2013-2014 Overall Rank: #105
Conference Rank: #1 SoCon
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Despite the loss of three starters who have helped usher Davidson into a new era, the Wildcats should again be the favorites to win the Southern Conference title. And it would be fitting that they leave the conference on top. Starting in 2014-2015, Coach Bob McKillop and company will be thoroughly tested in the Atlantic 10. But for now, following a 17-1 mark in conference play and a near victory over Marquette in the NCAA Tournament, Davidson will have one more romp in the SoCon.
2012-13 Record: 26-8, 17-1
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bob McKillop
Coach Record: 452-269 at Davidson, 452-269 overall
However, it will not be quite as easy as it seemed last season without Jake Cohen, Nik Cochran and J.P. Kuhlman. Cohen, a 6-10 forward, led the squad with 14.9 points and always did a great job stretching out the defense with his three-point shooting ability. Cochran and Kuhlman made the team tick on the perimeter. Cochran did not do much shooting, but he still was third on the team in scoring in 2012-2013. He knocked down 49.0 percent of his three-point attempts. Kuhlman was the more dynamic scoring threat. Together they dished out 6.9 assists per contest, while only committing 3.4 turnovers. Clint Mann’s senior season was cut short, but he still provided quality frontcourt depth and shot 45.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Davidson did not have much frontcourt depth last season, but they could get away with it in the SoCon. With Cohen gone, Coach McKillop will need to find some production from freshmen Joe Aase or Andrew McAuliffe. Both are 6-8, but at 225 pounds, McAuliffe has the size and strength to bang around in the paint. Besides depth in the paint, the other big need for this group is at point guard. Soon the issue will be which one will start. Brian Sullivan, a transfer from Miami (OH), had a very promising freshman campaign with the RedHawks before making the move to Davidson. He shot 44.9 percent from beyond the arc and dished out 1.3 assists. Sullivan is not a true point guard and is better suited to be a shooter off of the ball, but he can do both if needed. Incoming freshman Jack Gibbs is a true point guard and much more. He is also the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Ohio. That puts him in company with LeBron James and O.J. Mayo, just to name a couple. Gibbs is a fine scorer from anywhere on the floor and a superb drive and dish guard. If he is not starting from day one, he probably will be sometime this season. And that could push Sullivan out to the shooting guard spot where he belongs, assuming he keeps knocking down long balls like he did two years ago.
Who to Watch:
De’Mon Brooks has been the star of this team for two years now and he will make it three. Last season the 6-7 senior averaged 13.7 points and a team high 6.2 rebounds. For the most part Brooks’ offense comes in the paint, but he can have a decent jumper. It did not really show in 2012-2013, but Brooks is a threat from beyond the arc. With little other experience in the frontcourt, Chris Czerapowicz will spend more time at the power forward position. The 6-7, 200 pound wing is a strong rebounder so the Wildcats should not suffer too much on the glass. The depth up front will come from the newcomers and a handful of players who did not crack the regular rotation a season ago. Jake Belford, a 6-9 sophomore, has the most potential to earn quality minutes after showing some promise as a freshman. Whether it is McAuliffe or Belford, or both, somebody must provide depth in the frontcourt.
Tyler Kalinoski and Tom Droney are the likely starters on the wing after coming in off of the bench in 2012-2013. Kalinoski was a great offensive spark due to his prolific outside shooting. He can continue knocking down the long ball in a starting role. Droney is a big 6-6, 200 pound guard who will help out on the glass when Davidson is running a smaller lineup. He is not a great scorer, but he a fine glue guy who can pass and play solid defense. Jordan Barham was stuck behind some serious talent in the backcourt as a freshman and only averaged 5.2 minutes per game, yet he is a good scorer and could turn into one of the first guards off of the bench behind Kalinoski and Droney. The lack of size on the Wildcats can be a problem during non-conference play. For the most part it should not be much of a concern during Southern Conference play. And by conference play McAuliffe and Belford will have enough experience for Coach McKillop to use them more often anyway. That is bad news for the rest of the conference when Brooks can move to the four spot and McAuliffe and Belford can push people around in the paint.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Jack Gibbs, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Tyler Kalinoski, Junior, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Tom Droney, Senior, Guard, 4.2 points per game
Chris Czerapowicz, Senior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
De’Mon Brooks, Senior, Forward, 13.7 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.2 (44th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.1 (55, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.2 (44, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.9 (85, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (51, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.9 (56, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 79.5 (1, 1)
Rebound Margin: 2.0 (114, 3)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (98, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.9 (16, 1)