2012-2013 Overall Rank: #113
Conference Rank: #2 Southern
Charleston Team Page
Coach Bobby Cremins led Charleston to another relatively successful season before retiring. On the prowl for a new coach, the Cougars went out and nabbed former Tulsa head man Doug Wojcik. Coach Wojcik, a former assistant under Tom Izzo, had some overall success at Tulsa, but the team never really took the next step under his tutelage. At Charleston he steps into a good situation where he has the talent to have success right away. And the Cougar faithful expect nothing less.
2011-12 Record: 19-12, 10-8
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Doug Wojcik
Coach Record: First year at Charleston, 140-92 overall
But success will be a little tougher without versatile forward Antwaine Wiggins. Wiggins led the Cougars with 15.9 points and added 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. His ability to get to the basket with his 6-7 frame or shoot over smaller defenders will be tough to replace. Jordan Scott was a part-time starter last season. He only averaged 14.8 minutes per game and 3.8 points per contest, but he was a solid defender and a capable outside shooter. The only other loss from last year’s team is forward James Carlton, who provided limited frontcourt depth.
The absence of Wiggins has left a gap on the wing. Wiggins was a great small forward because of his size and shooting ability. This three man recruiting class certainly attempts to address that need. Canyon Barry, Theo Johnson and Anthony Thomas are all wings who will battle for playing time right away. Thomas, a 6-7 junior college transfer, is the most experienced option. He is also the biggest and plays a lot like Wiggins. He can shoot and he can get to the basket. With the new found depth in the frontcourt, Thomas will play at the three spot, just as Wiggins did. However, he can play the four when needed. The return of Willis Hall, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury, makes things a little more complicated. Charleston could play Hall at the three spot. At 6-6 and 235 pounds he is more of an undersized power forward who can stretch out the defense with his shooting ability. Two years ago he averaged 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and started all 37 contests. It will be difficult to not put Hall back in the starting lineup, but defensively he may not be able to play the three against most teams in the Southern Conference.
Who to Watch:
Assuming Trent Wiedeman and Adjehi Baru hold onto their starting jobs up front, the depth in the paint will be superb. Wiedeman had a huge junior year, tallying 12.1 points and 8.7 rebounds. He is mostly a scoring threat in the paint, but he can step out and hit the mid-range jumper. The big man under the basket is Baru. The 6-9, 225 pound sophomore is still gaining strength and working on his overall game, but he was a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school and did not disappoint during his freshman campaign. Baru is already a pretty solid post scorer after averaging 7.8 points per game, but he will get even better with time. That is bad news for the rest of the Southern Conference. Matt Sundberg is another one of those players who can play at the three or four spot. At 6-8, he has plenty of size. For the most part Sundberg will come into the game and knock down some three-pointers and add some size to the floor.
The depth on the perimeter will be more of an issue. Andrew Lawrence is back after averaging 13.0 points and 5.5 assists during the 2011-2012 campaign. The 6-1 London native had a breakout junior campaign and should be in for a big senior season. Not only will he need to pick up some of the scoring slack with his shooting ability, but he will be the leader on the floor. Nori Johnson, a 6-5 wing, is a great defender and will need to do a little more scoring this year. Anthony Stitt is a capable backup point guard who can also spend plenty of time off the ball and do some scoring. A left hand injury ended his freshman campaign early, but Stitt did show plenty of potential. This is a team that really does not have any true shooting guards. They have plenty of players who can shoot, but they are either wings or point guards. That should actually play to Coach Wojcik’s advantage as he can either play big or play a little smaller and put Stitt on the floor with Lawrence at the same time. No matter who plays where, Charleston has a talented roster and will be right in the mix, yet again, for a Southern Conference title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Andrew Lawrence, Senior, Guard, 13.0 points per game
Nori Johnson, Junior, Guard, 6.0 points per game
Willis Hall, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Trent Wiedeman, Junior, Forward, 12.1 points per game
Adjehi Baru, Sophomore, Center, 7.8 points per game