Beginning Monday, June 21st,
2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the
nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the
opening day of the 2004-05 Season.
144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back
each day to see which team is previewed next.
#70 Richmond Spiders
2003-04: 20-13, 10-6, 5th
2003-04 postseason: NCAA
Spiders only lost two games last year to teams that didn’t make the NCAA
Tournament. They managed to beat Temple, Kansas, Xavier and George
Washington in consecutive games, the first three coming on the road. Last
year’s team was better then their recorded indicated. They lose a lot, but
bring in a great class of newcomers. Head coach Jerry Wainwright will have
the squad ready to play once again.
Who’s Out: Mike Skrocki led
the team with 16 points per contest. The 6-6 swingman was an all around
scorer and that scoring ability will be missed. Tony Dobbins was one of the
most exciting players to watch in the conference. At 6-4, his rebounding
and defense were incredible. He led the team with 7.5 boards per game and
truly was one of the best rebounding guards in the nation. On the defensive
end he could steal (2.6 per game) and block (0.8 per game). Dobbins wasn’t
a shabby scorer either, racking up 10.9 per contest. Injuries hindered
Reggie Brown’s senior season but he still managed to 7.4 points per game in
31 appearances. Eric Zwayer and Stacy Tutt both saw limited minutes their
last season for the Spiders.
Who’s In: There is a
balance of lost players between the frontcourt and the backcourt. Richmond
has enough players with experience to step in and start. These newcomers
will compete for some starting time and quality minutes off the bench. A.D.
Vassallo is the cream of the crop. The 6-6 swingman should replace Mike
Skrocki in the starting lineup. He has a great stroke from behind the arc
and has some quality experience for a freshman, playing on the Puerto Rican
junior national team. Power forwards Jarhon Giddings, Drew Crank and
Monty Sanders will add more depth to the frontcourt. Giddings plays like
a swingman and has great ball-handling skills for a 6-8, 210 pound forward.
Point guard Courtney Nelson should share some minutes with Daon Merritt
running the show as a freshman. Nelson is a consistent scorer and may end
up starting at the point by the end of the year if Merritt can’t keep his
turnovers down. T.J. Paterick, who is transferring from Washington State,
might be added to that point guard mix once he is eligible in January.
Who to Watch: Gaston Moliva
might be a little rough around the edges and undersized for a power forward
but he can play. He’s a bruiser under the basket and can rebound with
anybody in the conference. He played in all 33 games last season, starting
five, but only averaged 18.7 minutes per game. He’s not really a scorer,
with just 5.3 points per game last year, but he’ll score some by cleaning up
under the basket for easy points. It’s Moliva’s defense that is key. He
averaged 1.4 blocks per game and even has the some quick hands for the
occasional steal. Moliva will have some help under the basket with
returning players Jermaine Bucknor, Kevin Steenberge, Jamaal Scott and
Patrick O’Malley but he still needs to learn how to play without fouling.
Projected Conference Rank:
In a conference that won’t be quite as good as last year, the Spiders could
manage another ten win conference season. That could be good enough for 4th
place in the A-10, but not good enough for another trip to the big dance.
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