2007-08 Charleston Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #132
Conference Rank: #3 Southern
2006-07: 22-11, 13-5, 2nd South
2006-07 postseason: none
There has been a lot of turnover recently at College of Charleston under the watchful eye of Coach Bobby Cremins. Coach Cremins is heading into his second year leading the Cougars and this year the team is getting much more talented and much less experienced. The SoCon domination will not be back this year thanks to Davidson, but Charleston is well on its way to recapturing the glory days.
Losing four of the top six scorers from last season is the problem that will keep the Cougars on the outside of the postseason. Dontaye Draper and his 16.2 points and 5.3 assists per game is the most notable absence. Forwards Philip McCandies and David Lawrence were the top two rebounders on the team. Josh Jackson developed into a solid scoring center before opting to transfer prior to his senior season. Guards Javon Parris and Jarryd de Boer and forward Renardo Dickerson will not be returning after seeing limited action in 2006-2007.
It is no secret that the rebuilding process would begin heading into the 2007-2008 campaign and the program was well prepared. Yet, picking up Antwaine Wiggins late in the game added icing to the cake. Wiggins is a versatile small forward and very well could be starting from day one. The most help is needed up front and junior college transfer Dustin Scott and incoming freshman Jeremy Simmons will need to make an impact right away. Scott is the all-time leading rebounder in Tallahassee Junior College history and his experience will be a major asset for the Cougars, especially after the transfer of Josh Jackson. Wiggins might be the most heralded incoming freshman, but guard Andrew Goudelock is a tremendous shooter and is expected to at least provide a spark off the bench. Donovan Monroe does not lack talent. The 6-1 shooting guard can score in heaps, but consistency has been a concern. If he buys into what Coach Cremins is selling and buckles down and plays a little defense, Monroe will be a star sooner than later. Lefty Roland Davis is a quality scorer as well and will try and work his way into the rotation as a freshman.
Who to Watch:
Marcus Hammond and Jermaine Johnson are the lone returning starters and both need to develop into leaders now that they are upperclassmen. Hammond averaged 7.1 points per game last year and his shooting was inconsistent, to say the least. If the freshmen are as good as advertised, Hammond may find his minutes decreasing as the season progresses. Johnson is the only proven big man on the roster, but at 6-7 and 250 pounds, he can pretty much take on the opposing frontline by himself. Coming off of a 10.1 points and 6.3 rebound season average, Johnson should blow those numbers away as the main post threat for the Cougars.
It is important for Hammond and Johnson to take over the leadership roles, but it may be even more important for last year’s roleplayers to develop into solid starters. Tony White, Jr. earned seven starts in 2006-2007 and will now be asked to be the full-time starting point guard. He is a decent scorer and if he can keep the turnovers down a little bit for his sophomore season, Charleston will be in good hands. Konimba Diarra, a 6-10 center, has yet to reach his full potential. But with his senior season upon him, he is out of time. The Mali native only averaged 5.0 minutes per game his first season at Charleston after transferring from South Florida, and it may be a little too much wishful thinking to believe he can become a consistent contributor. However, if he does, the frontline suddenly is very big and very deep.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Tony White, Sophomore, Guard, 6.4 points per game
Marcus Hammond, Junior, Guard, 7.1 points per game
Antwaine Wiggins, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Dustin Scott, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Jermaine Johnson, Junior, Forward, 10.2 points per game