Sizing up the Competition…Non-conference teams eval capsules

Sizing Up

the Competition

Evaluative Capsules of the Non-conference Opponents

December 2009

…the rest of the non-conference slate

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE. 2008-09 Record: 18-13 Postseason: NIT 1st Rd

This team will play with heart as they view the game vs CU as a must win – after all the Huskers are in the Big 12. They are supposed to win against lesser conference teams (smile). Not this year. They have cast a wide net over the last 2 years and as a result have a large and varied accumulation of talent, but not many of the kids have played together. The assemblage of several foreign players and good US talent will gel by February and the Huskers will be competitive down the stretch. Creighton’s talent and experience will be too much to overcome in early December at the Qwest Ctr.

Returning Players: Gds Dagunduro, Miller, Anderson, & Velander, & several untested foreign Bigs.

New Recruits: 7 incl: 3-stars C Vander Joaquim & PF Brandon Ubel, Juco PF Quincy Hankins. Add 3 Gds and a German SF.

University of New Mexico, Las Cruses, NM. 2008-09 Record: 22-12 Postseason: NIT 2nd Rd

Playing at the Pit is always a tough, tough challenge. The Lobos do not lose often at home. Their fans are legendary for the treatment of visiting teams. It is one of the Great college venues in the nation. Fortunately the Lobos lost 3 of last seasons key players. Conference 1st Teamer Tony Dandridge, 2nd Teamer Dan Faris, and Toppert have all graduated. Dairese Gary, Martinez, & McDonald, still remain and the Lobos have brought in a good recruiting class. I see the Jays stealing the ‘W’ in a closely contested battle…Free throws winning it at the end.

Returning Players: Sr Fwd Roman Martinez is lead returning scorer/rebounder, Jr SG Dairese Gary, So PG Phil McDonald.

New Recruits: Juco SF Darington Hobson, SF Chad Adams, & Tx PG Jamal Fenton – all scorers, and Tx PF Matt Staff.

George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. 2008-09 Record: 22-11 Postseason: NIT 1st Rd

Never underestimate a Jim Larranega team. The Patriots have again lost a bunch with John Vaughn, Dre Smith, and Ctr Darryl Monroe graduating. Mason lost back to back heartbreakers – to VCU in the CAA Tourney Finals, and to Penn St. in the NIT 1st Round. Coach L has brought in another (2 straight) great recruiting class, but he will have his hands full getting his guys to gel early enough to contend with an experienced Jays team in December. The Patriots Band will be jammin’ and Gunston will be doing his antics on the sidelines, as usual – but it won’t be enough. Jays Roll. Newcomers Wright, Williams, and PG Vaughns should see PT as Frosh. By Bracketbuster time, these Patriots will be rolling as usual, contending for another CAA Title and the conferences’ automatic bid to the NCAA.

Returning Players: Leading scorer G Cam Long, Fwds Ryan Pearson & Louis Birdsong.

New Recruits: PFs Johnnie Wms, & Paris Bennett, SF Luke Hancock, SGs Sherrod Wright & Rashad Whack, PG Vertrail Vaughns.

Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL. 2008-09 Record: 10-21 Postseason: None

The Rattlers are looking to improve from last season…as they have over the last 2 years. They are in the midst of rebuilding and although will compete, do not have the horses to challenge the Jays. FAMU has one Sr in Brandon Bryant (10.1 ppg), 2 Jrs. and are developing. FAMU lost 3 to graduation from last season. This will be a great learning experience for their team.

Returning Players: Bryant, Demps, and Jackson.

New Recruits: None.

ESPNU Bracketbusters

Fresno State University, Fresno, CA – 2008–09 Record: 13-21 Postseason: None

Just filler for Bulldog lovers. One of the Jays all-time favorite opponents. No way this game materializes. FSU has a solid core in do everything, sharpshooting PF Paul George, leading returning scorer SF Syl Seay, GD Mychal Ladd, and PG Dwight O’Neil (all dbl figures). An improvement at the FT line will be an immediate plus for this years’ Bulldog squad. To their credit the Bulldogs have an exceptional recruiting class to add to their maturing returnees. Center Greg Smith (a wide-bodied force in the paint), PF Damon Powell (McClymond’s), and SF Jerry Brown (San Fran’s Sacred Heart HS – cocky, streaky shooter) will impact immediately. Both Powell and Brown were on my list, but the Jays apparently had no interest in either player. The ‘Dogs are probably another year away from contending in their conference and making noise on the national scene. However, the addition of Smith, Powell, Brown, & the passing – sharpshooting of Shepp could turn things around for the Bulldogs this year! Smith, Brown, and Shepp have been on campus all summer and are impressing folks already.

Returning Players: PF Paul George, SF Syl Seay, PG Dwight O’Neil, GD Mychal Ladd, and several role players.

New Recruits: 4-star Ctr Greg Smith, 3-stars PF Damon Powell & SF Jerry Brown, SF Garrett Johnson, and Gds Chris Jones and Steven Shepp.