Wright State Raiders
2013-2014 Overall Rank: #94
Conference Rank: #1 Horizon
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Coach Billy Donlon went ten deep in 2012-2013. No player averaged over 30 minutes per contest and each of those ten players played at least 14 minutes. It was that quality depth that propelled the Raiders to the CBI semifinals, where they lost to eventual champion Santa Clara. Nine of those ten players are back and that includes forward Cole Darling, who missed a large chunk of last season with an injury. Darling led WSU’s balanced scoring attack with 11.3 points per game and added a team high 4.6 rebounds. The senior is not going to intimidate too many opposing big men, but he gets the job done in the paint.
2012-13 Record: 23-13, 10-6
2012-13 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Billy Donlon
Coach Record: 55-46 at Wright State, 55-46 overall
Joe Bramanti, Bobo Drummond and Jacoby Roddy all opted to transfer after their freshmen campaigns. Drummond and Roddy barely saw the floor, yet Bramanti showed potential after cracking the regular rotation. He only averaged 1.6 points per game, yet there were not many shots to be had.
The departure of Bramanti, Drummond and Roddy opened up some scholarships for Coach Donlon, even if it was late in the process. The program has had plenty of recent success with late signees and that could continue with Ryan Bowie and Mark Howell. Bowie spent one season at Iowa Western Community College and will add another shooting threat to the squad. Steven Davis redshirted last season and the athletic 6-7 small forward will have plenty of time to get his feet wet. Chrishawn Hopkins will be expected to contribute as soon as he is eligible following the fall semester. At Butler in 2011-2012 the 6-1 guard averaged 9.1 points per game and that was when his shot was not falling consistently. If he finds his stroke he will be one of the best players in the Horizon League.
Who to Watch:
Besides Darling, the other eight returning regulars scored between four and nine points per contest. Coach Donlon has plenty of options depending on the situation. Reggie Arceneaux can be a big time scorer, yet does not need to be on this team. He needs to keep the turnovers down and turn into a leader. Miles Dixon only started a few games yet he proved to be an explosive scorer when attacking the basket. Kendall Griffin and Matt Vest are not the best scorers in the backcourt, but both are good passers and big perimeter defenders. Griffin has the potential to be a quality shooting threat and can use his size to finish above the rim as well. The returnees in the frontcourt are Jerran Young, JT Yoho, A.J. Pacher and Tavares Sledge. Young, a 6-6 small forward, averaged 8.8 points and 4.1 rebounds despite playing less than 20 minutes per game. Yoho is a dangerous outside shooter and knocked down 42.2 percent of his attempts from long range. Sledge may be the frontcourt player who sees the biggest boost to his numbers. The 6-9, 225 pound junior has the strength to battle on the glass and he can do plenty of scoring as well if he stays within his comfort zone around the bucket.
The offense is not often pretty, but Wright State gets the job done. They have done a decent job getting good looks at the basket and keeping the turnovers down. If Pacher and Sledge can use their size and strength to be more productive on the glass, the Raiders will not get outrebounded nearly as much as they did a year ago. With Valparaiso and Detroit expected to take a step back and a quality Oakland squad joining the conference, it should be a very tight race in the Horizon League yet again in 2013-2014. Because of their defense and experience, Wright State can come out on top of close games and they can come out on top of the conference pecking order when all is said and done.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Reggie Arceneaux, Junior, Guard, 8.9 points per game
Kendall Griffin, Junior, Guard, 6.3 points per game
Matt Vest, Senior, Guard, 5.5 points per game
Tavares Sledge, Junior, Forward, 4.1 points per game
Cole Darling, Senior, Forward, 11.3 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 62.0 (294th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.5 (19, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (138, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (113, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.7 (225, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (166, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.3 (145, 7)
Rebound Margin: -1.3 (226, 6)
Assists Per Game: 11.9 (233, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (151, 4)