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CoBL College Preview: Colonial Athletic Association Coaches' Thoughts

10/28/2015, 9:01am EDT
By CoBL Staff

CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)

(Ed. Note: This article is part of CoBL's 2015-16 College Season Preview, which will run from October 2-November 13, the first day of games. For the complete rundown, click here)

While head coaches are obviously responsible for the ultimate game-planning decisions during the college basketball season, it’s the assistant coaches who do the advanced scouting and prep for much of the teams throughout the country.

So CoBL decided the best way to get to know each league we cover is to talk to the various assistants that work in those conferences.

Here are several anonymous assistant coaches’ thoughts on the Colonial Athletic Association; for a breakdown of the league, click here:

College of Charleston
“They lost their point guard, they lost (forward Adeji) Baru, they weren’t really that great last year and now Joe Chealey’s out for the year, who I thought coming back was one of the better players in the league. I think it’s going to be an adjustment year for them. …I thought they had a chance to be a surprise team and finish middle of the pack, but losing Joe Chealey’s really going to hurt them. Canyon Barry’s one of the best perimeter guys in the league, but I just don’t know if they have around that to make a significant jump. ...Intrigued to see the second year with the new coaching staff, bringing guys along. I think they were excited about a big that they were redshirting last year (Nicholas Harris), who I think has a chance to be a good player. ...Losing Chealey is going to really hurt, I thought he was their best player. Barry will have to step up and last year’s freshman class, I thought they were good players, they’ll certainly have a lot more on their plates this year.”

“They could be really good. Kory Holden is one of the better guards in the league. They got Marvin King-Davis back, fifth-year senior. They need (Chivarsky) Corbett to take a step up this year, find somebody to replace Kyle Anderson’s shooting, but I think Delaware could have a really good season. They’ll go as Holden goes. …Very good offensively. Upperclassmen up front with (Maurice) Jeffers and King-Davis and Holden is a young all-league player. They always can beat anybody on any given night, you’re never surprised if they pull an ‘upset.’ ...Holden’s one of the best players in the league. Good bigs, Corbett’s got to take a step up now as a sophomore and I think their biggest thing will be, how much depth will they have? …Talented young players, and the experienced frontcourt with Martin King-Davis, I think they’re a very dangerous team.”

“Drexel is a wild card. If Ahmad Fields is as good as advertised and Tavon Allen can be consistent, then they’ll have enough punch. Obviously losing (Damion) Lee will be very, very difficult but a team that with their toughness, with their grit could find themselves upper-middle of the pack. …I actually think they’re going to be better than people think because Ahmad Fields is there, Tavon Allen is back, Major Canady is back, Kazembe Abif is back. So they probably have one of the deeper rosters they’ve had, I’m sure they’re hungry. They might be a team that could have three or four guys in double figures and they’re always good defending and rebounding. ...Kind of unsure and unknown, I think Ahmad Fields is a very good player, he’ll make a difference, he’s going to be a very good player in the CAA. They get a couple guys back that were injured that can definitely impact them as well. ...I think they’re being underrated just a little bit right now. Bruiser always gets his teams to play really hard, you know they’re always going to bring it defensively. Question with them is always how can they score? With the guards they’ve brought in, that’ll give them some better opportunities to get some easy baskets, which besides giving the ball to Damion Lee isn’t something that’s happened recently for them.”

“They probably took the biggest loss losing (sophomore guard Elijah) Bryant. They run a good system, they don’t quite have the athletes that some of the other teams in the league have, and Bryant would have obviously helped with that. Tanner Samson’s still a pretty good player if he can get his shot going. ...Tough blow because you think you hit the jackpot and you have an all-conference freshman, and then he leaves, that’s really tough. Good coach, they have the ability to shoot the ball which means they have a chance to win any game they play. ...Good team, not easy to prepare for based on their motion style. Losing Bryant is obviously huge because he had such a high usage rate, he was such a focal point for that team. Luke Eddy returning healthy will be a major key for them. …People overvalue the loss of one guy, they were down a guy all last year. But I would say similar to Charleston in that they can really defend and they’re not easy to play against, even if they don’t have a good record, it’s going to be a tight game, it’s just can they get enough scoring at the end of the day?"

“They have the best player in the league with Juan’ya Green, him and Ameen Tanksley are seniors, experienced guys, they’ve got (Brian) Bernardi back who’s one of the better shooters in the league. It’ll be interesting how their big guys play, they lost one of their better big guys from last year so they need some guys in the frontcourt to step up. …They’re the class of the league right now. Juan’ya Green and Tanksley are as good a 1-2 punch as I could come up with in mid-major basketball right now. The question for them will be defensively; if they can guard consistently, then they’ll be a really tough out because they’ll always be able to score points. …Clearly the most talent, their depth will be interesting. I think they have a really, really good starting five, it’ll be interesting to see if their depth causes any problems later. To beat them, it’s really defensively; they’re not great defensively so you’ll score a little bit, but if they have 3-4 guys in double figures it’s hard to beat them. ...Dynamic, high-scoring, talented. Playing them is always a challenge, they’re going to come ready to play and they’re going to play with confidence.”

James Madison
“They’re going to be very good. They’ll have a very significant chance to win the league. They have the best inside-outside duo with (Ron) Curry and (Yohanny) Dalembert, and when you have an effective point guard and a really good big guy, probably the best in the league, you’re always going to have a chance. ...I think they have probably the most underrated player in the league, Ron Curry. He’s probably the second-best player in the league besides Juan’ya, Dalembert played really well for them last year, I know they have a JUCO transfer (Shakir Brown) who’s supposed to be pretty good. They’ve got a lot of guys back from last year, so I think that will help them a lot. …Everybody returns, and they add the kid from junior college. Curry’s one of the best players in the league, I think he’s underrated when you talk about best players in the conference, I don’t think his name comes up quite enough. Matt Brady’s as good of a coach as there is in the league, and they did it last year--nobody expected them to have a great year and they did, and they have everybody back. ...Curry and Dalembert are two of the most improved player in the league, and they were really really good in close games last year I thought because of that. They’re always good offensively and I think they’ve gotten better defensively with some zone, with some pressure.”

“They’re going to be still very, very good, lost a big piece in Scott Eatherton but they still have some very, very good players on the roster, and players that won a championship and that’s not to be undervalued. Those guys have been there, they know what it takes. ...With (David) Walker and Quincy Ford back, they definitely have two of the more proven and all-league type of players. I think their point guard (T.J. Williams) is a little underrated as well. I think they’re really going to miss Scott Eatherton inside, just in terms of getting easy baskets, because they’re going to be young in the frontcourt now. ...Losing their big hurts and they’ve got to figure out what they’re going to do for a post presence. Returning four starters at the 1-4 spots and those guys are very good players in this league. I would think they mix up their zone defense a little more this year and they’ll be a really tough out. ...Similar to some of these other teams that people might be overthinking it. Eatherton was really good but Ford is all-league, Walker is all-league, (Zach) Stahl and Williams have played a lot of minutes on really good teams. It’ll be interesting to see if they go small with another guard or try to replace Eatherton with some of their younger size."

“You know what you’re going to get, you’ve got your work cut out for you. They’re bringing their hard hats, they’re going to make you fight on every possession and it’ll be interesting to see what Arnauld Moto brings to their program. ...Probably the best rebounding team in the league. Really physical, a lot of guys that can score in the post. Question will be replacing Four McGlynn and outside shooting. ...All the talk has been about this transfer they’ve got coming in from Wake Forest, Arnauld Moto. Other than that, they pretty much have the same team coming back, I know they lost Four McGlynn but I think towards the end of last season he wasn’t really in their plans and I thought they played well when he got less time last year. They’re going to be as good as this transfer is. …Towson’s an interesting one. Their problem has been skill, they don’t have a ton of skill in terms of shooting the ball. If they can find one or two decent guys to make some shots outside, Moto and John Davis are pretty good inside."

“They’re a mystery, I think they’re probably the team that everybody’s really not sure about. ponder’s back, but they lost some guys from last year that really had great years and they’ll be tough to fill in. I think right now they’re just a little young, one or two really good guys away from being in the top half of the league. …They’re probably one of the bigger unknowns just because they had new guys sitting out and roster turnover, they got a lot of mileage out of those seniors last year. They’re a question mark, can those transfers and freshmen and sophomores make an impact right away? ...Honestly, I really can’t tell you much about them. They lost three of their top four scorers and they bring in all these transfer. The one transfer who was supposed to be the best player (Jarvis Haywood) has already been kicked off the team. …Very interesting because of all of the new pieces, but they’re good. (Head coach Kevin Keatts has) figured out a way to get all those pieces to mold last year and did a wonderful job with it, so I would expect him to do it again. He lost a couple of really good players and had some really good players sitting out. Depth will also be a question, their freshman class will be really important."

William & Mary
“I think they’re the most overrated team in the league. They lost Marcus Thornton, who was the (league) MVP, I think guys on their team are going to have to step up without him, it’ll be interesting to see how guys play without Marcus Thornton. He was a good scorer, but he got guys a lot more open looks than they realize and made guys better players than they really are. ...Kind of like Northeastern, lost a great player but I think they have very good pieces that have experience and they’re good players. The big question is who’s going to take the reigns of that team? Terry Tarpey’s the most underrated player in the conference and, I don’t want to get too carried away but maybe on the East Coast. ...The system is always going to make them competitive, so I think they’re underrated. Tarpey’s terrific all around and (Omar) Prewitt in my eyes is a first team all-league guy. They’ve got a ton of guys who can shoot the ball and play within that system. …Tarpey’s improved as much as anybody, he can affect the game in so many ways--defensively, passing, he plays as hard as anybody in the league. I think they have enough scoring in Prewitt and (Daniel) Dixon if the transfer from Colorado State (David Cohn) can give them some more ball-handling on the perimeter.”

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