#88 Loyola Marymount: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #88
Conference Rank: #3 West Coast Conference
2008-09: 18-16, 7-7
2008-09 postseason: CIT
Coach: Max Good (21-41 at Loyola Marymount, 262-264 overall)
The overall schedule was not anything too difficult, but Loyola Marymount managed to muster 18 wins during the 2009-2010 campaign. All those wins were not against inferior competition as the Lions beat USC, Notre Dame and Gonzaga. The winning record led to a home game in the CIT. And that was exactly what this young team needed to propel themselves forward for this season. However, the young team apparently was not ready for any type of postseason play as they bowed out of the first round of the CIT at the hands of Pacific.
Key Losses: G Given Kalipinde, F Kevin Young
Godwin Okonji, a 6-8 center, is the key to this class. Okonji will need some time to develop his offensive game, but he should immediately help out on defense and on the glass. And that will become very important since Kevin Young opted to transfer. Young was a superb athlete who did a great job on the glass. Okonji is not the athletic wing type that Young was, but he will certainly do some rebounding. The frontcourt will find some more depth with redshirt freshman Quincy Lawson and Edgar Garibay returning after suffering injuries early last season. Point guard Anthony Ireland and wing Ayodeji Egbeyemi should compete for playing time if Coach Max Good wants to go as deep as he did last season.
And that is especially an issue in the backcourt. The transfer of Kevin Young grabbed most of the headlines, but guard Given Kalipinde also left the team. That leaves very few experienced options to give returning starters Vernon Teel and Jarred DuBois a break. Teel rarely took a break last season anyway, but having somebody else who can come in and run the show for a few minutes here and there will help keep Teel at his best. And when he is at his best, Teel is one of the most dangerous players in the conference. After averaging 15.4 points and 5.6 assists last season, Teel should be in for a huge senior season. Jarred DuBois will be by his side. DuBois developed into a consistent outside shooter last season and hit over 40 percent of his attempts from long range. In fact, he shot better from beyond the arc than he did from inside it. Without Kalipinde, Larry Davis will have to battle it out with the newcomers for playing time.
Ashley Hamilton has pretty much cemented himself as a starter. He is the usual power forward that can do some scoring around the basket and hit the glass. His 4.5 rebounds and 8.6 points per game last season are better than they sound since he barely played over 21 minutes per game. The bigger question is at center. Tim Diederichs started 13 games as a sophomore and, at 6-9, has the size to bang under the basket. However, Diederichs is not a scoring threat. The same can be said for LaRon Armstead and Alex Osborne, although both of them would have to play at the three or four spot with Hamilton moving to the five. The most intriguing option is Garibay. The 6-10, 250 pound freshman looked pretty impressive before tearing his ACL after seven games. While he is expected to be fully healthy in time for the start of the season, it remains to be seen if he can be a consistent force under the basket on both ends of the floor.
Who to Watch:
Teel may be in charge of the team, but Drew Viney is the player who wins games. The 6-7 junior joined Teel on the All-WCC 1st-team and is a leading candidate to win the West Coast Conference’s Player of the Year. Viney will use his size and strength to grab a ton of rebounds and attack the basket, but he is not a typical big man. He has more size than a typical wing in the WCC, but that is what he does. Viney connected on nearly 42.6 percent of his attempts from long range and connected on an impressive 81.9 percent of his free-throw attempts. His size, speed, strength and shooting ability make him nearly impossible for most opponents to defend…and he is only getting better.
Was the 2009-2010 season a fluke? This is a team that was absolutely horrible not long ago. Viney and Teel are a couple of great players, but does Loyola Marymount have the talent and depth to make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT? The WCC was down in general last year and that allowed the Lions to sneak into a postseason tournament. This may be a team that, at least for now, has peaked at fourth place in the conference. If they make another huge jump, they could compete with Gonzaga for a title, but nobody will be looking past Loyola Marymount this year and it will take a little more time for Coach Good to turn this group into a consistent winner.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Vernon Teel, Senior, Guard, 15.4 ppg
Jarred DuBois, Junior, Guard, 12.3 ppg
Drew Viney, Junior, Forward, 16.7 ppg
Ashley Hamilton, Sophomore, Forward, 8.6 ppg
Tim Diederichs, Junior, Forward, 2.5 ppg
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