Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs 2010 NCAA Mens Basketball Preview

By Joel Welser


Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs

Big South Conference


2009-10: 8-21, 5-13

2009-10 postseason: none

Coach: Chris Holtmann (First year at Gardner-Webb, 0-0 overall)


Gardner-Webb bottomed out last season going 8-21 overall. That cost Rick Scruggs his job after heading the Runnin’ Bulldogs program for 15 years. GWU ended up hiring Chris Holtmann, who was an assistant at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Ohio. Coach Holtmann is not stepping into a good situation. This is not a team that was young last season and is looking up. In fact, it is pretty much the exact opposite and Coach Holtmann has a lot of rebuilding to do.


Key Losses: G Jason Dawson, G Grayson Flittner, G C.J. Hailey, G Brandon Jackson, C Auryn MacMillan, G Anton Silver


Key Newcomers:

Luke Davis is the best of the incoming freshman. Davis is a talented point guard who could end up starting sooner rather than later. Jay Royster and Antar Johnson will add some more depth on the perimeter, but it is junior college transfer Laron Buggs who could make the biggest impact this season. On a team that generally likes to play small, Buggs could find his way into the starting lineup. Buggs is a great scorer from everywhere on the floor and he may be too talented to leave on the bench. The frontcourt needs some bodies and freshmen Santoine Butler and Michael Byron will have to do.



Brian McNair started last year at the point, but eventually became a roleplayer off of the bench. McNair may find himself in the same role this time around with Davis breathing down his neck. However, McNair was just a freshman last season and he certainly has room to grow. Blaming him too much for starting right from the get go and struggling as a freshman in November against a tough schedule would be a little rough. Jonathan Moore is the returning starter of the backcourt. He is a decent all-around scorer who can hit the long ball and attack the basket. After averaging 10.0 points per game last season, Moore will be the go-to-scorer for GWU. David Brown is a decent perimeter player who can be a good scoring option off of the bench.



Joshua Henley is undersized for a power forward…to say the least. Yet, the 6-3 junior easily led the Bulldogs with 7.3 rebounds per contest. His lack of size is an issue in the scoring department since Henley is not a shooter, but he will occasionally score a few points off of offensive boards. If he can gain some strength and become a bigger scorer in the paint, or out of the paint, the GWU frontcourt will be in better shape than they appear. Stefon Johnson will likely start at the five spot, but he needs to get better on the glass if he expects to replace the production left behind by Auryn MacMillan. MacMillan rarely put up big numbers, but he was a decent interior scorer and a solid rebounder and shot blocker. With him on the floor it allowed the Running’ Bulldogs to play smaller yet not get completely dominated in the paint. Johnson may not be able to provide the same thing this season.


Who to Watch:

If Johnson cannot do the job consistently, Luke Engelken and Keith Manley, along with the newcomers, will have to pick up the slack. Engelken is an experienced senior, but he is probably not going to break out and have a great season this year. Manley is undersized to play the five, but he can give Gardner-Webb some depth up front. He barely played as a freshman, but did do a solid job when given the opportunity.


Final Projection:

This is a team that has a lot of rebuilding to do. Last year may have been rock bottom, but this year could actually be slightly worse…which is pretty bad. The good news is Coach Holtmann has some quality underclassmen to work with and in a year or two Gardner-Webb will crawl out of the Big South basement.


Projected Post-season Tournament: none


Projected Starting Five:

Brian McNair, Sophomore, Guard, 2.8 ppg

Laron Buggs, Junior, Guard, DNP last season

Jonathan Moore, Senior, Guard, 10.0 ppg

Joshua Henley, Junior, Forward, 4.8 ppg

Stefon Johnson, Sophomore, Forward, 4.7 ppg