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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

July 7th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Preview: Loyola Marymount Lions

 

Overall Rank: #126

Conference Rank: #4 WCC

 

2005-06: 12-18, 8-6, 2nd (t)

2005-06 postseason: none

 

Every year the conversation arises about who can knock off Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference.  This year Loyola Marymount has as good a chance as any.  Second year coach Rodney Tention has brought a renewed vigor to the Lions and with Matthew Knight and Brandon Worthy returning an underrated and super talented inside-outside combination, LMU is poised to make some noise in the WCC. 

 

Who’s Out: There are some losses in Los Angeles.  The backcourt suffers the loss of Wes Wardrop, who averaged 13.8 points and 3.8 assists as a senior.  The big loss up front is Chris Ayer.  The 6-10 center started all 30 games putting up 9.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.  The graduations of roleplayers Dustin Brown and John Haywood, along with the injury to Daryl Pegram, leave the options in the frontcourt quite slim.

 

Who’s In: Coach Tention and Lion fans alike hope the frontcourt problems can be answered by newcomers Brad Sweezy, Terron Sutton, Mason Maynard and Max Zuyderhoff-Craig.  Sweezy, at 6-6, is the smallest of the bunch, but the forward has the skills necessary to contribute major minutes immediately.  He has a nice stroke from short range and will do all of the dirty work under the basket.  Unlike Sweezy, Sutton can help replace the departed Ayer in the block department.  The 6-9, 230 pounder still needs to develop his offensive game, but he is ready to contribute on the defensive end.  Maynard was a blocking and rebounding machine in high school.  It will take a little time to adjust to the collegiate level of play, yet Maynard will battle the rest of the newcomers for playing time.  Zuyderhoff-Craig hammers home the point that the frontcourt of LMU will be set for four years.  The 7-0 French Canadian isn’t polished yet; however, he has international experience and a big upside.  For good measure, the Lions are bringing in one guard.  Shawn Deadwiler II isn’t expected to play much out of necessity.  The combo guard led South Mountain High School, the highest scoring team in Arizona, with 21 points and six assists per contest. 

 

Who to Watch: If you don’t know Worthy and Knight yet, you will soon.  Worthy averaged 15.0 points and 4.3 assists last year, while Knight put up 16.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest.  They are the stars, but the play of Jon Ziri and Adoyah Miller will be the difference between a good year and a great year.  Ziri started 27 games last season, averaging 5.8 points and 2.4 assists.  Without Wardrop, Ziri needs to pickup his scoring and long range shooting.  Miller has continually battled injuries, but when he is healthy, he is a solid player who could provide a big spark for the Lions.

 

Final Projection: Fourth place might be a little disappointing after tying for second last year, but the youth of the frontcourt is too big of an issue.  It doesn’t help that teams like San Diego, San Francisco and St. Mary’s are all sporting talented squads that are looking to knock off Gonzaga as well.  The battle for minutes in the paint will be very interesting amongst the newcomers and sophomore Marko Deric.  If a couple of those players can step up by the time conference play rolls around, fourth place might be too low for Loyola Marymount.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: none

 

Projected Starting Five:

Brandon Worthy, Senior, Guard, 15.0 points per game

Jon Ziri, Junior, Guard, 5.8 points per game

Adoyah Miller, Senior, Guard, 4.0 points per game

Brad Sweezy, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

Matthew Knight, Senior, Forward, 16.2 points per game

#127 Colorado » Complete List » #125 Oral Roberts

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