Wright State Raiders
Overall Rank: #60
Conference Rank: #2 Horizon
2007-08: 21-10, 12-6, 2nd
2007-08 postseason: none
You can have a small team and still be successful in the Horizon League, but Wright State might be taking that concept a little too far. Sophomore Cooper Land is the most experienced forward on the roster and he only averaged 12.8 minutes per game last season. Senior Gavin Horne and junior Ronnie Thomas played even less last year. Coach Brad Brownell will certainly utilize a four guard lineup at times, but that just does not work against every team.
The size concern is due to the graduations of Jordan Pleiman and Scott Wilson, last year’s starters in the frontcourt. The duo combined to average 17.9 points and 13.3 rebounds per contest. Neither were great shotblockers, but they were decent on the defensive end and at least made things slightly more difficult for the opposition in the paint.
The Raiders did all they could to address the issue with their newcomers, but it remains to be seen how well they can adapt to the system. The one true newcomer is a junior college transfer and has plenty of size. Cory Cooperwood, at 6-7 and 215 pounds, will be asked to play quality minutes right away. If he cannot, the frontcourt will be in a world of hurt. Kyle Pressley is an unproven redshirt freshman who will get an opportunity this year. Scott Grote, a transfer from Duquesne, is only 6-6 and is more of a wing than a forward, but he might find himself starting at the four spot. After averaging 9.9 points and 4.1 rebounds as a freshman with the Dukes, Grote can make a big impact for the Raiders.
Who to Watch:
If the frontcourt can surprise, the backcourt will lead this team to a conference championship. Will Graham and John David Gardner are both experienced point guards and Vaughn Duggins and Todd Brown will do plenty of scoring from the wings. Duggins, who led the team with 13.8 points per game, will get to the basket and hit the long range shot with consistency. Brown added an average of 12.7 points per game, but Wright State will have to find another scorer…whether it comes from the backcourt or the frontcourt.
Copperwood could be the guy who not only becomes the third scoring option, but also gives the team some much needed presence in the paint. After dominating the junior college ranks for the last two years at Wallace State Community College in Alabama, Copperwood could do the same thing in the Horizon League. The two-time junior college All-American can do some work around the basket on the offensive end, but his ability to rebound could put him in the starting lineup from day one. And if Copperwood can live up to his hype, Wright State will have a great year. The guards are very experienced and talented, so it is just up to the frontcourt to find one guy who can score and a few guys who can grab some rebounds and play some defense.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Will Graham, Senior, Guard, 5.9 points per game
Vaughn Duggins, Junior, Guard, 13.8 points per game
Todd Brown, Junior, Guard, 12.7 points per game
Scott Grote, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
Cory Copperwood, Junior, Forward, DNP last season