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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 14th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Albany Great Danes

 

Overall Rank: #90

Conference Rank: #1 America East

 

2005-06: 21-11, 13-3, 1st

2005-06 postseason: NCAA

 

There are few questions regarding Albany, the most important being whether the Danes can continue their success from a season ago, or slip back to mediocrity with the departure of three solid players.  It will be a decisive campaign for Coach Will Brown and the Albany program.  However, with Jamar Wilson and Brent Wilson returning, this squad has two legitimate stars and a dynamic inside-outside combination.

 

Who’s Out: The Danes lose their third, fourth and fifth leading scorers in Lucious Jordan, Kirsten Zoellner and Levi Levine.  Without Zoellner and Levine, Albany’s inside game will mostly depend on unproven players.  Seldom used forward Jerrad Knotts has also run out of eligibility.

 

Who’s In: It is hoped that Brett Gifford and Mike Yocum can immediately contribute in the frontcourt.  Gifford, a 6-11 center, has a size advantage over his competition at the starting center spot.  He was a consistent double-double threat in high school and is a big time blocking threat.  His lack of experience may keep him out of the starting lineup in November, but that might not last too long.  Yocum, despite being a prep teammate of super scorers Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson, put up good numbers the last couple of years.  The wings will get some help with Reid Anderson and junior college transfers Carl Ross and Michael Knight.  With the depth in front of him, Anderson isn’t expected to make a huge impact, but that is not the case with the juco transfers.  Ross is a solid athlete and a good defender.  The 6-4 guard played at Fresno State two years and appeared in 25 games, averaging 2.3 points and 1.4 rebounds.  At the least, Ross will provide a spark off the bench, on both sides of the floor.  Knight has D1 experience playing at Maryland-Baltimore County before heading south to St. Petersburg College and will add to the seemingly endless depth on the wings.

 

Who to Watch: The Wilson’s will do much of the scoring, but a trio of wings will have to be successful if the Danes want to get the Great back in their name.  Jon Iati and Jason Siggers will battle for a starting gig on the wing.  Iati started four games last season, averaging 6.7 points per contest.  Siggers has a height and rebounding advantage over Iati and that may be enough to earn him the starting gig.  No matter who starts, both will see plenty of minutes and will have to step up in the scoring department to cover for the absence of Jordan.  Brian Lillis, a 6-5 junior, is the most interesting and important player.  The Urbandale, Iowa native is listed as a wing, but has spent most of his time running the point.  The idea is to have Lillis at the point so Jamar Wilson can spend more time doing what he does best…scoring.  In the end, if that concept continues to work, Jamar Wilson will score over 20 points per game and will once again earn the conference player of the year honors.

 

Final Projection: After Brent Wilson, the frontcourt is full of questions.  Jimmy Covington and Brian Connelly averaged less than nine minutes per game as freshmen and one can only expect so much from the incoming freshmen.  However, with minutes to go around, expect Covington, who was a relatively highly touted recruit for the America East, to at least hold his own under the basket.  Gifford isn’t a horrible option either, if things don’t work out with Covington.  It won’t be easy with Vermont in year two of their rebuilding campaign and teams like New Hampshire and Maine making strides to earn their first trips to the NCAAs.  Yet, we’re putting our money on the Danes continuing their success and not falling back to the middle of the pack.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Brian Lillis, Junior, Guard, 4.4 points per game

Jamar Wilson, Senior, Guard, 17.7 points per game

Jason Siggers, Senior, Guard, 5.0 points per game

Brent Wilson, Junior, Forward, 10.4 points per game

Jimmie Covington, Sophomore, Center, 0.8 points per game

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