College Basketball Preview

November 13, 1997|By Bill Free Loyola L

Coppin State

Coach: Fang Mitchell, 12th season (205-120)

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

1996-97 record: 22-9 overall, 15-3 in MEAC

Radio: WWLG (1360 AM)

Arena: Coppin Center (3,000)

Starters lost: One

Tickets: General admission, $7. Call 410-383-5607.

Best home game: North Carolina A&T, Jan. 15 --N.C. A&T ended Coppin's nation-best 42-game home winning streak last season, Best visiting player: Roderick Blakney, S.C. State-- Last year's MEAC Player of the Year (23.4 ppg, 6.0 rebounds).

Outlook: Last season Coppin State came within a successful out-of-bounds play of being the first 15th seed to make it to the NCAA's Sweet 16. The Eagles are scheduled for a Dec. 13 appearance against defending national champion Arizona on CBS -- the first time Coppin has been on television in the regular season. Junior guard Jerel Seamon is considered one of the team's top defensive players but he broke a bone in his foot during an Oct. 31 practice and will be out at least until Dec. 27. Coppin will once again be talented in the backcourt, but the Eagles lack size and experience up front. As usual, Coppin will play an arduous early-season road schedule against several national powers, opening against Connecticut on Nov. 24.

Around the league: Everybody is predicting Coppin State to continue dominating the MEAC. The Eagles have won seven of the past eight regular-season MEAC titles and three MEAC tournament championships in those eight years. S.C. State is expected to pose biggest challenge.

! Returning players

Name, Year, Ht, Pos, Fast breaks

Joe Allen, Sophomore, 6-9, F/C, Walk-on who played in 7 games last year

Antoine Brockington, Senior, 6-2, G, Averaged 23.5 ppg in 2 NCAA tourney games

Kareem Lewis, Senior, 6-7, F/C, Will have to carry bulk of rebounding load

Troy Lewis, Sophomore, 5-10, G, Started at point guard most of last year

Dorian Pena, Junior, 6-6, F/C, Has played basketball just four years

Rafi Reavis, Junior, 6-8, F, Needs to contribute as rebounder

Jerel Seamon, Junior, 6-3, G, Will be asked to score more this season

Danny Singletary, Senior, 6-0, G, Outplayed S. Carolina's All-SEC Melvin Watson

Fred Warrick, Junior, 6-0, G/F, Super sub averaged 12.5 points last year

Tyran Watkins, Sophomore, 6-0, F/C, Blocked 10 shots in less than 100 minutes

Newcomers Greg Hamond, Sophomore, 6-7, F, Transfer from Boston University

Jason Iacona, Freshman, 7-1, C, First 7-footer in school history Coach: Dino Gaudio, first season at Loyola (36-72 overall)

Affiliation: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

1996-7 record: 13-14 overall, 10-4 in MAAC

Radio: WWLG (1360 AM)

Arena: Reitz Arena (3,000)

Starters lost: Two

Tickets: $6 reserved; $4 general admission.

Best home game: Penn State, Nov. 24 -- Nittany Lions come down from Big Ten perch.

Best visiting player: Pete Lisicky, Penn State -- The shooting guard averaged 16.3 points last season.

Outlook: Stability is the most obvious need at Loyola, as Gaudio is the fifth coach in six seasons. Senior Mike Powell and sophomore Jason Rowe are the MAAC's best backcourt. Powell, a shooting guard who began his college career at Virginia, became the first player in school history to lead the Greyhounds in eight statistical categories in 1995-96. Reliable center Roderick Platt is another returning starter, but until Milford Mill's Blanchard Hurd becomes academically eligible at the end of the first semester, the next five players could be new. How they mesh, and how everyone takes to Gaudio, will determine if the Greyhounds live up to their No. 2 preseason billing in the MAAC. Gaudio was 36-72 in four seasons at Army, considered an accomplishment at West Point.

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Returning players

Name, Year, Ht, Pos, Fast breaks

Bill Boffa, Sophomore, 6-4, F, Walk-on

Larry Harris, Sophomore, 6-4, G, Might get more time

Blanchard Hurd, Junior, 6-7, F, Ineligible first semester

Mike Langley, Junior, 6-1, G, Walk-on played in 13 games

Mike Powell, Senior, 6-2, G, MAAC Preseason Player of Year

Jason Rowe, Sophomore, 5-10, G, MAAC Rookie of Year

Roderick Platt, Junior, 6-11, C, Middle is spoken for

Newcomers Ryan Blosser, Freshman, 6-4, G, Virginian can shoot

Brian Carroll, Freshman, 6-8, F, Steely game in Pittsburgh

Patrick Davis, Junior, 6-9, F, JC transfer from Texas

Jamal Hunter, Freshman, 6-5, G/F, Late signing, will start

Brant Mack, Freshman, 6-1, G, Western Pa. point

Apostolis Nasiou, Freshman, 6-7, F, Grecian will help now

Greg Schaefer, Senior, 6-4, G, Walk-on returned to program

James Tallarico, Freshman, 6-1, G, Walk-on

Julian Tate, Senior, 6-6, F, Missed 96-97; might be eligible

Paul McMullen

Maryland

Coach: Gary Williams, ninth season (143-101 at Maryland, 350-229 overall)

Affiliation: Atlantic Coast Conference

1996-97 record: 22-11 overall, 9-7 in ACC

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)

Arena: Cole Field House (14,500)

Starters lost: One

Tickets: $21 ACC games, $16 non-ACC games.

Best home game: Duke, Jan. 3 -- With four talented freshmen, the Blue Devils are loaded.

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