B-B-B-B-Benny Has No Vets…

I look at Benny Moss’s tenure at The Dub and feel like, in these tough economic times, that I should invest in whomever manufactures Maalox. Moss stepped in for a popular coach who left in a huff—it’s no secret that Brad Brownell and former AD Mike Capaccio won’t be exchanging Christmas cards—and won seven games in a very transition season.

Last year The Dub promptly won 20 games, the biggest loser-to-winner turnaround in the land. This year, UNCW is replacing four seniors who were more than productive (74 percent of the scoring and 63 percent of the minutes played last season). They were faces of the program.

What does all that mean? It’s going to be another year of transition at the beach, and you will see flashes of a team that could be very, very good in coming years. Moss has recruited a pile of talent, but they are young–five freshmen and four sophomores–and will take some lumps this year.

Three Key Statements
1. Giving the ball to Chad Tomko with four seniors is one thing; giving him the ball without them is another.
2. It may not matter: even if Tomko is up to the task, there are multiple players who need to change or create their roles.
3. We will find out: Moss has said he will give everyone an opportunity to play into a role in the early season.

Season Shaper(s)
1. Moss needs “that guy,” the shooter/scorer to take the pressure off of developing big men and to open lanes for Tomko. People are saying nice things about Johnny Wolf, but he didn’t exactly light the world on fire at Xavier. Throw Montez Downey, who has lost weight and is in the best shape of his career, into this category. Same with highly touted freshman Kevon Moore.
2. Dom Lacy: You can see how good this kid can be, it is very obvious. But “can be” has to become “is.” Lacy committed 109 fouls and was disqualified eight times in just under 15 mpg last year.
3. Name the big guy: somebody has got to put their back to the basket and their fanny on the block. Brad Bald and Will O’Hay-er-bee are the freshmen, and Jason Aycock is the big guy.

The Underdog
Jerel Stephenson: The 6-5 freshman gets after it on the defensive end, a sure way to earn playing time for any coach. More importantly, Stephenson can handle the ball on the wing and brings a college body to The Beach. He may not have eye-popping stats but he will see extended floor time. Think Dom Lacy without the fouls.

Hey Coach, What Happens If…
• Your big men don’t come around early and you have a huge hole in the middle?
• Nobody steps up on the wing and your best option is your point guard, a noted gunner from his high school days?
• You start beating teams with a rotation of two sophomores and four freshmen?

If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak:

This is a tough year for transition. Several CAA teams are farther along and it will show.
Place range is seventh through 12th.

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~ by mglitos on October 16, 2008.

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