College Basketball Preview

November 13, 1997|By Jamison Hensley

Divsion II

Bowie State

Affiliation: Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Coach: Taft Hickman (33-97, sixth year)

1996-97 record: 4-23, 3-14 in CIAA

Top players: Damion Keyes, 6-5, Sr., G (17.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg); Shae Johnson, 5-4, Sr., G (12.8 ppg); Louis Banks, 6-4, Sr., G (11.6 ppg); Che Evans, 6-5, Jr., F (9.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg); Dwayne Moore, 6-6, Sr., G (4.9 ppg); William Brown, 6-6, Jr., C (4.5 ppg); James Parker, 6-9, Jr., C; Mike Jones, 6-3, Sr., G-F.

Outlook: The good side: The Bulldogs return all 10 players from last year's team. The bad side: They lost their final 14 games, winning their last game on Jan. 11. The major problem for Bowie is patience. The Bulldogs turned the ball over an average of 16 times and shot 39 percent from the floor. Evans, a Southern of Baltimore graduate, led Bowie in scoring, rebounding and steals (1.6).

Division III

Frostburg State

Affiliation: Allegheny Mountain Conference

Coach: Bob Ronai (first)

1996-97 record: 13-12

Top players: Tom Schaffer, 6-6, Sr., F; Brent Edwards, 6-2, Sr., F; Keon Chavez, 5-8, Jr., G; Tim Velasco, 6-2, Soph., F.

Outlook: New coach. New conference. The Bobcats will attempt to rebuild under Ronai, who compiled a 210-139 record at Urbana University in Ohio. Frostburg has only one returning starter (Schaffer) and two others played only sparingly. "They're a lot of weaknesses here," Ronai said. "Our goal is to be a better team by the end of the season. We are going for a major overhaul here with recruiting next year."

Goucher

Affiliation: Capital Athletic Conference

Coach: Leonard Trevino (94-87, eighth)

1996-97 record: 23-6, 13-1 in CAC

Top players: Tavar Witherspoon, 6-4, Jr., F (15.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg); Bakari Ward, 5-10, Jr., G (13.7 ppg, 2.7 spg); Vince Williams, 6-3, Jr., G (4.0 ppg, 2.1 apg); Mike Doyle, 6-5, Jr., F (8.4 ppg, 3.6 apg); Clay Nunley, 6-0, Sr., G (5.7 ppg); Damian Pitts, 6-5, Sr., F (5.8 ppg); Darrian Lee, 6-3, Fr., G-F; Darran Byrd, 6-2, Fr., G.

Outlook: The Gophers will again be the premier team in the CAC and could make a run at the Division III national title. Goucher, which is ranked No. 9 in Dick Vitale's College Basketball, lost in the NCAA tournament second round last year and returns 11 players from that team. The Gophers thrive on defensive pressure, limiting opponents to 64.3 points and 41 percent shooting. Goucher also has the most depth and experience in the conference, and only has to adjust to the graduation of four-time All-CAC center Predrag Durkovic. A large part of this season's success rides on Witherspoon, who now becomes the main presence inside.

Johns Hopkins

Affiliation: Centennial Conference

Coach: Bill Nelson (170-118, 11th)

1996-97 record: 19-8, 10-3 in Centennial

Top players: Greg Roehrig, 6-7, Sr., F (14.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg); Evan Ellis, 6-7, Sr., C; Jon Olson, 6-6, Soph., F; Josh Pahys, 6-6, Soph., F; Ben Zorensky, 6-3, Soph., G (3.7 ppg); Kamau Coar, 5-10, Sr., G (4.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.0 apg); Matt Geschke, 6-3, Jr., G (3.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg); Jake Stroman, 6-3, Soph., G (2.0 ppg).

Outlook: The Blue Jays have 14 players back and look to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994. However, Hopkins lost three of its top four scorers and will try to offset its inexperience with overall quickness. Said Nelson: "This is the most talented group of players from top to bottom that I have ever had at Hopkins." Roehrig, the only starter back in the frontcourt, is the top all-around player for the Blue Jays with his ability to shoot from the outside (32 three-pointers) and defend inside (32 blocked shots).

St. Mary's

Affiliation: Capital Athletic Conference

Coach: Bob Flynn (23-53, fourth)

1996-97 record: 7-18, 4-8 in CAC

Top players: Demetrius Henson, 5-9, Sr., G (14.0 ppg, 4.1 apg, 3.2 rpg); Garrett O'Donnell, 5-11, Sr., G (3.5 ppg); Kevin Robinson, 6-5, Jr., G (7.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.5 apg); Derrick Heard, 6-6, Fr., F-C; Prince Inniss, 6-3, Jr., G-F; Harvey Davis, 6-3, Fr., G; Sheldon Taylor, 6-3, Fr., G.

Outlook: The Seahawks graduated 65 percent of their scoring, including the conference's leading scorer in Steve Michelotti (19.1 ppg). But Flynn remains upbeat about his first team, consisting only of his recruits. "All roads in the conference go through Goucher," said Flynn, a longtime Mount St. Mary's assistant. "But from two to seven, it's pretty wide-open." St. Mary's main weaknesses are outside shooting and a lack of height. The Seahawks look to use their quickness and four promising newcomers, including Heard (DeMatha), to crack the top half of the league.

Salisbury State

Affiliation: Capital Athletic Conference

Coach: Ward Lambert (393-321, 28th)

1996-97 record: 25-6, 12-2

Top players: George Robinson, 5-10, Sr., F (13.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg); Eric Prendeville, 5-10, Jr., G (4.8 ppg, 4.9 apg); Colin Exelby, 6-3, Soph., G-F (5.0 ppg); Sean Soyars, 6-6, Jr., F (6.7 rpg/St. Mary's transfer); Matt Golden, 5-9, Sr., G (3.8 apg); Will Watson, 6-4, Soph., F; Josh Merkel, 6-0, Fr., G.

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