Old Dominion Monarchs
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #61
Conference Rank: #2 Colonial
Old Dominion Team Page
Old Dominion is headed out of the CAA and moving to Conference USA. That move will be good for the basketball program, even though it is a football move. The Monarchs have built a solid program and should be very competitive in their new conference. But, for now, the Monarchs are not eligible for the CAA Tournament and thus cannot earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. That puts a damper on the season, but it does not put Coach Blaine Taylor and company out of the postseason picture. Picking up an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament is feasible, but some newcomers will have to step up in a hurry.
2011-12 Record: 22-14, 13-5
2011-12 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Blaine Taylor
Coach Record: 237-124 at Old Dominion, 378-190 overall
The Monarchs have to replace their top three scorers from a year ago and they may struggle early in the year because of that. And with no shot at the conference tournament, this team does not have the luxury of losing games early in the 2012-2013 campaign. Kent Bazemore stepped up his game during his senior year, averaging 15.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals. Bazemore did it all for ODU. Trian Iliadis was not the most consistent shooter, but he was always a threat to score and played solid defense. Chris Cooper had a superb senior season, averaging 10.5 points and 10.1 rebounds. Finding another player who can be that effective on the glass will not be easy. Marquel De Lancy was never a great scorer, but he earned 30 starts last season at the point. Fellow guard Breon Key is also gone after averaging less than ten minutes per game during the 2011-2012 campaign.
How successful ODU is this season will depend largely on the play of a couple newcomers. DeShawn Painter, a transfer from North Carolina State, is eligible to play immediately. For a team that desperately needs to replace Cooper in the paint, they found themselves a very good option in Painter. At 6-9 and 235 pounds, Painter has the size and strength to battle in the paint. For the Wolfpack last season, Painter started seven games and appeared in all 37. He averaged 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, but expect those numbers to increase drastically at ODU since he will be playing more minutes and not going up against bigger and stronger post players every game. The other key newcomer is just a freshman. Point guard Keenan Palmore is a good player who can run an offense, but he will have to do it from day one. That is asking a lot from a freshman. Fellow freshman Ambrose Mosley will be asked to back up Palmore at the point. Aaron Bacote and Deion Clark will look to add depth on the perimeter. The frontcourt adds Ekene Anachebe and Stuart McEwen, but those two will take a backseat to Painter and the returning players for now.
Who to Watch:
With the addition of Painter, the ODU frontcourt should be in good shape. Nick Wright had a breakout junior campaign and averaged 8.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. He is more than capable of picking up some of the slack left behind by Cooper. If Painter picks up that slack instead, Wright can still do the dirty work and stretch out the defense with his outside shooting ability. Richard Ross and Jason Pimental are both coming off of promising freshmen campaigns. Ross earned 13 starts in 2011-2012 and is a good athlete who can come in off of the bench, block some shots and grab a few rebounds. Pimental is a more traditional back to the basket post player, but he still needs to add strength and a post move or two before he will be an offensive threat. Junior Anton Larsen rarely saw the floor last season, but he may need to play more minutes at the five if Painter or the newcomers are not ready to go.
The backcourt may be without Bazemore, Iliadis and De Lancey, but they do not lack scorers on the perimeter. The new stars will be Dimitri Batten and Donte Hill. Batten, a 6-3 sophomore, showed a lot of promise last season. He started ten games and shot 40.4 percent from beyond the arc. With more playing time, Batten has the potential to emerge as a consistent double digit scorer. At the least, Batten should be a great shooter. Yet, Batten may be asked to spend some time with the ball in his hands depending on the development of Palmore. Batten is not a point guard, yet his year of experience in Coach Taylor’s system may make him the returning point guard option if all does not go well with the freshmen. Donte Hill, a 6-4 wing, will be starting beside Batten. Hill is a more dynamic scorer who can knock down the long ball and attack the basket. Hill is also a fine defender and a solid rebounder from the wing. During the Monarchs offseason trip to Greece, Hill started to take over a leadership role on the perimeter. He also passed very well and could bring the ball up the floor in a pinch. And the play at the point guard position will be what this season comes down to for ODU. They have scorers all over the floor and plenty of size and depth in the paint. Somebody just has to get those guys the ball.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Keenan Palmore, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Dimitri Baten, Sophomore, Guard, 8.0 points per game
Donte Hill, Junior, Guard, 7.8 points per game
Nick Wright, Senior, Forward, 8.4 points per game
DeShawn Painter, Senior, Center, DNP last season