#112 Richmond Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Richmond Spiders
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #112
Conference Rank: #7 Atlantic 10
Once again Richmond failed to live up to expectations. The Spiders finished the 2015-2016 campaign with a .500 record overall and a 7-11 mark in Atlantic 10 play. With three starters gone, there is reason to believe this year could be even worse, but the Spiders do return two big time scorers who are more than ready to lead the way. T.J. Cline, a 6-9, 230 pound center averaged 18.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists as a junior and he is ready for another big year. So is ShawnDre’ Jones, who averaged 14.7 points and 3.6 assists in 2015-2016. With those two seniors leading the way and knocking down three-pointers, the Spiders can score a lot of points. Coach Chris Mooney just needs to fill in the spots around them.
2015-16 Record: 16-16, 7-11
2015-16 Postseason: none
Coach: Chris Mooney
Coach Record: 230-162 at Richmond, 245-201 overall
Who’s Out:
Forward Terry Allen had a superb senior season. He averaged 17.3 points and a team high 7.7 rebounds and formed a great frontcourt duo with Cline. It was Allen who was tough on the glass and a force in the paint on both ends of the floor. Deion Taylor did the hard work in the paint too and started 26 games last season. He was never a scoring threat, but Taylor averaged 3.4 rebounds and led the team with 20 blocks. Trey Davis took a pretty big step back in the scoring department during his senior year, but he was still a leader on the floor. Little used John Moran and KoVien Dominaus also will not be suiting up for the Spiders this season.
Who’s In:
De’Monte Buckingham highlights the group of three incoming freshmen. The versatile 6-4 guard spent his prep career as a shooting guard, but he can handle the ball and should do some of that for the Spiders this season. But with his size, he could spend some time at the small forward spot too. Regardless of where he plays, Buckingham will spend a lot of time on the floor as a freshman. Nick Sherod will look to find some playing time off of the bench. Sherod, another local product, can boost the offense with his shooting ability. The frontcourt adds incoming freshman Grant Golden and graduate transfer Kwesi Abakah. Like most big men Coach Mooney recruits, Golden can step outside and shoot the ball, but he is pretty tough in the paint too. There could be a few minutes for Golden to play as a freshman, but it will depend on his development and if he is really ready to go as a freshman. Abakah will be ready. However, he is not a scorer or a shooter. But he did spend a few seasons at Northeastern and will be able to eat up a few minutes and hit the glass.
Who to Watch:
Besides Cline and Jones, Khwan Fore and Marshall Wood are the only other returning players who averaged over eight minutes per game. Wood, a 6-8 senior, is basically a big wing who has enough toughness to play the four spot against the right competition. On a team full of shooters, it was Wood who led the team in three-point shooting percentage with 40.3 percent. Wood may be asked to help out on the glass more after averaging 3.9 rebounds per game, but as long as he is shooting that effectively, he will be a key starter for the Spiders. Fore will take over more ball handling duties this year after averaging 6.5 points and 1.4 assists as a freshman. Fore is a decent scorer when he needs to be and this year there will be some shots to go around.
Final Projection:
As usual, Richmond is going to struggle on the glass because of how they play, but this year could be even worse than usual in that regard. Players like Abakah, Golden and Wood have to be prepared to battle in the paint and help replace the rebounding lost with Allen. And the backcourt can do their part too. The other potential issue here is experience and depth. Four players are back who have plenty of experience. The freshmen are good and Abakah can eat up a few minutes, but it remains to be seen if this team can go eight or nine deep without a huge drop off in production. Most of that will depend on the freshmen, but there could be room for sophomores Julius Johnson, Jesse Pistokache and Paul Friendshuh if they are capable of building off freshmen campaigns in which they saw very little playing time. In the end, Coach Mooney should be able to find four or five players who can join Cline, Fore, Jones and Wood in the regular rotation. This team may not be better without Allen, but they should not be much worse either. And if a few things go right, Richmond has the potential to pull off a few surprises in the Atlantic 10.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Khwan Fore, Sophomore, 6.5 points per game
ShawnDre’ Jones, Senior, Guard, 14.7 points per game
De’Monte Buckingham, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Marshall Wood, Senior, Forward, 8.6 points per game
T.J. Cline, Senior, Center, 18.3 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.6 (86th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.8 (227, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.2 (18, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.0 (263, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (121, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.6 (128, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.1 (302, 14)
Rebound Margin: -5.2 (313, 13)
Assists Per Game: 16.6 (18, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.2 (15, 3)