The Old Dominion Monarchs were crippled by youth last season and were not able to find a way into the NCAA tournament, finishing fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 13-5 record.
Here are a couple of quick notes about this year’s team:
Key Loses: The Monarchs have another young team this year as they lose four seniors from last year’s team. This group had the top three scorers including top scorer and current Golden State Warriors guard Kent Bazemore. His presence will be missed severely as he led the team in virtually every category on both offense and defensive. The new Monarchs will also be without big man Chris Cooper who led the team in rebounds averaging 10.1 per game.
Key Additions: North Carolina State transfer DeShawn Painter, will try to provide senior leadership and a much needed inside presence for the team. Joining Painter in the newcomer category will be four freshman guards in Deion Clark, Keenan Palmore, Ambrose Mosley and Aaron Bacote. Head coach Blaine Taylor has a a history of red-shirting players so expect at least one of these guys to sit out this season, but as a team lacking depth at the guard position, a couple of these freshman will be asked to play a huge role.
Players to watch: Though the Monarchs lost a ton of production on both sides of the floor, there are key pieces returning from last season’s squad. Red shirt sophomore guard Dimitri Batten will look to impose his will offensively as he the reigning team leader in 3-point field goal percentage. Junior guard Donte Hill will look to help Batten in the back court with his ability to get to the rim and to guard perimeter players. Red shirt senior Nick Wright provides length the front line and will be key in using his wingspan to block shots and grab rebounds.
It will be an uphill battle for these young Monarchs. There is going to be ups and downs. The team is currently overseas playing preseason games in both Italy and Greece. This will undoubtedly provide so much needed team chemistry that can be vital for the upcoming season.
But the theme this year in Monarch Nation could read: Work in Progress.