#113 Davidson Men's Basketball Preview

Davidson Wildcats

Overall Rank: #113
Conference Rank: #1 Southern

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2010-11: 18-15, 10-8
2010-11 postseason: CBI
Coach: Bob McKillop (401-253 at Davidson, 401-253 overall)

It took some time for Davidson to pull it together, but by the end of the year the Wildcats were a very dangerous team. Seven of their top eight scorers were underclassmen, so it is understandable that Davidson was a little slow out of the gates. However, this team won nine of their last ten regular season games and was invited to the CBI. In late January this was an 8-12 team with very little chance to make any postseason tournament. Coach Bob McKillop is one of the best in the business for a reason. The frontcourt duo of Jake Cohen and Clint Mann deserve a lot of credit for keeping this team moving in the right direction. Cohen, a 6-10, 220 pound junior, had a great campaign last year, averaging 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. He can even step outside and occasionally hit the long ball. Mann is not nearly as effective of a scorer, but he can put up some solid numbers and, like Cohen, stretch out the defense with his mid-range shooting ability.

Who’s Out:
Brendan McKillop is the big loss. The coach’s son was the most prolific shooter on the team last year, knocking down 2.7 per contest. Just about all of McKillop’s shots came from beyond the arc, but he did it quite well. The Wildcats will look for another shooter to replace McKillop’s production. Jordan Downing is no longer with the team after averaging less than ten minutes per game last season. Ben Allison was a quality big man who was good for about ten minutes a game and a rebound or two.

Who’s In:
Ali Mackay and Tyler Kalinoski will look to step into a starting role left behind by the younger McKillop. The elder McKillop usually likes to run a three guard offense, so Ali Mackay will likely be relegated to the bench for now. The 6-11, 192 pound forward is a lanky Scotland native who can use his size to block some shots and grab some rebounds. At this level, he will need to add some more strength before he reaches his full potential. Tyler Kalinoski is the shooter this team is looking for. He is much like McKillop in the fact that he is a great catch and shoot player. His inexperience may not get him a starting job right away, but Kalinoski could emerge as a great shooter off of the bench during his freshman campaign.

Who to Watch:
Nik Cochran is the most likely candidate to step into a starting role. The 6-3 junior is a decent outside shooter, but will also use his speed and size to attack the basket. He would team up nicely with J.P. Kuhlman and Tom Droney. Kuhlman is the star of the team after averaging 12.8 points during his sophomore campaign. The 6-4 junior is a great passer and if he can hit the long ball more consistently, Davidson has found their next superstar. Droney, a 6-6 sophomore, did not do too much scoring during his freshman campaign, but he did everything else. He is a fine passer and will use his size to be a force on the glass. He is certainly capable of scoring more than 4.6 points per game, but his shot was just not falling during his first year at Davidson. Will Reigel and Chris Czerapowicz will add some quality depth on the perimeter. Czerapowicz is a 6-7 wing who has some international experience playing for Sweden. He could be a player who goes from playing under ten minutes per game to scoring more than ten points per game.

Final Projection:
The absence of Allison hurts the frontcourt depth a little bit, but with so many big wing players, the Wildcats have the luxury of mixing things up a little bit if they need to do so. However, De’Mon Brooks and Frank Ben-Eze, along with Mackay, should be able to handle backup duties to Cohen and Mann. Brooks had a great freshman campaign and averaged 9.0 points and 5.1 rebounds in less than 19 minutes per game. If this team wants to play big, Brooks could easily step into a starting role. Even if he remains on the bench for now, he can handle a majority of the minutes when Cohen or Mann need a break. This is still a young team, but if the end of last season is any indication, they will be the team to beat in the Southern Conference. They may not make an Elite Eight again, but if they make it to the NCAA Tournament this season, the expectations will be extremely high in 2012-2013.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Tom Droney, Sophomore, Guard, 4.6 points per game
Nik Cochran, Junior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
J.P. Kuhlman, Junior, Guard, 12.8 points per game
Clint Mann, Junior, Forward, 7.4 points per game
Jake Cohen, Junior, Forward, 12.2 points per game

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