2012-2013 Overall Rank: #53
Conference Rank: #1 Southern
Davidson Team Page
Remember the 2008 NCAA Tournament when Davidson knocked off Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin to reach the Elite Eight? Then they gave eventual national champion Kansas a run for their money with a trip to the Final Four on the line. This group is just as good and the expectations are pretty much the same. With forwards De’Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen leading the way, Coach Bob McKillop has a ton of experience and talent on this roster. Brooks, a 6-7 junior, led Davidson with 15.7 points and 6.2 rebounds last season. He is an efficient scorer in the paint, but is not opposed to stepping out and shooting some long balls as well. However, it is Cohen who is the dynamic inside-outside threat. At 6-10 and 235 pounds, Cohen can bang in the paint with anybody in the Southern Conference. But Cohen is also a fine shooter. Last year he hit 36.6 percent of his 2.5 three-point attempts per game and connected on 87.6 percent of his free-throw attempts. For a big man who gets fouled a lot, that free-throw shooting is much more important than it sounds. Despite Cohen’s ability to hang out on the perimeter offensively, he does his job on the defensive end and is Davidson’s biggest shot blocking threat.
2011-12 Record: 25-8, 16-2
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bob McKillop
Coach Record: 426-261 at Davidson, 426-261 overall
Every player who averaged over seven minutes per game last year is back. But the frontcourt depth does take a bit of a hit with the departure of Frank Ben-Eze and Will Reigel. Those two did not have to play too much, but they were quality, experienced big men who could at least come in and eat up some fouls and grab some rebounds. In Ben-Eze’s case, the Wildcats also lose a decent shot blocking threat.
With the eight players back, not to mention a few emerging players who did not crack the regular rotation a year ago, Coach McKillop will not ask for much from his freshmen. Forward Jake Belford will add himself to the mix in the effort to replace Ben-Eze and Reigel, while guard Jordan Barham has the potential to see some playing time this year if he is ready to play some solid defense.
Who to Watch:
As good as Brooks and Cohen are, the backcourt could be the strength of this team. Nik Cochran and JP Kuhlman started every game last year and are expected to do the same during their senior seasons. Cochran is the point guard, but he is also a great all-around scorer. He can shoot and attack the basket with ease and that versatility makes him extremely tough to defend. Kuhlman can pretty much do everything Cochran does. He is a fine secondary ballhandler and the Wildcats virtually have two point guards on the floor most of the time. Kuhlman will use his 6-4 size to attack the basket and do plenty of work on the glass. Tom Droney and Chris Czerapowicz both started on the wing beside Kuhlman last season. Droney is not a scorer, but he is a great glue guy. His numbers do not do him justice, but it is also easy to see where his playing time could decrease this season. At 6-7, Czerapowicz is a dynamic guard creating yet another matchup nightmare for the opposition. Czerapowicz averaged 10.1 points per game during his sophomore season, but much of that came from beyond the arc. Having a shooter off of the bench is great, but Czerapowicz will need to use his size more often to get to the basket if he wants to stick to a starting role. Either way, he is a great asset for Davidson and can provide an offensive spark and help out in the rebounding department. Tyler Kalinoski cracked the regular rotation as a freshman and that is no easy task. His shooting was a bit inconsistent, but he is a fine talent who could be in for a breakout year if he can find the minutes. The same can be said for Mason Archie II. Archie II barely saw the floor as a freshman, but he is a lanky 6-4 wing who plays solid defense and just needs the opportunity to play to realize his potential. That may take another year until the minutes are available, but do not be surprised if players like Archie II or Kalinoski see a drastic increase in playing time as sophomores at the expense of some more experienced players.
The frontcourt depth is really the only concern, but Ben-Eze and Reigel barely played last year anyway. And Davidson does have options. Clint Mann will see a bulk of the minutes at the power forward spot off of the bench. After averaging 16.2 minutes per game last year, Mann is more than capable of seeing an increase in playing time during his senior season. The younger options to keep an eye on are sophomores Ali Mackay and Youssef Mejri. Mackay, at 6-11 and 204 pounds, is the player with the size and athleticism to be a defensive force in the paint and that is all the Wildcats need from their frontcourt depth. Another SoCon title is in the cards and Davidson is a team that deserves a long look when filling out your bracket come March.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Nik Cochran, Senior, Guard, 10.9 points per game
JP Kuhlman, Senior, Guard, 10.8 points per game
Chris Czerapowicz, Junior, Guard, 10.1 points per game
De’Mon Brooks, Junior, Forward, 15.7 points per game
Jake Cohen, Senior, Forward, 14.3 points per game