By Sam Davidovich
Head Coach- Matt Brady (7th Season)
Last Season- 11-20 (6-10 CAA)
Losses- G Charles Cooke, G Andrey Semenov, F Taylor Bessick, G Christian Pierce, F Tom Rivard
Newcomers- Winston Grays G, Joey McLean G, Dante Sterling G, Hari Hall F, Matt Risse G
Coming in to the new season, the JMU Dukes are projected to finish slightly higher than last year, sliding from 7th place up to 5th. This looks to be an uphill battle, as the team may struggle to find leadership without any seniors to provide a locker room presence and take over in clutch moments.
Because of this, Brady will have to rely on 6-4 junior guard Ron Curry and 6-5 junior guard Andre Nation for veteran leadership. Combined, these two averaged 27.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 4.01 assists per game last year, something they will have to replicate and perhaps even improve upon. The backcourt will be adding another solid player this year, 6-2 junior guard Winston Grays, a transfer from Cincinnati State. He averaged an impressive 20.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.0 steals per game.
Let’s not forget the other transfer player, 6-4 guard Devontae Morgan. As a sophomore in 2013-14 at Butler, Morgan appeared in 14 games while scoring 25 points with a .435 shooting percentage. Unfortunately, he will be sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Andre Nation and forward Tom Vodanovich have also been disciplined for an altercation between the two that occurred off-campus recently. Coach Brady has decided that Nation will sit out during the team’s preseason scrimmage, the November 2nd home exhibition and the first five games of the regular season. Vodanovich will have the same punishment, but only miss two of the first regular season games.
Bottom Line- The team has been projected to finish in the top five this year, moving up two places from where they finished last year. If the teams juniors (Nation and Curry) can replicate their play from last year, new additions such as Grays and the four incoming freshman can mix well and early, and the players keep their heads on straight, that is nowhere near out of the question.