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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 15th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Bucknell Bison

Overall Rank: #58

Conference Rank: #1 Patriot


2005-06: 27-5, 14-0, 1st

2005-06 postseason: NCAA


How can Bucknell top the last two years?  Taking Villanova out of the equation, the Bison have more NCAA Tournament wins over the last two seasons than all the other teams in the state of Pennsylvania combined.  Sure, that’s just one win each of the last two tournaments, but that doesn’t happen everyday in Lewisburg, PA…the new Spokane of the East. 


Who’s Out: Without Charles Lee and Kevin Bettencourt on the perimeter, the Bison will have some work to do in order to be as good as last year.  Lee, a 6-3 wing, led the squad with 13.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game during his senior campaign.  Bettencourt tacked on 12.7 points and the absence of those players leave major concerns about the long range shooting.  Holland Mack and Tarik Viaer-McClymont provided limited minutes up front and have run out of eligibility.  After battling through injuries, forward John Clark has retired from his playing days at Bucknell.


Who’s In: Coach Pat Flannery traditionally hasn’t depended on freshmen to make a big impact on his team.  It may be helpful for a couple of the newcomers to fill some minutes, but don’t expect anybody in this group to take the Patriot League by storm, at least not yet.  Pat Behan is a sharp shooting 6-9 power forward.  His ability to step out and hit the long ball will be a valuable resource in the years to come.  Zach Evans will help fill the void on the wing.  The McDonald’s All-American nominee has the athleticism to contribute right away.  Stephen Tyree is a solid ball handler and, using his solid defensive skills, can fill minutes at either guard spot as a freshman.  Walk-on George Medrano will provide some emergency depth to the backcourt.


Who to Watch: Still best known for his game winning shot against Kansas in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, Chris McNaughton had another successful campaign in 2005-2006 averaging 12.8 points and 4.7 boards.  Since the 6-11 center has spent the last two years dominating the Patriot League, he’ll dominate even more as a senior.  His frontcourt mate Darren Mastropaolo hasn’t put up big numbers throughout his career, but the 6-8, 250 pounder is a tough defender and a solid screener.  Center Josh Linthicum and forward Andrew Morrison will provide the depth up front. 


Final Projection: Point guard Abe Badmus doesn’t get all the accolades that his high scoring teammates do, but the 5-11 Chicago native has led his team to success during his time in Lewisburg.  He’s a solid distributor and defender and will once again be the leader for the Bison on the court.  John Griffin and Jason Vegotsky came off the bench last year, but both may be starting this year.  Both will see a drastic increase in minutes and will need to successfully and consistently hit three-pointers in order to somewhat replace the absence of Lee and Bettencourt.  Donald Brown may earn a starting job at the small forward spot.  He has more than enough experience to step in, but it would leave Bucknell’s starting five without many perimeter shooters.  If last year’s backcourt roleplayers can’t consistently hit the outside shot, Bucknell will be in some trouble.  They’ll still win the Patriot League, but making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year may be out of reach.


Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA


Projected Starting Five:

Abe Badmus, Senior, Guard, 6.6 points per game

John Griffin, Junior, Guard, 3.9 points per game

Donald Brown, Senior, Forward, 6.5 points per game

Darren Mastropaolo, Junior, Forward, 3.7 points per game

Chris McNaughton, Senior, Center, 12.8 points per game

59 Virginia Tech » Complete List » 57 Kansas State

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