#60 Detroit Men's Basketball Preview

Detroit Titans

Overall Rank: #60
Conference Rank: #3 Horizon
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2010-11: 17-16, 10-8
2010-11 postseason: none
Coach: Ray McCallum (44-53 at Detroit, 214-202 overall)

Coach Ray McCallum has a very experienced and talented team on his hands. He had a slightly less, but equally talented squad in 2010-2011 too, but went just 17-16 overall. This was a team that should have been battling for the top spot in the conference. The problem was, in general, with shot selection. Eli Holman, a 6-10, 255 pound senior, who will be playing in the NBA next year, did not get nearly as many touches as he should. Holman averaged 11.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, but his numbers should be better. It is not his fault. He does a superb job staying out of foul trouble and on the floor and shot nearly 61 percent from the floor. Having a balanced offense is nice, but this is not a balanced roster and the offense has to go through Holman more often.

Who’s Out:
With everybody returning, there are no excuses this year. The Titans have the talent and experience to win the Horizon League and knock Butler off their pedestal. There is a pretty good chance that the starting five will all be gone next season and this will be it for a little while. That means the backcourt has to feed Holman and let him do his thing.

Who’s In:
Another reason why this team was just average last season was depth, or a lack of it. Point guard P.J. Boutte is a fine passer who should see a few minutes per game as a backup. If he can effectively run the offense and wait for Holman, he may see a little more playing time, but it is hard to imagine who would find the bench when Boutte comes into the game. The only other newcomer is junior college transfer Doug Anderson. The 6-6 forward will be able to add a little more depth to the frontcourt rotation and that is never a bad thing. He lacks the size to play the five spot, but the need for depth exists at the three and four spots as well and that is where Anderson belongs.

Who to Watch:
Coach’s son Ray McCallum, Jr. is the obvious player to watch. McCallum, the elder and the younger, prefer to run and that has been part of the issue with getting Holman touches. However, McCallum was just a freshman last season and he is getting wiser. If the fast break is there he can take it. If not, run the offense through Holman. McCallum is a superb player who could have gone just about anywhere, but opted to play for his father at Detroit. He did not disappoint as a freshman, averaging 13.5 points and 4.9 assists per contest. He will be joined in the backcourt again by Chase Simon. Simon likes to shoot and took over two more shots per game than McCallum and four more than Holman. Simon is a fine scorer and great rebounding wing and a good defender, but this team would be better off if he reeled in his shooting when necessary and let McCallum and Holman take the lead. Chris Blake and Jason Calliste will battle for the other starting job on the wing. Both earned starts last season and both could be fine sixth men as well. Blake will likely get the starting nod since he is a more dynamic scorer, while Calliste would make for a great shooter off of the bench. The backcourt has plenty of depth with Donavan Foster returning to battle with Boutte for backup point guard minutes.

Final Projection:
The frontcourt is not just Holman either and that is what makes this team so dangerous. Nick Minnerath is an experienced senior who can step outside and hit the long ball and do the dirty work in the paint. Like the rest of the starters, he averaged double digit scoring last season. LaMarcus Lowe is the often forgotten piece of the puzzle. Lowe is a superb shot blocker and a pretty good rebounder too. He will not put up a ton of points, but that is not what this team needs…they have six guys who are already chomping at the bit to shoot. Coach McCallum may want to change his game plan a little bit to slow things down and make sure Holman gets his touches. However, this team did not slow down last year when depth was an issue, so it is unlikely they will this season when there is more depth and experience. That leaves it up to the experience part of the equation to run the offense smartly and efficiently. If they do, this is a team that can make a run in the NCAA Tournament. If not, they will still be good, very good, but falter behind a talented group of teams in the Horizon League.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Ray McCallum, Sophomore, Guard, 13.5 points per game
Chris Blake, Senior, Guard, 10.9 points per game
Chase Simon, Senior, Guard, 13.5 points per game
Nick Minnerath, Senior, Forward, 11.2 points per game
Eli Holman, Senior, Center, 11.8 points per game

Madness 2012 NBA Draft Rankings:
#44 Ray McCallum
#79 Eli Holman

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