Blaine Taylor has built Old Dominion into highly competitive mid-major program. The Monarchs have made the NCAA Tournament four of the past seven seasons and plus have a .750 winning percentage in the Colonial Athletic Association during that span. The team loses four starters from last year but should still be a threat to win the CAA and head back to the Big Dance.
Senior wing Kent Bazemore is the only starter back and will be Old Dominion's go-to scorer a year after finishing second on the team in points per game. He must provide the leadership in the backcourt since it loses a lot of experience with four-year starters Darius James and Ben Finney having been graduated.
Despite just scoring six points a night, Trian Iliadas is the second-highest returning scorer. He was the first guard off the bench last season and figures to move into the starting lineup. That could change once Clemson transfer Donte Hill becomes eligible, after the first semester, since he offers more versatility on the wing. Until Hill is able to suit up, redshirt freshman Demitri Batten will be the only reserve on the wing.
Marquel De Lancey has served as the backup to James at the point for the past two seasons and will finally get his shot to be a starter. He is more of a pure point guard and has not shown a real knack for scoring. Freshman Breon Key will serve as the backup. He brings good size and length to the floor and is also a capable outside shooter.
Chris Cooper figures to follow in the recent line of talented post players like Gerald Lee and Frank Hassell. Cooper is a force on the boards and a solid shot blocker who served as the team's sixth man a year ago. Besides Cooper, a lot of uncertainty surrounds the frontcourt.
Nick Wright saw limited playing time last while 7-footer Antone Larsen was used sparingly. They are the only returning players with any sort of Division I experience. Redshirt freshman "The Teflon Don" Richard Ross (that's not really his nickname but if you are a hip-hop fan, you get it), JUCO transfer Nayquann Mitchell, and true freshman Jason Pimental will all try to work themselves into the mix.
In losing a lot of veteran players, this will be somewhat of a transition season for Old Dominion. Still, Taylor should be able to keep the Monarchs in the CAA championship hunt due to their relentless style of defense.
Player to Watch: Kent Bazemore, G/F
Not only is Bazemore Old Dominion's most dangerous offensive weapon, but he is also the CAA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year, partially due to his pestering length. He can handle the rock, get to the basket, and was the team's top 3-point shooter last season connecting on 40.8% of his triple tries. Needing to take on a bigger role this season as the lone returning starter, Bazemore figures to be a CAA Player of the Year candidate.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/12 vs. Northern Iowa
11/19 vs. South Florida (Hall of Fame Tournament)
11/20 vs. Kentucky/Penn State (Hall of Fame Tournament)
No real objection to the Watkins pick for Cleveland in the 3rd, but if there is an olinemen there worthy of the pick it should be that. We need olinemen in a bad way. Also we are getting Desmond Bryant back and have Shelton, modern, and Nassib who is a promising prospect
Good mock draft. But as a life-long Raiders fan who watched every game I can tell you our LB corps was sufficient. The Media may not know names like Perry Riley Jr. or Ben Heeney but they played exceptionally well when called upon. An OLB to replace Malcolm Smith however would be a good idea. But I think we need a RB, one like D'onta Freeman or Dalvin Cook. Latavius is a poor RB who runs too upright and gives up at the end of runs. We can't always rely on Derek Carr to carry the team. Peppers is definitely an exceptional player but with Reggie Nelson, Karl Joseph, and of course, Khalil Mack, LB/S is not a pressing issue. Interior DL or RB.
What an exciting weekend of football that was and we're one step closer to the Super Bowl. Sadly, more teams have been set in their draft position after this weekend. Getting closer to the deadline to declare for the draft to help round out this draft class. As per usual please leave comments and reactions I always try to reply and give some feedback.