#109 La Salle Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

La Salle Explorers

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #109
Conference Rank: #8 Atlantic 10

La Salle Team Page#109 La Salle Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy La Salle Basketball Tickets

La Salle has been in rebuilding mode the last couple of seasons and this year may be more of the same. The Explorers limped to a 17-16 record in 2014-2015 and finished below .500 in conference play. Consistency was an issue and as soon as there was a big win over a good conference foe, there was a bad loss. There are just two seniors on the roster and neither figure to play a big role this season, so better days are still ahead for Dr. John Giannini and company. But, for now, reaching any postseason tournament would be a good stepping stone for bigger and better things in a year or two. Jordan Price figures to be a big part of any success La Salle has this season. In his first season with the Explorers after transferring from Auburn, Price led the team with 17.2 points per game. His outside shooting was a bit inconsistent, but that did not stop the 6-5 junior guard from shooting. Price can certainly take over a game when he needs to, but the hope is that the rest of the team is ready to help more in the scoring department.

2014-15 Record: 17-16, 8-10
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Dr. John Giannini
Coach Record: 175-170 at La Salle, 300-281 overall

Who’s Out:
There are some key pieces to replace though, including the only other double digit scorer on last year’s team. Jerrell Wright averaged 12.1 points per game during his senior season and added 6.5 rebounds per contest. He was not the only interior scoring threat last year and Steve Zack is also gone. Zack averaged 8.6 points and a team high 9.2 rebounds. Those are two major interior threats that need to be replaced. Guard Khalid Lewis has transferred after averaging 6.0 points per game and D.J. Peterson is gone after again struggling to find his shot. Losing the backcourt depth, especially with Lewis, is a concern, but the lack of frontcourt experience and depth is going to be a huge issue throughout this season.

Who’s In:
The frontcourt will add Yevgen Sakhniuk. He had to sit out last season and use up a year of eligibility after an NCAA ruling, but he is a talented player who will be asked to do a lot to help replace Wright and Zack. The Kiev native has plenty of experience with the Ukrainian youth national teams and is capable of stepping right into the starting lineup. The only other newcomer is incoming freshman Karl Harris. The athletic shooting guard enters into a crowded backcourt, so the Hazel Crest, Illinois product should have some time to develop his overall game.

Who to Watch:
Cleon Roberts, Amar Stukes and Johnnie Shuler will join Price in the backcourt rotation. Roberts is mostly an outside shooter, but he is also 6-6 and that is a big bonus for a team that is lacking frontcourt options. He is actually the third tallest eligible player on the roster. Stukes started 15 games during his freshman campaign, averaging 5.3 points and 1.3 assists. He is still a work in progress, yet now has that much needed experience. La Salle will not need him to score too much, but an improved jumper would make him much more dangerous. Shuler did not see too much playing time as a freshman, averaging just 6.2 minutes per game in 23 contests, but he is full of potential and started to show some of that during the team’s summer trip to the Czech Republic.

Final Projection:
Another player who showed potential during the summer trip was sophomore center Tony Washington. And nobody could be more important for the Explorers this season than Washington. At 6-10 and 220 pounds, he is easily the biggest player on the team and Dr. Giannini will need him to be a very productive player from day one. Washington played a grand total of 37 minutes as a freshman and has yet to prove anything at this level. The pressure is on him to be effective and efficient on both ends of the floor. Rohan Brown will likely see more time in the frontcourt. Listed as a 6-6, 215 pound wing, Brown will need to play more than 7.5 minutes per game as a backup forward in 2015-2016 if La Salle is going to take that step back towards the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Amar Stukes, Sophomore, Guard, 5.3 points per game
Jordan Price, Junior, Guard, 17.2 points per game
Cleon Roberts, Junior, Guard, 8.8 points per game
Yevgen Sakhniuk, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
Tony Washington, Sophomore, Center, 0.5 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.2 (280th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.3 (62, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.0 (251, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.1 (86, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.0 (294, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.1 (265, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.4 (164, 5)
Rebound Margin: -0.5 (214, 10)
Assists Per Game: 12.1 (212, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (221, 9)


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