#141 Cal Poly Men's Basketball Preview

Cal Poly Mustangs

Overall Rank: #141
Conference Rank: #2 Big West
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2010-11: 15-15, 10-6
2010-11 postseason: none
Coach: Joe Callero (27-34 at Cal Poly, 166-164 overall)

Coach Joe Callero is building a good thing at Cal Poly. During his second season with the Mustangs, Coach Callero led the squad to a second place finish in the Big West. With four starters returning, second place looks like a very distinct possibility again in 2011-2012. Much will depend on the leadership of the frontcourt. David Hanson, a 6-5 forward, had a superb junior season, averaging 15.2 points and connecting on 2.4 three-pointers per game. But Hanson does not just hang out on the perimeter and will play at the four spot and get in there and fight for rebounds. Will Donahue is the traditional big man. The 6-8 senior center has developed into a fine interior scorer and a great rebounder. There is not much size on this team and just like last year Jordan Lewis, a wide-bodied 6-5 senior, will be asked to do some dirty work in the paint.

Who’s Out:
A few players are gone who played very little in 2010-2011, so the only departure that will have a big effect on Cal Poly in 2011-2012 is that of Shawn Lewis. Lewis did everything for the Mustangs, tallying 15.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He was not a great shooter, which never stopped him from shooting, but Lewis did so many things for the Mustangs and it will take a handful of players to replace his production.

Who’s In:
The newcomers will help replace Lewis’ production, but a couple of them are not really new at all. Kyle Odister redshirted last year after suffering an injury, but he had a great year in 2009-2010. During that season Odister averaged 7.8 points per game and connected on an impressive 45.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. He is a little undersized and can have trouble attacking the basket, but Odister is a scorer and a shooter. Will Taylor, a 6-7 forward, will add some much needed depth to the frontcourt. As a junior in 2009-2010, he started 19 games and averaged 4.9 points and 5.0 rebounds. He may not turn into a great scorer, but this team just needs Taylor to fill in at the four and five spots and grab some rebounds. Amaurys Fermin has been around for a while too, but unlike Odister and Taylor, has yet to play a game for Cal Poly. After attending a couple lower level institutions, Fermin sat out the 2009-2010 season as a transfer and sat out last year with an injury. It has been a while now, but Fermin is a fine passer and the only true point guard on the roster. If he is ready to go, he could step into a starting role. Chris Eversley, a 6-6 transfer from Rice, will give the frontcourt some more much needed depth. The lone incoming freshman is guard Reese Morgan.

Who to Watch:
Some of the newcomers may take over the scoring load left behind by Lewis, but the group on the perimeter has to find at least one scorer. Last season only Lewis and the two frontcourt starters averaged over six points per game. There are a lot of options, including returning starters Chris O’Brien and Maliik Love, but are they ready to pick up the slack? Neither are particularly consistent shooters, but both have decent size and need to use it to attack the basket. Jamal Johnson and the greatly named Drake U’u (pronounced YOU-YOU) are a couple more perimeter players who have the potential to step up their game and become major scorers.

Final Projection:
It does not really matter who it is, but Cal Poly must find a new scorer on the perimeter. If Fermin can run the point, that will open up space for Odister to shoot and for the rest of the guards to attack the basket. If Fermin is not ready to run the team, somebody like O’Brien or Love will have to do it and neither of them will likely be able to score a ton and run the show, as was the case at times last season. Now, without Lewis, they will not have the luxury of just worrying about handling the ball and letting Lewis do all of the scoring. The Mustangs will not fall too far after this year, but Hanson and Donahue are seniors and this may be their best shot at the NCAA Tournament for a couple of years.

Projected Postseason Tournament: none

Projected Starting Five:
Amaurys Fermin, Senior, Guard, DNP last season
Kyle Odister, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Chris O’Brien, Junior, Guard, 5.9 points per game
David Hanson, Senior, Forward, 15.2 points per game
Will Donahue, Senior, Center, 8.4 points per game

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