#91 Bradley: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #91
Conference Rank: #5 Missouri Valley Conference
2009-10: 16-15, 9-9
2009-10 postseason: none
Coach: Jim Les (142-120 at Bradley, 142-120 overall)
Bradley was a slightly disappointing team last season. After a hot start that saw them beat then ranked Illinois, the Braves dropped seven of nine games in December and January. Despite that awful stretch the team managed to pull together and finish with a .500 record in conference play. With four starters returning and plenty of depth on the bench, Coach Jim Les should put together a team that should finish with a much better record.
Key Losses: G Eddren McCain, G Chris Roberts, C Sam Singh
None of the newcomers will be asked to do much this season, but some depth in the frontcourt would be helpful. Jordan Prosser redshirted last year and his one year on the bench may make him the likely candidate to see a few minutes here and there. The ‘Milk Man’ can do a little bit of everything and has enough size to fill in at the four or five spot. Andrew Davis is an incoming freshman who will try and find some minutes as well. However, the 6-10, 215 pound Edmond, Oklahoma product needs to add more girth before he will be much of a factor in the paint. The lone newcomer on the perimeter is Walter Lemon who will find it very difficult to get minutes barring more injuries.
The loss of Chris Roberts, who averaged 9.2 points, 2.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds during his senior campaign is the big one, but Bradley has an answer. Two years ago Dodie Dunson averaged 10.1 points, 1.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds. Last year he played in just two games before breaking his left arm and missing the rest of the season. Dunson will be a fine replacement for Roberts. Sam Maniscalco is back to run the show and do much more. The 6-0 senior averaged 13.1 points and 3.4 assists last season and is a great all-around scorer. Yet, those two are not even the star of the backcourt. That title belongs to Andrew Warren. Warren is a superb outside shooter and knocked down nearly 40 percent of his five attempts per game last season. He led the team with 14.4 points per contest during his junior campaign and will almost certainly do so again as a senior. What makes Warren even more important to this team is his 6-5 size and his ability to attack the basket and the glass.
Taylor Brown almost came out of nowhere to average 13.5 points and a team high 6.9 rebounds per game. The 6-6 forward has the ability to stretch out the defense by knocking down the occasional three-pointer, but he does his best work in the paint. Brown is even a very good free-throw shooter for a forward and that has come in very handy late in games. Will Egolf is the big man on Bradley. The 6-9, 232 pound center is starting to develop into a decent interior scorer, but he still needs to add strength to be more productive on both ends of the floor. Yet, it is Egolf who is the lone shot blocking threat on this team and it is that skill that Bradley really needs to develop. Anthony Thompson and Milos Knezevic both averaged less than ten minutes per game last year, but one of them needs to at least be able to spell Egolf at the five spot so the Braves do not have to play small every time a forward needs a rest.
Who to Watch:
Jake Eastman and Dyricus Simms-Edwards did not garner much attention during their freshmen campaigns, but they are the stars of the future. It was Simms-Edwards who saw more playing time and proved to be a capable scorer and rebounder from the wing. Eastman has more size at 6-4 and 208 pounds and he should be a very good player once his shot starts falling. For now, both of them have another year to come in off the bench.
The Braves had reached the postseason for four consecutive seasons before the 2009-2010 campaign. They also reached the 20 win mark during those four seasons. They should eclipse that mark once again and get back to the postseason. This is not as tough of a Missouri Valley Conference as it was a few years ago and Bradley has the experience and talent to make a nice run if everything goes their way.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Sam Maniscalco, Senior, Guard, 13.1 ppg
Dodie Dunson, Senior, Guard, 8.0 ppg
Andrew Warren, Senior, Guard, 14.4 ppg
Taylor Brown, Junior, Forward, 13.5 ppg
Will Egolf, Junior, Center, 7.0 ppg
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