2013-14 College Basketball Season Preview: La Salle

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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La Salle Explorers (Last Year: 24-10, 11-5 in Atlantic-10)

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Steve Zack (Jr)/Jermaine Davis (Fr-red?)

F: Jerelle Wright (Jr)/Rohan Brown (So)

G: Sam Mills (Sr)/D.J. Peterson (Jr)

G: Tyrone Garland (Sr)/Taylor Dunn (Sr)/Amar Stukes (Fr)

PG: Tyreek Duren (Sr)/Khalid Lewis (So)/O.J. Lewis (So)

Gone: G-Ramon Galloway, C-Gavin Hunt

2013-14 Outlook:
The La Salle Explorers snuck up on people last year making their first Sweet 16 appearance in nearly 60 years. With only one key player gone from a year ago, Dr. John Giannini’s team is expected to compete for the Atlantic-10 title.

La Salle will once again rely on its talented backcourt to lead the way. Leading scorer Ramon Galloway is gone, but the Explorers still return Tyreek Duren and Tyrone Garland, who combined to average more than 27 points per game last season, so there is still plenty of offensive firepower. Duren will be the primary ball-handler and is also a dangerous threat from downtown. Garland was one of the top sixth men in the Atlantic-10 last season but should replace Galloway in the starting lineup.

Sam Mills completes La Salle’s three-guard look. He started every game last year and was a solid glue guy who played his role tremendously. D.J. Peterson contemplated transferring during the offseason but ultimately chose to stay with the Explorers and brings experience off the bench. Delaware transfer Khalid Lewis also becomes eligible after sitting out last season and adds even more talent to a very deep backcourt.

Up front, La Salle returns Jerrelle Wright and Steve Zack, who both played significant roles for the guard-heavy Explorers. Wright provides physicality and a low post scoring option, while Zack’s height makes him effective as a shot-blocker and rebounder. Redshirt freshman Jermaine Davis adds needed size off the bench, while Rohan Brown is a physical wing who is forced to play bigger due a lack of depth inside.

Giannini was once again active in the transfer game, landing a pair of wings in Auburn’s Jordan Price and Cleon Roberts of Georgia Southern. Price is a physical wing, while Roberts started every game last year as a freshman. Both guys must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules, but will provide needed bodies on the wing in 2014-15 since Duren, Garland, and Mills are all seniors.

Guard play will once again carry La Salle this season as Giannini won’t be afraid to use a four-guard look that takes advantage of his team’s quickness on both ends of the floor. With all their experience, expect the La Salle Explorers to contend with VCU and St. Louis atop the Atlantic-10 standings and make a return trip to the Big Dance.

Player to Watch: Tyrone Garland, G
Despite playing just 24.5 minutes per game, the former Virginia Tech transfer averaged more than 13 points in �12-’13. With more playing time this year, Garland will see his numbers increase, especially if he can improve his outside shooting since he shot just 28.6% from distance last season.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/9 vs. Manhattan
  • 11/19 at Penn State
  • 11/23 vs. Morgan State (Paradise Jam)
  • 11/24 vs. Providence/Vanderbilt (Paradise Jam)
  • 11/25 vs. Maryland/Marist/Northern Iowa/Loyola Marymount (Paradise Jam)
  • 12/15 at Villanova
  • 12/22 at Miami
  • 1/18 vs. Temple

  • Predicted Atlantic-10 Finish: 2nd

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