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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 6th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Old Dominion Monarchs

Overall Rank: #67

Conference Rank: #3 Colonial


2005-06: 24-10, 13-5, 4th

2005-06 postseason: NIT


With the loss of their two best players, it’s hard to say that Old Dominion will finish third this year after what was a disappointing fourth place finish in the CAA a year ago.  However, the CAA can’t be that good once again, can it?  Coach Blaine Taylor has an experienced squad that won’t spend much time thinking about last season and the players they lost. 


Who’s Out: Alex Loughton averaged 13.5 points and a team high 7.7 rebounds during his senior campaign.  His absence will leave the center spot either undersized, inexperienced, or both.  Isaiah Hunter was the go to scoring threat on the perimeter, averaging a team high 14.3 points.  Little used big man Janko Mrksic also won’t be suiting up for the Monarchs this season.


Who’s In: With the major losses, the freshmen will be asked to contribute.  Gerald Lee, a 6-9 forward, has the most potential to step in right away and make an impact.  Lee spent his summer at the Under-20 European Championships representing Finland and basketball runs in his family.  It might take a little adjustment time, but the 6-9 forward should have the folks in Norfolk, Virginia excited.   Keyon Carter and probable redshirt candidate Frank Hassell will look to add more depth up front.  Carter is a solid rebounder and has enough athleticism to to have a successful freshman campaign.  Marsharee Neely averaged over 20 points per game at Page High School in Greensboro, North Carolina last season.  As a freshman, the 6-2 shooting guard won’t be asked to do much more than provide a spark off of the bench at both wing spots.


Who to Watch: Arnaud Dahi is next in line for ODU superstardom.  Injuries have slowed him over the summer and it will be very bad news if the 6-7 forward isn’t fully recovered by November.  Dahi averaged 11.9 points and 4.8 rebounds en route to earning third team All-CAA accolades.  The rest of the frontcourt has some intriguing options.  Valdas Vasylius has starting experience and can be effective in the paint, but he’ll have to stay out of foul trouble if he wants to stay in the starting lineup.  Small forward Jonathan Adams showed promise as a freshman and will battle for a starting role.  Sam Harris, a fan favorite 7-3 center, would hardly deserve a mention after averaging 5.9 minutes per game last year.  Yet, the frontcourt spots are up for grabs, especially if the Dahi injury lingers, and with a little more toughness, Harris could make an impact this year…much to the delight of the ODU faithful. 


Final Projection: The backcourt has four quality options returning in Drew Williamson, Brian Henderson, Brandon Johnson and Abdi Lidonde.  Williamson, who averaged 4.1 assists last season, will return to his starting role and Johnson has proven to be a solid backup point guard.  Henderson saw the majority of the minutes last year at the two guard spot.  He’s a decent shooter and a tough perimeter defender, but Lidonde won’t let him take up all the minutes.  If Dahi isn’t physically and mentally 100% by November, the beginning of the season will easily be forgotten.  There are enough options for the frontcourt to be efficient without him, but Dahi is essential if ODU wants to make another deep NIT run.


Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT


Projected Starting Five:

Drew Williamson, Senior, Guard, 7.3 points per game

Brian Henderson, Junior, Guard, 6.0 points per game

Jonathan Adams, Sophomore, Forward, 1.2 points per game

Valdas Vasylius, Senior, Forward, 8.8 points per game

Arnaud Dahi, Senior, Forward, 11.9 points per game

68 Purdue » Complete List » 66 St Louis

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