#137 Elon Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Elon Phoenix

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #137
Conference Rank: #2 SoCon
#137 Elon Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

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Back in 2011-2012, Elon started making a little noise in the Southern Conference. They only went 9-9 in conference play that season, but that was a nice step in the right direction. Last year the Phoenix took the next step, winning the North handily and reaching the postseason. There they lost their opener in the CIT to Canisius. Now Coach Matt Matheny returns all eight players who averaged at least ten minutes per game last season. The goal now is not to win a postseason game, but unseat Davidson atop the SoCon standings and then reach the NCAA Tournament. And this could prove to be a good year to have an experienced squad while Davidson does a bit of rebuilding.

2012-13 Record: 21-12, 13-5
2012-13 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Matt Matheny
Coach Record: 59-68 at Elon, 59-68 overall

Who’s Out:
Aaron Smith, John Moody and Josh Bonney are the only departing players. Of the trio, only Bonney was a regular contributor for the Phoenix last season. The guard averaged 9.1 minutes per contest and was a relatively productive scorer and passer when he was on the floor.

Who’s In:
With no major departures, Coach Matt Matheny will not have to rely on any of his newcomers. Redshirt Wes Brewer and incoming freshman Brian Dawkins are the bigger bodies who will be given all the time they need this season to develop for the future. Dawkins has the potential to turn into an impact player sooner or later. He is a sound scorer and rebounder for a player right out of high school. Luke Eddy and Christian Hairston are the newcomers in the backcourt. Eddy is a tough point guard, but he will likely be stuck on the bench for a couple years.

Who to Watch:
One would be hard pressed to find a more experienced starting five than the one Elon will likely put on the floor in November. All have been relatively consistent starters for two seasons and the four seniors were all key players as freshmen way back in 2010-2011 as well. The lone junior is point guard Austin Hamilton. Hamilton only played in 16 games as a sophomore due to a knee injury and the Phoenix felt his loss. He averaged 7.4 points and led the squad with 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. Having him back for an entire season would be huge. Jack Isenbarger and Sebastian Koch will join Hamilton in the backcourt. Isenbarger is a superb all-around scorer even if he does get a little three-point happy at times. Koch is a more consistent long range shooter, knocking down an impressive 44.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc in 2012-2013. At 6-8, Koch is a big guard who has no problem shooting over most defenders. His height alone also makes him a strong rebounder on the wing, but Koch can also handle the ball amazingly well for a 6-8, 200 pounder. Forward Ryley Beaumont is actually shorter than Koch, but he plays like a forward. Beaumont is coming off of a great season in which he increased his production to 11.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest. But the star of the frontcourt is Lucas Troutman. He is an extremely consistent scorer in the paint, leading the squad with 15.1 points per game and shooting nearly 55 percent from the floor. Troutman also spearheads the defensive effort and is good for a couple blocks per game.

Final Projection:
When the starters need a break, Coach Matheny has plenty of options. When Hamilton got hurt last year it was Tanner Samson who came into the starting lineup. The 6-4 sophomore was inconsistent with his shooting at times last season, but he was just a freshman. With a year of experience under his belt, Samson should provide an even better spark off of the bench. And next year he will be back in the starting lineup for good. Junior Kevin Blake will provide more depth on the perimeter after averaging ten minutes per game as a sophomore. The frontcourt has plenty of depth as well. Most notable is Ryan Winters, a 6-7 junior, but Egheosa Edomwonyi and promising sophomore Tony Sabato will be in the mix. Elon’s depth and experience will put them right in the mix for a Southern Conference title. However, beating Davidson will be tough, especially in March when it matters the most. By then the Wildcats will have found replacements for their lost stars and the Phoenix would again miss out on the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Austin Hamilton, Junior, Guard, 7.4 points per game
Jack Isenbarger, Senior, Guard, 13.2 points per game
Sebastian Koch, Senior, Guard, 9.6 points per game
Ryley Beaumont, Senior, Forward, 11.8 points per game
Lucas Troutman, Senior, Forward, 15.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.9 (136th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.0 (127, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.2 (179, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (81, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (32, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.4 (140, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.3 (108, 3)
Rebound Margin: -1.4 (230, 7)
Assists Per Game: 13.5 (120, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.7 (50, 2)


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