Richmond Basketball Preview: #61
Overall Rank: #61
Conference Rank: #4 Atlantic 10
2008-09: 20-16, 9-7
2008-09 postseason: CBI
Coach: Chris Mooney (57-70 at Richmond, 75-82 overall)
Richmond had high expectations heading into the 2008-2009 campaign, but those expectations were knocked down a bit when center Dan Geriot went out for the year with an injury. Still Coach Mooney managed to make the postseason and win 20 games. The absence of Geriot forced some younger frontcourt players into action and that will pay off big time this year.
Key Losses: F Jahron Giddings
With only one departing player there was not much room for a recruiting class, but Coach Mooney picked up a couple decent backcourt players who fit well into his Princeton style offense. Darien Brothers is a quality combo guard who can score in bunches and Greg Robbins will add some more size to the group on the perimeter.
Kevin Anderson and David Gonzalvez combined to averaged 32.6 points per game last year. Anderson, a 6-0 junior is turning into one of the best point guards in the conference. He certainly is not a pure point guard and his assist-to-turnover ratio could be better, and probably will be with a full year as a starter under his belt, but he does a superb job getting to the basket and finishing or finding his teammates. Gonzalvez is the shooter on the team and connected on an impressive 41.4 percent of his attempts from long range. With those two leading the way, the backcourt is in very good hands. However, there is more. Ryan Butler, a 6-7 wing, started 13 games last year and can give this team a spark off the bench or another scorer in the starting lineup.
It was Justin Harper who really stepped up with Geriot out for the year. As a sophomore, the 6-10 forward averaged 9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and led the team in blocked shots. Harper should step into a full-time starting position this year and his ability to step outside and hit the three-pointer will open up plenty of space in the paint for Anderson to slash to the basket or for Geriot to back down a single defender. Small forward Kevin Smith started 35 games last year and should be a full-time starter yet again as a junior. Smith will not put up eye popping numbers, but he can do a little bit of everything and is the glue guy on this team. With Francis-Cedric Martel and Josh Duinker coming off of relatively successful freshmen campaigns, the frontcourt should have no problems with depth.
Who to Watch:
Even without Geriot this would be a good team. But with Geriot the Spiders can aim for an NCAA Tournament berth and an Atlantic 10 title. The 6-9 center led the team in scoring as a freshman and sophomore and is a solid rebounder. Geriot will compete for all-conference honors if he can stay healthy and that should not be a problem since Geriot has been practicing with the team since February.
This should be a big year for Coach Mooney and his Richmond team, but the future looks just as bright. Even if the team cannot overcome teams like Dayton and Xavier, they could be on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament. But even a trip to the NIT is a step in the right direction and soon Richmond will be mentioned along with Xavier and Dayton as a perennial top team in the conference.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Kevin Anderson, Junior, Guard, 16.6 points per game
David Gonzalvez, Senior, Guard, 16.0 points per game
Kevin Smith, Junior, Forward, 4.7 points per game
Justin Harper, Junior, Forward, 9.2 points per game
Dan Geriot, Junior, Center, DNP last season
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