The Davidson Wildcats enter the 08/09 season a team no longer under the radar.
Stephen Curry has a lot to do with that.
Davidson’s magnificent run in last year’s NCAA tourney captivated basketball fans from all around the country, as wins against Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin were nothing short of dramatic and inspiring. Whether it was Curry’s dazzling finishes at the hoop or his effortless 3 point bombs from deep, the 15 year old looking Wildcat guard never ceased to awe NCAA tourney crowds. His teammates, while not flashy or spectacularly skilled, were the ultimate partners in crime.
Big shot after big shot—it never got old.
Losing to the eventual champs by two points was quite a disappointment, but it further proved that Davidson could compete with anybody in college basketball.
Repeating last year’s heroics will be a much more difficult task for this 08/09 squad. Not only did point guard Jason Richards graduate—the leading assist man in all of DI basketball and the 2nd leading scorer on the team—but the Wildcat’s 3rd and 4th leading scorers also graduated. That leaves the Wildcats a little thin, not to mention much more dependent on the smooth shooting Curry (25.9 ppg) to score and to facilitate the offense. Thus Davidson expects Curry to take over the point guard duties next year, but the team’s success could ultimately hinge upon the improvements of returning role players like forward Andrew Lovedale (6.8 ppg), guard Bryant Barr (5.2 ppg), guard William Archambault (5.0 ppg) and guard Max Paulhus Gosselin (34 games started).
Another key factor to Davidson’s success will be 6’10 Nigerian freshman Frank Ben-Eze, who signed with Davidson just last month.
The 230lb center garnered interest from Marquette, West Virginia and even UCLA.
Davidson is quite fortunate that a player with such size and potential decided to sign with them.
Hopefully Frank can give them a decent presence down low to diversify the mostly perimeter oriented attack of the Wildcats.
If Davidson is to even come close to matching last year’s run, Curry must continue to put up 25+ ppg and average a good 5 assists or so.
I really see Lovedale having a break out senior year. He should probably play around 32-35 minutes/gm and gather 7 boards or so too. He really came into his own during the tournament last year.
This may be the last year Davidson fans (all college fans really) get to enjoy Stephen Curry at the collegiate level. Another outstanding season could leave him nothing else to do other than enter the NBA draft.
We’ll be watching.