott
The graduation of Jermaine Johnson and Dustin Scott will cause some problems in the frontcourt, but Coach Bobby Cremins has a few options coming in that can at least help fill the void. Most notable is Florida State transfer Casaan Breeden, who will be eligible to play at the end of the first semester. Breeden never found much playing time with the Seminoles, but he is a good athlete who could step right into a starting role once he is eligible. Incoming freshmen Willis Hall and Rashad Wright will also be given the opportunity to contribute in the paint. Depth at guard may become an issue as well and Andrew Lawrence is the lone newcomer on the perimeter.
But the backcourt has plenty of returning weapons. Andrew Goudelock led the team with 16.7 points per game last year and the 6-1 junior will score in just about every way imaginable. Donavan Monroe was the team’s super sixth man last year, but he could move into the starting lineup if Coach Cremins wants to, or more likely has to, play small. Monroe averaged 8.7 points per game without making a single start during his sophomore campaign. Even if he does start, Monroe may not get the ball too much since the Cougars have a point guard who can score too. Tony White Jr. averaged 12.0 points per game last year and is a dynamic scorer and passer who can hit the long ball consistently and get to the basket.
Without Johnson and Scott, much of the production from the frontcourt will have to come from the newcomers and Jeremy Simmons. The 6-8 junior has been waiting behind Johnson and Scott for his opportunity to start, but even coming in off the bench he has been quite productive. Averaging just over 20 minutes per game last year, he managed to score 6.8 points and grab 5.1 rebounds per contest. If he emerges as the team’s scoring option under the basket, he should be able to average ten points and seven rebounds per game. Matt Sundberg was not needed much during his freshman season, but he had a few decent moments and will be asked to play a bigger role off the bench as a sophomore.
Who to Watch:
The versatility of Antwaine Wiggins will give Coach Cremins some options. The 6-7 forward played at the three spot last year and averaged 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds. With his size he can play some minutes at power forward and he will likely be needed to do that during the 2009-2010 campaign, especially early in the year while Breeden is on the sidelines. In most situations the Cougars will want Wiggins playing small forward or they will get hurt on the glass, but Wiggins is not that bad of a rebounder. No matter where he plays Wiggins is a solid athlete who can hit the long ball or use his speed to beat the opposition to the basket.
The presumed decline of Davidson is leaving the door wide open for other teams in the Southern Conference. Teams like Wofford and The Citadel are capable of winning the league, but the College of Charleston has an experienced team with an experienced coach and as long as they can find some production from the frontcourt, the Cougars will be difficult to stop.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Tony White Jr., Senior, Guard, 12.0 points per game
Andrew Goudelock, Junior, Guard, 16.7 points per game
Donavan Monroe, Junior, Guard, 8.7 points per game
Antwaine Wiggins, Junior, Forward, 8.3 points per game
Jeremy Simmons, Junior, Forward, 6.8 points per game