Duquesne vs. App. State Preview

Looking ahead to Appalachian State...

Unlike Albany, Appalachian State was hit hard by graduation.  Coming off a 13-18 season (7-11 SoCo), Appalachian State graduated three forwards and one guard that accounted for over half their rebounding.
Appalachian State used an 8-9 man rotation last year, with nobody averaging 30 minutes per game or more.  That's in part because they had to, as the Mountaineers were without a true stud.  This is a team that, quite frankly, I'd hope Ferry and his boys should find a way to win, even on the road.  With the losses inside, the three most experienced guys are Neal, Trice, and Hamilton...none of which are taller than 6-5.  Combine that with none of the three are elite talents and we should have a decent matchup.
Coached by Jason Capel, there's no areas of the game even where the Mountaineers excelled last year that the Dukes have to be worried about, whereas there's plenty of places to take advantage.  Most notably, the Dukes look like they should be able to get to the line often while winning the turnover battle.

Key Returners:

Jay Canty (6-6 forward).  Touted as an energetic slashing swing out of high school (and ranked #130 overall by Rivals), Canty transferred to App St. after playing sparingly for Xavier his freshman year.  After sitting out last year, Canty will be ready to go this year.  Hopefully the change of scenery will do him well, as he was just awful in transition defense at Xavier, costing him playing time there...time he never regained after suffering a stress fracture.  Canty also struggled with his jumper in addition to in my opinion sometimes having that "deer in the headlights" look about him some.  Canty has the physical attributes to be among the SoCo's top players, but many questions remain.

Michael Neal (6-2 guard, will be a soph).  Neal struggled some with ball control as a frosh, finishing 3rd in the SoCo in turnovers despite playing only 24 mins/game.  Neal does seem like he gets a lot of steals for the minutes he played last year.  In his freshman year played more the role of distributor than scorer.

Jamaal Trice (6-5 senior swing).  A transfer from UConn after playing in only 11 games his freshman year, Trice got 24 mins/game last year.  Primarily a three-point threat, Trice shot 37.1% last year from three.

Tabarris Hamilton (6-3 soph).  A role player who averaged 23 mins/game as a frosh last year.

Key Departures:

Omar Carter (6-5 guard).  The team's leading scorer, the transfer from Charleston Southern seemingly regressed in every category last year.  Carter still got 11.7 and 5.5, but that didn't come close to the 16.3 ppg that he put up the year before. 

Andre Williamson (6-7 forward).  Williamson chipped in 10 and 7 last year for the Mountaineers, Williamson was primarily a rebounder and shot blocker (1.5 bpg last year). 

Isaac Butts (6-10, 290 senior).  As one of the most intimidating forces in the SoCo, Butts was in the top 5 in the SoCo in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.  Also led the SoCo in shooting percentage at 64.4%, but a large part of that was that he didn't shoot often, scoring only 7.6 ppg.

Incoming Recruits:

Chris Burgess (5-8 PG): The #54 PG per ESPN (83 overall), Burgess is a true PG with speed who distributes first and uses his dribble-drive to kick out for open shots. His quickness helps him defend well. Per FloridaHoops, chose App. State over the Horned Frogs of TCU.


I like the Dukes getting to the free-throw line a lot against Appalachian State if we don't get homered out on the road, as App. State committed a ton of fouls last year (App State was 286th in FTs against last year). Also the turnover battle should favor the Dukes. However, this is the perfect setup for a road trap game.