#103 Lehigh Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Lehigh Mountain Hawks

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #103
Conference Rank: #1 Patriot

Lehigh Team Page#103 Lehigh Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Lehigh Basketball Tickets

When C.J. McCollum went down with an injury, Lehigh provided us with a glimpse into life after McCollum. The result was another relatively good season. Of course things would have gone better if McCollum played more than a dozen games, but the Mountain Hawks still finished 21-10 overall and 10-4 in the Patriot League. There is some massive rebuilding to be done, but Coach Brett Reed has talent, albeit inexperienced talent, to work with. In a Patriot League that will not be dominated by Bucknell and Lehigh for the first time in recent memory, talent is enough to win the league.

2012-13 Record: 21-10, 10-4
2012-13 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Brett Reed
Coach Record: 115-73 at Lehigh, 115-73 overall

Who’s Out:
Two years ago, when Lehigh beat Duke in the NCAA Tournament and McCollum was around for the entire season, he averaged 21.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.6 steals. In 12 games last season he averaged 23.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals. Any way you look at it, it is a massive, massive loss. And it gets worse. Guard B.J. Bailey, who also missed a large chunk of the 2012-2013 campaign, also graduated after averaging 8.3 points and 3.3 assists. Walk-on Cory Goodman also saw a bit of action in the backcourt. The frontcourt loses are just as significant. Gabe Knutson and Holden Greiner were consistent forces in the paint. Knutson averaged 13.9 points and 4.3 rebounds, while Greiner added 13.2 points and a team high 6.7 rebounds.

Who’s In:
Miles Simelton and Cole Renninger are joining the squad, but the newcomers that will make the biggest impact will likely be Austin Price, Shane Whitfield, Tim Kempton and Jesse Chuku. Price, a 6-3 guard, is a quality shooter who is expected to crack the regular rotation as a freshman. Whitfield is an athletic small forward who can at least help out on the glass right away. Kempton and Chuku will have to be very productive right away to help bolster a non-existent frontcourt. Kempton is a big forward, but still needs to add strength before he can battle in the paint effectively. He does have a decent mid-range game though and that will get him a long look for a starting nod. Chuku sat out last season and his experience in the program will be huge. Chuku is a lengthy 6-8 forward who has great versatility in the frontcourt.  

Who to Watch:
The Mountain Hawks will have to deal with a lot of talk about who is not back for the 2012-2013 campaign, but there is talent returning. Mackey McKnight will be the new leader. After averaging 11.9 points, 4.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals, it is Mackey’s team to lead. McKnight is a great floor general, but so is Corey Schaefer. Those two should be starting in the backcourt together and having two ball handlers on the floor who can also score will be a big boost to the offense. Schaefer is mostly a shooter, but he can develop a more dynamic offensive scoring punch. Speaking of shooters, that is what Stefan Cvrkalj is as well. Even if Cvrkalj does not turn into much of a defender or a dynamic scorer, he will provide an offensive spark with his shooting ability. Anthony D’Orazio earned a starting spot last season, even before McCollum’s injury. The 6-2 junior is a strong rebounder for his size. He averaged 6.4 points per contest last season, but that number could increase drastically.

Final Projection:
With the stars of the Patriot League moving on, the conference will be up for grabs. It would be easy to write off the Patriot League as a conference on the down swing, but the addition of Boston University will help the league as a whole. And Lehigh will be right in the mix. But if they want to win the conference, they will need production out of the frontcourt. The newcomers will have to provide much of that, but Justin Goldsborough and Conroy Baltimore have some experience. Goldsborough is not the toughest player around, yet he is a good athlete who can play some defense. The backcourt has enough talent to keep Lehigh competitive, yet the coaching staff will need to find at least a little quality depth to get on top of the Patriot League and stay there.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Mackey McKnight, Senior, Guard, 11.9 points per game
Corey Schaefer, Junior, Guard, 4.6 points per game
Anthony D’Orazio, Senior, Guard, 6.4 points per game
Jesse Chuku, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
Justin Goldsborough, Sophomore, Forward, 2.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.1 (46th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.2 (134, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.2 (41, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (114, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.6 (46, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.2 (10, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.7 (41, 4)
Rebound Margin: -2.8 (278, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (53, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.9 (18, 1)


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