Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2013-14 college basketball season.
Okay, so we’re not quite ready for the crowds to fill the seats at stadiums around the country, but today–September 27, 2013–is the first day that Division I programs can begin full-time practices as they prepare for the four-month grind that will see expectations exceeded and goals left unaccomplished all across the nation.
Starting next Monday, CoBL will begin previewing the Division I programs we’ll be covering on a full-time basis all season–as well as the various conferences, players, coaches and storylines that will make up the bulk of our D-I coverage this season (full CoBL preview schedule below).
But first, we must start off with our City 6 Preseason Awards. Eight CoBL staffers voted for a Preseason Player of the Year, Breakout Player and Newcomer of the Year, and with so many talented athletes in the city there were close races in all three categories.
CoBL voting panel: Andrew Albert, Anthony Bellino, Andrew Koob, Mark Jordan, Jeff McDevitt, Garrett Miley, Ian Simon & Josh Verlin
City 6 Preseason Player of the Year
Tyreek Duren/Senior/La Salle
La Salle basketball has gone from afterthought to a nationally-discussed mid-major powerhouse in the last three years. It’s no coincidence that those have been the three years with Tyreek Duren at point guard.
The Philadelphia native helped lead the Explorers to the Sweet 16 last year, reigniting the passion for basketball that lay somewhat dormant at 20th and Olney. For those reasons–and many more–he was voted the 2013-14 CoBL City 6 Preseason Player of the Year.
“It’s a great honor, especially with so many great players in the city,” Duren said.
Last season, Duren was second on the team in scoring, contributing 14.3 points per game, trailing only graduated senior Ramon Galloway. He also dished out 3.3 assists per game, also good for second on the team behind Galloway.
“It’s nice to know that people have high expectations for Tyreek,” Explorers coach John Giannini told CoBL. “No one has higher expectations than Tyreek himself. He will make every effort to play up to those expectations.”
The senior shot 39 percent from beyond the arc last season, and had a 1.65-to-1 assist:turnover ratio. His best games came at the Palestra, in which he dumped in 29 points against both Penn State and Saint Joseph’s.
If the Explorers are going to repeat their success from last season, Duren will have to play a leading role. Replacing Galloway will be no easy task, but it is now Duren’s team–and city–to take over. –Andrew Albert
All-City 6 Preseason First Team
Ryan Arcidiacono (Soph., G)–Villanova
Tyreek Duren (Sr., G)–La Salle
Langston Galloway (Sr., G)–Saint Joseph’s
Damion Lee (Jr., G/F)–Drexel
Ronald Roberts, Jr. (Sr., F)–Saint Joseph’s
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
DeAndre Bembry/Freshman/Saint Joseph’s
The 6-6 and impressively athletic Bembry, who chose the Hawks over City 6 rival Temple, wowed spectators with his electrifying dunks en route to a 18.2 ppg average during his senior year at The Patrick School (N.J.). In addition to his athletic prowess, Bembry is capable in all facets of the game as a wing, with above-average defensive, ballhandling and shooting abilities.
His length and lateral quickness, as well as his defensive instincts, almost ensure that he will be a top-level college defender on the wing. He showed flashes of greatness during a 43-point performance in his final season, as well as with a 26-point outburst in the Jordan Brand Classic this past spring to win co-MVP honors at the prestigious event.
There’s no denying that Saint Joseph’s has a talent-filled roster this year, but one element that may be missing is that of a “star” player–someone who can step up against powerhouse teams, defend their best player and score even when the offense can’t seem to get going.
That player just might be DeAndre Bembry, CoBL’s Preseason Newcomer of the Year for the City 6. –Richie McIntosh
Under consideration: Dylan Ennis (Soph., Villanova); Josh Brown (Fr., Temple); Khalid Lewis (R-Soph., La Salle)
Preseason Breakout Player
After showing flashes of serious talent during infrequent playing time last year, this athletic wing figures to start for the Owls in 2013-14 and play a much more prominent role in head coach Fran Dunphy’s game plan.
The St. Joseph’s-Metuchen (N.J.) grad proved during his freshman year that he has the ability to score the ball, even if it was in limited minutes. DeCosey had the biggest game of his freshman year in a 90-67 defeat at the hands of Duke; he scored 13 points on 5-of-6 from the field including 3-of-3 from behind the three-point line. He played a career-high 22 minutes in an upset win over then third-ranked Syracuse, scoring six points and grabbing six rebounds.
This past summer the Owls took a trip overseas to take on European teams; over four games DeCosey averaged 15.5 points per game and was the Owls leading scorer in two of those games.
Replacing Atlantic 10 Conference player of the year Khalif Wyatt will be no easy task for a sophomore, but DeCosey has the skill set to become a star. Expect to see DeCosey show a more well-rounded game this season, he primarily settled for jump shots as a freshman; don’t be surprised to see DeCosey use his size to get to the rim which will eventually open up more 3-point looks for himself.
DeCosey will be the Owls’ main perimeter scoring threat this season, which means he could be in store for a breakout season on Broad Street. –Anthony Bellino
Under consideration: Daniel Ochefu (Soph., Villanova); Isaiah Miles (Soph., Saint Joseph’s); Darien Nelson-Henry (Soph., Penn)
Six Weeks of Preseason Coverage
Mon., Sep. 30: Delaware Preview & Features
Tue., Oct. 1: Drexel Preview & Features
Wed., Oct. 2: La Salle Preview & Features
Thu., Oct. 3: Lafayette Preview & Features
Fri., Oct. 4: Lehigh Preview & Features
Mon., Oct. 7: Penn State Preview & Features
Tue., Oct. 8: Pennsylvania Preview & Features
Wed., Oct. 9: Saint Joseph’s Preview & Features
Thu., Oct. 10: Temple Preview & Features
Fri., Oct. 11: Villanova Preview & Features
Mon., Oct. 14: D-II Previews
Tue., Oct. 15: D-II Previews
Wed., Oct. 16: Big East Preview & Features
Thu., Oct. 17: American Athletic Preview & Features
Fri., Oct. 18: Atlantic 10 Preview & Features
Mon., Oct. 21: Big 10 Preview & Features
Tue., Oct. 22: Colonial Athletic Preview & Features
Wed., Oct. 23: Ivy League Preview & Features
Thu., Oct. 24: Patriot League Preview & Features
Fri., Oct. 25: D-III Previews
Mon., Oct. 28: D-III Previews
Tue., Oct. 29: Philly Alum Features
Wed., Oct. 30: Philly Alum Features
Thur., Oct. 31: National Storylines
Fri., Nov. 1: Breakout Players
Mon., Nov. 4: Games to look forward to
Tue., Nov. 5: Best-case/Worst-case scenarios
Wed., Nov. 6: 10 Questions we need answered
Thu., Nov. 7: 10 Biggest CoBL Storylines
Fri., Nov. 8: Let the Games Begin!