The season is quickly approaching us and my thoughts are turning more and more to this year’s upcoming squad. I think we are very, very deep this year. More deep than we’ve been for quite some time. I’m curious to see how Stew handles it. As we all know, he likes to get the rotation down to 8-9 guys by the end of the year. It’s going to be hard to do this year, in my opinion.
Here’s how I see the lineups and minute breakdowns:
Point Guard : Roland 20 / Davis 20
I’m not sure what will happen at this position, but I thing both players are very strong. I expect to see Roland start to begin the year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Doc took over as the year progresses. Either way I think we have a strong 1-2 punch. I’m not sure if either of these guys will immediately be as good as Brockeith was for us, but they will be close, and we will be deeper here than the last couple of years.
Shooting Guard: Medlin 33 / Berger 7
For the past year or so I’ve been saying that Riley Bradshaw would come in and contribute right away and compete for minutes. It’s just hard for me to see how he will do that this coming year with the players that we brought in. Preston Medlin will command at least 32-35 minutes per game. I think he will be a strong candidate for WAC POY. Berger will clean up the minutes here and possibly play some SF as well.
Small Forward : Butterfield 26 / Jean 11 / Berger 3
Spencer Butterfield will be a beast for us. I expect him to be All-WAC this year. Probably 2nd team. You heard it here first. He’s a flat out dead-eye shooter from downtown and with him and Medlin holding down the fort on the wings our opponents will really have to stay out on them, opening up the middle. We’ll have a built in zone-buster. Add to that his ability to drive to the hoop and apparent enjoyment of contact down low and you’ve got a good combination. I know very little about Marvin Jean except that our Staff really likes him and the players I have spoken with all said he’s a baller. I expect he’ll see some time, and Berger could command more minutes than I’m giving him if he performs. He’s the only other wing besides Medlin with experience here.
Power Forward: Reed 24 / Harris 8 / Clifford 8
Reed could command more minutes here, but I’m not sure how consistent he will be this year. He’s also been prone to fouling much like Tai was for us. If he can pull it all together for us and be as consistent on the road as he was at home he could be huge for us this coming year. An All-WAC type player. Sean Harris should see some time here for us if he can stay healthy. I’ve heard good things about him, and expect him to compete for minutes. I expect that either him or Clifford will see minutes at both post positions early in the year until Lopez is available. Ben Clifford will be solid for us as usual and clean up the extra minutes at this position.
Center: Shaw 22 / Harris or Clifford 10 / Lopez 8
This position is very up in the air. I think Shaw will command minutes here based on his size and ability to score. Lopez will be ineligible to play until December and Harris or Clifford will likely have to fill in at this spot some. From what I have seen from Shaw he can flat out score, but seems to be in love with the mid-range jumper game. He’s a finesse type player and I haven’t seen him banging down low at all. In the ratball session that I watched he shot the ball about 9 out of 10 times it touched his hand, but probably made at least 75% of those shots, so I’m not sure I can blame him at all. I’m curious to see what Stew does with him. I don’t remember him being outstanding on the defensive end, but he has all the tools. I wonder how he will do against a big bruiser who loves contact down low. Matt Lopez is a very intriguing prospect as well. His game seems pretty raw at this point, but he has the physical abilities to be great. His defense looked good to me and his passing ability stood out. He made good passes in the correct situations out on the floor. He should develop well for us over the years.
Breakdown by playing time:
Medlin – 33
Butterfield – 26
Reed – 24
Shaw – 22
Roland – 20
Davis – 20
Harris – 13
Clifford – 13
Jean – 11
Berger – 10
Lopez – 8
Jordan Stone: Jordan seems like the obvious candidate to redshirt down low for us. He could use the extra time to develop and polish his skills and he has the redshirt available. If Stew feels that we can hold down the fort until December when Lopez comes back I expect he might try this. It also depends on whether or not Harris can stay healthy.
Riley Bradshaw: For the past year or so I’ve been predicting that Bradshaw will make an immediate impact on the squad and command minutes right from the get-go. I’ve backed off a little bit from that stance, and I think he might actually be a decent candidate to redshirt this year. Of course, I’m basing this off of one ratball session that I watched, so I may be way off, but with Butterfield, Medlin, Jean, and Berger, there seems to be some room for a redshirt for Riley. If he were to redshirt this year it would set him up to be a 2 or 3 year starter for us which I think would bode well for our future plans. If Stew decides to go this route, don’t be surprised to see his redshirt pulled mid-season if anyone gets injured.
Quincy Bair: The plan for Bair has been to redshirt for quite some time now. The reviews of his game that I’m hearing are very mixed. I have yet to see him play in person, but it sounds like he has very good defense and the potential to be a very solid player in the future. He will need to work hard this season to develop his game to secure his spot on the team in the future. It will be nice to have another lock-down defender on the wings (of the Pooh / Newbold variety) come 2013-14.
That’s all for now. Agree? Disagree? Hit us up with some comments on here!