Early season tournaments continue to emerge and increase from a competition standpoint. Non-conference schedules have gotten tougher and college basketball fans prepare for premier match-ups and upsets even in November.
Let’s take a look at the Cancun Challenge.
Tournament Date(s): November 13-21, 2012.
Tournament Location(s): Cancun, Mexico.
Tournament Summary: The Cancun Challenge is hosting a bunch of small schools this year, but there won’t be a shortage of heat in the competition down in Mexico. Wichita State is arguably one of the best teams in the field, but they lost a lot. They’ll miss the trio of Joe Ragland, Garrett Stutz and Toure’ Murry and hope to ride good coaching and defense to success.
Watch out for a possible breakout from DePaul. Cleveland Melvin is a legit stud and Brandon Young and Moses Morgan are there to support him. The Bison of Howard lost their two top players in seniors Glenn Andrews and Calvin Thompson. They could have a rough year.
Western Carolina was on the cusp of an NCAA Tournament berth. This year, they may not be close. Tyshwan Edmondson and Josh Terry will need to step up and lead Austin Peay. Tashan Newsome averaged 12.3 points last season, and should be the head honcho for Gardener-Webb.
Super sophomore George Fant of Western Kentucky will look to build off the team’s NCAA Tournament appearance from last year. Finally, the Hawkeyes of Iowa will represent the Big Ten in Cancun. They’ll miss Matt Gatens, but will return Roy Devyn and Aaron White.
Player to Watch: Cleveland Melvin, DePaul: There’s no one worth watching in Cancun more than Melvin. The big man has great hands and can score in multiple ways. Expect his averages of 17.5 points and 7.4 points to certainly make a jump this year. Melvin is physical down low and really has a chance to do something special for DePaul. If he can take them out of the Big East basement, he can be their savior.