14-15 Season Superlatives

Before I get started, please read this entry in case you were wondering why I've returned to blogger.

I'm getting a late jump on my season previews this year, but there is no time better than the present to get started. With less than a week until the Dukes first scrimmage against Shippensburg, I'd like to start with some squad superlatives.

Biggest Potential Surprise

Desmond Ridenour

LG Gill might end up being to most improved player all around, but we're hearing a lot about his transformation from the coaching staff, media and other players. Desmond Ridenour might be the one who catches people off guard. Des looked great in the summer at the Pro - Am. He drove the lane at will, finished better and showed some excellent passing skills. If the Dukes are to have the kind of shocking season George Washington had last year, Ridenour will need to be the Dukes Kethan Savage.

The biggest question for Ridenour is where will the minutes come from. With Micah Mason taking over duties at the point, Derrick Colter playing off the ball and the Jordan Stevens in the mix for big minutes, the Ohio ball handler will need to do everything he can just to get on the court

Biggest Concern

Jordan Robinson 

Jordan Robinson is more a concern because of what we haven't seen from him compared to what we have. In order for the Dukes to succeed, they will need a Robinson to eat important minutes. Problem is he hasn't played any minutes nor did he get much of a chance to practice with the team last season thanks to the NCAA's languid response to his academic issues. 

Robinson looked very good when I've seen him play in person this past summer. He is a clean finisher and has a higher basketball IQ than his experience ought to predicate. However, he is still very young and you cannot discount the value of experience especially in the post. 

Most Underrated 

Jeremiah Jones 

Jeremiah Jones is not the offensive maestro people want him to be and his size is adequate but not ideal for an Atlantic 10 wing. However, teams benefit from defensive specialists like Jones and for what he lacks on the stat sheet he makes up for in intangibles. 

Leadership --------- Check
Decision Making -- Check
Work Ethic --------- Check
Confidence --------- Check
Competitiveness --- Check

Let's also consider that the Dukes were 72nd in the country offensively according to Kenpom. Truly, they were not great but good with Jeremiah playing 24.5 minutes a game last year. If he held them back, it wasn't by much. Meanwhile, he was one of the few players who defended well on a poor defending team. There is no telling how much worse the defense could have been without him

Most Important Player

LG Gill 

I've gone back and forth on this category, but I don't think any single player breaking out would benefit the Dukes more that Gill would. Micah Mason becoming a true star would move the dial, but after leading the nation in offensive efficiency, three point shooting and almost getting there assist to turnover, how much more can he do aside from hold close to those numbers and increase his volume? Will he average 20 points and 7 assists a game? Pretty unlikely. 

LG Gill has the opportunity to turn from a role player into a real player and every indication from the coaching seems to suggest he's heading in that direction. If his off season gains translate to on court success, look out for the Dukes as he could be the missing piece that brings it all together.