Overall Rank: #129
Conference Rank: #2 Patriot
2006-07: 22-9, 13-1, 1st (t)
2006-07 postseason: none
Bucknell allowed Holy Cross to catch up last year in the two horse race for Patriot League supremacy. So what happens when the Bison lose three of their top four scorers and all the major pieces of the past NCAA Tournament appearances? Not much. Thanks to some decent recruiting over the years, Bucknell has plenty of talent that is ready to step in.
Chris McNaughton, Donald Brown and Abe Badmus were staples on the Bucknell squad. McNaughton, a Bison folk hero for years, averaged 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds during his senior campaign. Brown did a little bit of everything, averaging 12.0 points, a team high 6.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals. There is no doubt the frontcourt will look drastically different and even little used forward Andrew Morrison is headed out. Abe Badmus, who led the team with 3.1 assists per game, leaves behind plenty of proven players behind him.
Coach Pat Flannery continues to bring in some quality recruits. Center Todd O’Brien may be the most important right away. The 6-11 New Holland, Pennsylvania product is not a true post player and will step outside and hit the mid-range jumper. In high school he averaged a double-double and added over five blocks per contest, but the competition left something to be desired. Bucknell could use another big body if O’Brien proves he is ready to play as a freshman. G.W. Boon is probably the best of the bunch. The 6-4 forward is a decent shooter and a great rebounder and will use his athleticism to make a huge impact in the coming years. Darryl Shazier, a 6-0 combo guard, is super quick. If he can handle running the point as a freshman, he will see some quality minutes, otherwise he will likely be used as a defensive stopper off the bench.
Who to Watch:
John Griffin will man the point guard spot after averaging 10.5 points and 2.7 assists last year. The senior will be looked upon to be the new leader of the team. Jason Vegotsky has plenty of experience after starting 24 contests during the 2006-2007 campaign and, along with Griffin, will provide a decent long range shooting duo. Justin Castleberry, Stephen Tyree and Rob Thomas have all been stuck behind more experienced players on the depth chart and will be the candidates to step up and help replace the production of Badmus and Brown.
Darren Mastropaolo did the dirty work under the basket to open up McNaughton. Without McNaughton, Mastropaolo may be asked to do a little more scoring. However, Patrick Behan could simply take over for McNaughton, leaving Mastropaolo to set screens and grab rebounds. Behan, another one of those talented underclassmen who was waiting on the bench, is a talented long range shooter. At 6-8 and 225 pounds the sophomore needs to become a bigger threat in the paint, but there are not many other choices. Despite the loss of so many stars, Bucknell is not going anywhere. The Patriot League championship will be a battle between the Bison and Holy Cross and, like last year, could be one of the most exciting conference races in the nation.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
John Griffin, Senior, Guard, 10.5 points per game
Justin Castleberry, Junior, Guard, 5.3 points per game
Jason Vegotsky, Junior, Guard, 7.4 points per game
Patrick Behan, Sophomore, Forward, 1.7 points per game
Darren Mastropaolo, Senior, Forward, 6.0 points per game