Charleston Southern Buccaneers
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #135
Conference Rank: #1 Big South
Charleston Southern Team Page
It has been a long, long time since Charleston Southern has been among the favorites to win the Big South. Coach Barclay Radebaugh was brought in prior to the the 2005 season and it was not until last season that the Buccaneers had a winning record, either overall or in conference play. CSU finally broke through last season, garnering 19 wins, including a third place finish in the Big South. Point guard Saah Nimley will need to continue to develop his game if Charleston Southern is going to make their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1997. Nimley had a great freshman campaign, averaging 13.5 points and 3.9 assists. He needs to keep the turnovers down and not force as many outside shots, but those were generally freshman mistakes. This time around Nimley should be more efficient.
2011-12 Record: 19-12, 11-7
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Barclay Radebaugh
Coach Record: 88-123 at Charleston Southern, 88-123 overall
Kelvin Martin is the only loss, but he is a big loss. Martin led the team with 15.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. His absence leaves a lot of places where things could go wrong for the Buccaneers. What happens if this team does not find another interior scorer? The rest of the team pretty much shot three-pointers last year and they got open looks because of Martin in the paint. Can anybody else rebound nearly as effectively as Martin? And the biggest problem might be on defense. Martin was a very good defensive big man and no other returning player is a shot blocking threat whatsoever.
Coach Radebaugh hopes junior college transfer Allie Fullah can fill in some of those roles. At 6-8 and 235 pounds with a 7-2 wingspan, Fullah has all the tools to make a huge impact on the defensive end. He can also keep up with the rest of the team and get up and down the floor. That is extremely important if Fullah can emerge as an interior scoring threat. He was not much of a scorer during his junior college days, but he could at least be a threat to score inside. The lone incoming freshman is Malcolm Bernard. The 6-5 combo guard has some work to do to make the regular rotation, but his size is something Charleston Southern could use on the perimeter. If he can keep the freshmen mistakes to a minimum, Bernard could find a spot as a backup point guard or on the wing.
Who to Watch:
The focus will be off of the frontcourt this year and onto the shooters. Wings Arlon Harper and Mathiang Muo were easily the best outside shooters on the team last season; both shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc. Muo, a 6-5 senior, is mostly a shooter who will help out on the glass a bit as well, but Harper is a much more dynamic scorer. Harper, at 6-1 and 170 pounds, is not big, yet he finds a way to score around the basket in addition to his impressive outside shooting. Adding some strength to his slight frame heading into his sophomore season will certainly be helpful. The depth on the perimeter is quite impressive too. Jeremy Sexton can add a calming effect to the offense. The senior has plenty of experience and will likely be Nimley’s primary backup at the point. However, Sexton is also a fine shooter off of the bench and can put up some points in a hurry. Sheldon Strickland and Chris Grier are a pair of juniors who gave way to the freshmen duo of Nimley and Harper last season. Like most players on the Bucaneers, they can hit the long ball, but Grier is also a pretty good rebounder for a 6-3 guard and Strickland can handle the ball.
The frontcourt was a little light on players last year and the absence of Martin will only make things worse to start off the year. Cedrick Bowen, a 6-5 sophomore, started most of the games last season beside Martin. He only averaged 14.0 minutes per game, but Bowen has the potential to be an effective interior scorer and a scrappy rebounder. Bowen may not put up big numbers, but he can do the dirty work in the paint. That was a nice fit with Martin, but it remains to be seen what happens now that Martin is gone. Paul Gombwer, a 6-6 sophomore, is the bigger and stronger frontcourt player. He has a nice mid-range jumper and does his job on the glass as well, ranking second on the team with 5.6 rebounds as a freshman. Gombwer and Fullah will not replace Martin entirely, but this is still a team that can get up and down the floor and should have enough presence in the paint to open up the shooters. If that happens, Charleston Southern will finally be looking down the standings at perennial conference powers like UNC-Asheville and Winthrop.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Saah Nimley, Sophomore, Guard, 13.5 points per game
Arlon Harper, Sophomore, Guard, 12.5 points per game
Mathiang Muo, Senior, Forward, 9.8 points per game
Cedrick Bowen, Sophomore, Forward, 4.3 points per game
Allie Fullah, Junior, Forward, DNP last season