#89 Princeton Men's Basketball Preview

Princeton Tigers

Overall Rank: #89
Conference Rank: #2 Ivy League
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2010-11: 25-7, 12-2
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mitch Henderson (First year at Princeton, 0-0 overall)

Princeton has once again had to grab a new coach and they picked up another Princeton guy in Mitch Henderson. Coach Henderson has most recently been working the sidelines at Northwestern, so it should be a pretty smooth transition as Princeton continues to do what they do best. The problem may be at the point guard position. The Tigers do not need a true point guard in a traditional sense, but they do need a leader to replace Dan Mavraides. Douglas Davis, a 5-11 senior, is the likely candidate. He is certainly not a true point guard, but he is the best shooter on the team and is more than capable of bring the ball up the court and getting the Princeton offense started.

Who’s Out:
Mavraides led the team with 2.8 assists per game, but he also led the team with 2.8 turnovers per game. He was a dynamic scorer who could knock down the long ball and attack the basket, but his assist and turnover numbers should show that this team can operate perfectly fine without a true point guard and Davis will be just fine as long as he can be a leader like Mavraides was during his senior campaign. The loss of Mavraides is more important as a scorer and shooter. The other loss is Kareem Maddox. The superb sixth man averaged 13.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.8 blocks during his senior season.

Who’s In:
The newcomers will have some time to adjust to life in the Ivy League. Clay Wilson is, arguably, the most talented of the newcomers. The 6-3 guard is a solid all-around player, but will likely run into trouble cracking the regular rotation as a freshman. However, there is room for him to surpass some relatively inexperienced players near the top of the depth chart at the shooting guard position. The case is the same for small forward Denton Koon. Coach Henderson brought in a couple young big men to help fill that void in the future. Brian Fabrizius and Bobby Garbade are both big, strong players who can battle in the paint.

Who to Watch:
With Douglas likely moving to the point, the Tigers need to find a new shooting guard to take over his old spot. T.J. Bray is the likely candidate. The 6-6 sophomore is not a great shooter, but he can attack the basket. Ben Hazel, another sophomore, will give Bray a run for the starting job. If one of those two can consistently knock down their jump shot this year, that should secure the gig. There are other options moving down the bench, most notably Jimmy Sherburne and Chris Clement. Those two could also be in the mix at the point guard position if Coach Henderson cannot afford to keep Davis on the ball. The wings have a little more experience at the three spot. Patrick Saunders will step back into his starting position after averaging 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds a year ago. The 6-8 senior does the dirty work for this team, but he may be asked to do a little more scoring and use his size to score around the basket instead of hoisting up so many long balls.

Final Projection:
Ian Hummer and Brendan Connolly will step back into their starting roles in the frontcourt. Hummer has emerged as the consistent interior scoring threat for the Tigers. A year ago he averaged 13.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. Now the main scoring and rebounding threat under the basket, Hummer should be in for a huge junior season. Connolly is the big man under the basket at 6-11 and 252 pounds. Most of his scoring comes from easy put backs off of offensive rebounds, but he is a nice fit in certain situations. Connolly will not play too many minutes despite being a starter, so Mack Darrow will fill the void. A better scorer than Connolly, Darrow is capable of playing either the four or five spot. Will Barrett will be an interesting player to watch this year. The lanky 6-10 forward is pretty much a small forward despite his height. He is a decent shooter and a pretty good rebounder. He will likely play more minutes at the three spot than the four, but he is certainly capable of filling in at both and the Tigers may need him to start playing a lot more minutes this year if they have any hope of getting back to the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Douglas Davis, Senior, Guard, 11.9 points per game
T.J. Bray, Sophomore, Guard, 1.5 points per game
Patrick Saunders, Senior, Forward, 5.4 points per game
Ian Hummer, Junior, Forward, 13.8 points per game
Brendan Connolly, Junior, Center, 3.2 points per game

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