#134 Charleston Southern Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Charleston Southern Buccaneers

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #134
Conference Rank: #1 Big South

Charleston Southern Team Page#134 Charleston Southern Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Charleston Southern Tickets

Charleston Southern was relegated to the NIT last season after falling prey to a hot Liberty squad in the Big South Conference tournament. But Coach Barclay Radebaugh and company will make another run at it thanks to the best backcourt duo in the conference. Saah Nimley led the Buccaneers with 15.9 points and 5.0 assists. The 5-8 junior also tallied 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals. While Nimley spends a majority of his time shooting three-pointers, Arlon Harper will use his size and speed to attack the basket. Like Nimley, Harper is a quality ball handler and a very good perimeter defender. He is also a great scorer who tallied 15.3 points per game. With those two leading the way, CSU will be difficult to stop in the Big South.

2012-13 Record: 19-13, 12-4
2012-13 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Barclay Radebaugh
Coach Record: 107-136 at Charleston Southern, 107-136 overall

Who’s Out:
However, Nimley and Harper will have even more pressure put on them due to the absence of Mathiang Muo and Jeremy Sexton. Those two were the next highest scorers on the team during the 2011-2012 campaign and were both a huge reason why Charleston Southern ranked second in the nation in three-pointers per game. When Charleston Southern is hitting three-pointers, they can beat just about anybody. But getting hot from long range could prove to be more difficult without Muo and Sexton.

Who’s In:
The Buccaneers should get some help from the newcomers when it comes to shooting. The most intriguing prospect is junior college transfer Will Saunders. The 6-7 forward is a great outside shooter and could step right into a starting gig at the power forward position. This is a team that wants to spread out and shoot and Saunders can do that. Freshman wing Bakari Copeland is a quality shooter as well. He can also use his 6-6 frame to finish around the basket and he should have plenty of space to operate in this offense. Ty’Quan Bitting rounds out the group of newcomers. The 6-8 center will probably need some time to develop his offense, but he is a superb shot blocker and a good athlete who can get up and down the floor with the fast paced CSU offense.

Who to Watch:
Allie Fullah, a 6-7 center, started 31 games during his first season with Charleston Southern after spending a couple years at the junior college ranks. Fullah does not add an interior scoring threat, nor he is a particularly strong rebounder, but he is a decent defender and there are enough other scorers on the team. The rest of the frontcourt will be manned by Cedric Bowen and Paul Gombwer. Bowen, a 6-5 junior, averaged 7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds and finds himself in the starting lineup this season. Gombwer is the toughest rebounder on the team. At 6-6 and 215 pounds, he is also one of the bigger players that will consistently see the floor. Gombwer started a dozen games in 2012-2013 and does have enough of an outside shot to help stretch the defense.

Final Projection:
Coach Radebaugh would prefer to start a slightly smaller lineup, but the lack of depth behind Nimley and Harper may force Charleston Southern to play bigger and without just three, as opposed to the preferred four, shooters on the floor. Senior guard Sheldon Strickland is the most experienced guard available and he is deserving of a starting gig despite averaging just 12.7 minutes per game as a junior. Sophomore Malcolm Bernard has more potential after averaging 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds in an inconsistent, yet occasionally promising, freshman campaign. He could be the next great three-point shooter sooner or later. How that backcourt depth pans out will go a long way in determining if this is a Charleston Southern squad that can finally get over the hump and into the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Saah Nimley, Junior, Guard, 15.9 points per game
Arlon Harper, Junior, Guard, 15.3 points per game
Sheldon Strickland, Senior, Guard, 4.0 points per game
Paul Gombwer, Junior, Forward, 5.5 points per game
Allie Fullah, Senior, Center, 4.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.8 (39th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.0 (183, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.2 (228, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (116, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.3 (2, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (77, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.7 (128, 8)
Rebound Margin: 4.0 (57, 2)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (194, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (95, 2)


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