The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
NOTE TO READERS: I want to salute the fans at some point in this series. Here’s my idea: Email me a photo of your favorite piece of UD memorabilia (firstname.lastname@example.org). It could be a ticket stub, a T-shirt, a poster, a newspaper page, a photo of you at a game, etc. And write a paragraph or two or more about the story behind it: where you got it, what it means to you, why it’s special, etc. Also tell me how long you’ve been a fan, how and why you started rooting for the Flyers. I will include the story and the text in a blog entry. The best photo and entry wins an 8×10 print of Vee Sanford’s shot against OSU or Jordan Sibert’s shot against Boise. Your choice.
No. 28: Richmond game
The Flyers travel to Richmond on March 1. It’s their last A-10 road game on the schedule.
The Robins Center is not a happy place for the Flyers. They’ve lost six straight games there: 61-58 in 2005, 58-50 in 2006, 80-63 in 2008, 60-56 in 2010, 82-71 in 2012 and 73-64 in 2014. Richmond made an otherworldy 32 of 35 free throws to beat the Flyers two years ago.
Richmond finished 21-14 a season ago, sweeping rival VCU, and tied for fourth in the A-10 with VCU at 12-6. They reached the quarterfinals of the NIT before losing to Miami.
Like Dayton, Davidson and VCU, the Spiders lost their senior top scorer. Kendall Anthony (16.4 points per game) is playing his first season of pro basketball in Turkey. The Flyers held Anthony to nine points in a 63-60 victory at UD Arena on Jan. 24.
Richmond also lost a key contributor inside in Alonzo Nelson-Ododa (6.6 points, 5.1 rebounds), who transferred to Pittsburgh. Two freshmen transferred as well. The transfer bug has hit Richmond hard in recent years. Six players left in the last three years.
Three double-digit scorers return, however. Terry Allen, T.J. Cline and ShawnDre’ Jones averaged 35.1 points between them. A fourth starter, Deion Taylor (2.5 points, 3.8 rebounds) also returns.
Richmondsadd a key piece in Virginia Tech transfer Marshall Wood, a 6-8 forward. He started 11 games for the Hokies two seasons ago and sat out last season.
Allen is the key player for a team hoping to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since it reached the Sweet 16 in 2011. According to this story, there’s a buzz on campus:
Allen feels the excitement on campus, the sense that something special could be brewing this season. Though he is quiet by nature, he talks with the Spiders newcomers. He remembers the growing pains of his own start to college, so he asks them: How are they adapting? Are they having any trouble picking up the system? As summer slips toward fall, the new season looming ever larger on the horizon, he wants to get this team humming.
“We’d like him to talk a bit more and he’s done that,” says Mooney. “And he’s outsanding in terms of his leading by example. He’s such a hard worker. In the gym, during practice or even a shootaround, he’s working. Everyone can see that. He’s one of the best players in our league, but he doesn’t let any rep go without putting in full effort.”