Friday, June 29, 2007

Player Profiles: #22 Will Archambault

When I was citing Davidson's four freshman to my friends before last season started, there was always one guy that I kept forgetting. We obviously had an incredibly talented guard from Charlotte coming in, we had a really really tall guy that would hopefully develop into a force in the paint, and we had Mr. Maine! Oh yeah, and that Max clone guy from Canada.

By November 15, 2006, I quickly learned that just because he went to the same high school in Canada, Will Archambault was no clone of Max. I mean this guy had a lot of hair on his head, unlike the freshman-year aero-dynamic Gosselin.

I also learned on that November day that Archambault would probably get a considerable amount of playing time during his freshman year. The sharp-shooter finished with 19 points on four three-pointers in just 22 minutes played. And it wasn't just that he hit four treys, it was from where he hit them. The Archer took several shots with his feet right on the line - the out-of-bounds line.

Although Archambault showed flashes of brilliance at the beginning of the season, a minor injury forced him to sit out the annual rivalry game against Charlotte. Even when the Archer returned to D-I action against UT-Chattanooga, he was visibly off and looked lacking in confidence. He ended up averaging single digit points for the rest of the month of December.

Archambault seemed to shake off his rough month by getting back to his bread and butter...shooting. By the end of the season, Will ranked third on the team in most shots per minute played behind Stephen Curry and Bryant Barr. Archambault finished the year with 55 three-pointers made and an average of 7.8 points per game.

While a lot of unfounded criticism was placed on Davidson for shooting too many three-pointers in their NCAA tournament loss to Maryland, there is some truth to the claim that the Wildcats need to work on their intermediate scoring game in the half-court offense. While Archambault may seem like just another three-point assassin, the rising sophomore actually has an incredible arsenal full of moves and athleticism.

As Kevin Cary pointed out time and again, Archambault has the size to be effective in rebounding and shooting situations close to the basket, and yet he has the speed and quickness to force turnovers one-on-one and to run with Davidson's transition gameplan.

Look for Archambault to log some very important minutes at the top of Davidson's 3/4 court pressure as well as some very important opportunities to throw daggas from the three-point line.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Player Profiles: #24 Bryant Barr

Bryant Barr, the sharp-shooter named Mr. Maine, has a silky smooth shot that tickles the twine whenever he launches it. Or so the alliterative writer would presume.

Bryant Barr was voted as the best high school player in the state of Maine during his senior year. After one season at Davidson, most Wildcat fans know why.

Although Barr's season started inauspiciously with a ton of bench time and a badly missed three-pointer here or there, the freshman came to grow into the college game and became a crucial contributor by the end of the season.

Barr hit several shots in Davidson's runaway win at Western Carolina in February, including a two-pointer (Barr only attempted 21 two-pointers against 69 three-pointers).

One week later, Barr came off the bench to hit seven three-pointers in another road blowout win, this time against The Citadel. With his roommate, Stephen Curry, spending most of the time on the bench, most of Curry's family spent the entire game cheering for Barr: "Roommate! Roommate!"

Barr finished the season with 112 points on 36 made three-pointers, including a momentum-building trey in the first half of Davidson's NCAA tournament game.

With no departures from last year's starting five, Barr will be looking to find his time playing from the bench once again. While comparisons have been made between Barr and recent Davidson alum Matt McKillop, I believe that Barr will eventually be an even more valuable player to Davidson's arsenal. Continued summer work and effort in practice could very easily transform Barr from a one-dimensional three-point shooter into a wing threat that can both feed the paint and move the ball off the dribble.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Player Profiles: #23 Steve Rossiter

Before the first ever game in his D-I career, Steve Rossiter probably had a butterfly or two. The Wildcats were opening their season at Cameron Indoor Stadium, one of the nation's toughest venues, against Duke University, the nation's top-ranked team at that time. I was nervous just being a spectator.

Steve Rossiter did not ever get a chance to play in that game. In fact, Rossiter missed the entire 2005-2006 season due to a stress fracture. Although he returned to full health by mid-season, the forward from Staten Island decided to take a medical redshirt year.

When all of the 2006-2007 season previews began to be bandied about within message boards and conversations, Rossiter's name was rarely mentioned. Most casual fans had even forgotten that Davidson had a 6-8 forward who had been practicing against Ian Johnson the entire season before.

When Davidson returned to Cameron Indoor Stadium, Rossiter, though officially listed as a freshman, knew what the Dukies were all about. Rossiter played 15 minutes and corraled a couple of rebounds in the 'Cats' losing effort.

Over the course of last season, Rossiter only averaged 7.3 minutes a game and 1.6 points a game. Playing as the fourth big man in the lineup, Rossiter was used sparingly.

However, to take a look at Rossiter's numbers, one would generalize that the forward usually accumulated most of his minutes in the trash time at the end of a game. While Steve certainly headed up the scout team in practice every day, his game minutes often came in very crucial situations.

If Meno or Sander entered foul trouble, it was up to Rossiter to provide a legitimate threat in the paint to keep opponents honest. While his PT did not often coincide with big shots, slam dunks or posterizing blocks, Rossiter remained as one of many sources of oil keeping the machine running.

After most games, Bob McKillop would exclaim to the gathered media: "And did you see the play of Rossiter tonight? I mean that guy played tough for us. He put in some really important minutes. He's always ready to go as soon as he steps on the floor." After McKillop sang Rossiter's praises in the large press conference after the Southern Conference title game, most of the media members quickly whipped out their team guides to try to figure out which guy McKillop was talking about.

During every game, Rossiter always sat down at the end of the bench next to the team trainer. Although some might think it was habit after sitting in that seat for all of his redshirt season, I know that it's because Rossiter always has to be on his feet after every shot that's taken or made. You can look at any picture or video of a Davidson game and Rossiter is always the first on his feet to congratulate his teammates and yell encouragement.

With the repeated refrain of every player on Davidson's basketball team, Steve Rossiter maintains an incredibly personable spirit that loves to have fun and talk to anyone that will talk back. Davidson would be an even better place if it were able to keep more people like Rossiter around for five years.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Player Profiles: #12 Can Civi

Back when he was still finishing his secondary schooling in Istanbul, Turkey, Can Civi took several weeks of his summer to travel to the United States to play basketball. He was the starting point guard for his club team, Efes Pilsen, and he attended Uskudar American Academy. Civi had been honored with placement on the Turkish National Team and had led his junior team to a national title. But during that summer, Civi had only goal in mind: to play college basketball in America.

One of Civi's first stops came at Bob McKillop's Davidson basketball camp in June. Like most college coaches around the country, McKillop uses his basketball camp as a chance to teach youngsters about basketball, but also as an opportunity to look at high school players that are often off the mainstream radar.

When Civi arrived at camp in Davidson, he did not make that much of an impact. His dribbling skills and passing accuracy were not comparable to most of the other point guards his age at camp and McKillop did not place him very high on his recruiting priorities.

Civi knew that his play at Davidson's camp was not his best performance, and he was determined to play better at the several camps that he had lined up in the northeast. After another week of sub-par performances at a camp in Pennsylvania, Civi felt even more down on his luck. Hoping to capitalize on one more camp opportunity, he was scheduled to fly over to Philadelphia where he would be picked up by a coach from a camp in New Jersey. When Civi arrived at Philadelphia International, there was no one there. He waited. And waited. No one came.

What Civi didn't know was that the head coach of the previous camp had called his colleague in New Jersey to tell him that Civi was not worth looking at: Not only were his basketball skills sub-par, he was a dirty Turk on top of that. With the wave of xenophobia sweeping the nation in the wake of September 11 and the American invasion of Iraq, Can Civi was seen as just a foreign Muslim who wasn't worth a drive to the airport.

By the middle of the next week, word had reached Bob McKillop that Can Civi was having a hard time in the northeast and had been wrongly treated by several coaches who could not see past his ethnicity. After being left at the airport, the point guard had somehow hitch-hiked his way through a foreign country with relatively little language proficiency and had arrived at camp. Armed with a personal drive to defend his own honor and find a team in America, Civi played with the heart of a lion that week and was easily the most valuable point guard in camp. McKillop happened to make it up for one of the last days of camp and he was impressed by what he saw.

"I saw a young man who battled against every odd: language, racism, homesickness. He took those things head on and conquered them. He had a heart that I wanted on my team."

It didn't take long for Bob McKillop to sign Civi to the fourth scholarship slot in Davidson's class of 2009.

In his two years at Davidson, life has not always been easy for Civi. Faced with limited playing time and an entrenched spot on the scout practice team, he has certainly had to face doubts as to whether he made the right decision in coming here. It doesn't take long, however, for those doubts to subside when he's around his teammates.

Civi's love of humor and sincere personality have made him a hit on campus and in the locker room. Several players have vowed to travel with him back to Istanbul to experience his culture and his home.

Civi might never think of himself as some big success story of strength, heart and goodwill overcoming the forces of hate and stereotype, and that coincides perfectly with his nature. But the story of Can Civi is one that deserves to be told. It represents a small nugget of beauty and yet another meaningful connection between a foreign culture and little ol' Davidson.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Player Profiles: #41 Andrew Lovedale

The Big Cat. Kleenex. Anthony…Andrew Lovedale was called all of these things over the course of his sophomore season. The 6’8” forward emerged as one of Davidson’s premier big men with his knack for cleaning every rebound off the boards (hence, “Kleenex”) and elevating to block shots in the paint.

Lovedale finished this season with 199 rebounds, 17 blocks and an average of 4.9 points per game. Without much experience from his freshman year to build upon, Lovedale came out of the blocks strong and was never a liability when the coaches brought him in off the bench.

Like his towering counterpart in Meno, Lovedale has been able to produce thanks to his long arms and incredible leaping ability. Some of his most memorable plays of the season include a highlight reel block on the SoCon player of the year Kyle Hines, several huge swats at the end of the first half of Davidson’s NCAA tournament game against Maryland, and a transition slam dunk after which he was “T”-ed up by the infamous Teddy Valentine for hanging on the rim. However, even more infamous was the Davidson’s section cheer as the Furman player shot his free throws down by double digits with little time remaining: “it was worth it.”

Lovedale came to Davidson from Manchester, England where he played for the Manchester Magic. A native of Benin City, Nigeria, Andrew has an impeccable singing voice and an incredibly talented pair of feet. He was a member of the intramural soccer championship team last year. Truly the well-rounded individual, Lovedale is well-liked around campus for his big smile and booming friendly voice. He says that if he didn’t have all of the demands of basketball practice and schoolwork, he would join the gospel choir and sing about the joys of his Christian faith.

Despite his incredible work ethic and rebounding prowess, Lovedale still lacks a consistent offensive attack. Although his natural shot is a turn-around fadeaway in the middle of the paint, Lovedale realized this season that D-I forwards can alter that shot, and that getting to the middle of the lane is not always possible.

If Lovedale is to develop into “one of the best forwards in recent history” as many of his fans believe he is, the big man will have to find his natural comfort in the 5-10 foot space around the basket. If he can find a way to consistently finish and then combine that with his incredible rebounding ability, Lovedale very well could live up to the billing as one of the best of his time. For now, we’ll just call him the Big Cat.

Liveblogger thrown out of press box

There has been a very intriguing story going around the internet sports community about a newspaper writer being kicked out of a press box for his live blogs of the NCAA Super Regional. The NCAA has claimed that Brian Bennett's liveblog violates the exclusive coverage rights of ESPN to broadcast the event live.

All I want to know is: why didn't they kick me out of the Southern Conference Tournament so I could have made national news???

But really, this is a very interesting story because of all of the questions that it brings up. What exactly does exclusive live coverage of an event entail? Does it mean that a fan can't text message or call his friend? What about someone watching the game from outside of the fence and blogging that way? What if a credentialed media member posts the score of the game on a message board? Is that live coverage too?

It seems like the NCAA is really doing what they do best in this situation in that they have made a sweeping ruling and are only enforcing in isolated and arbitrary situations.

In the least, this event will certainly bring issues of the internet and the blogdome to the forefront of the minds of mega-media companies (ESPN), the governing institutions (NCAA) and the larger sports community who are just now starting to get into this whole internet thing (my Dad).

I believe that there are some very important conversations to be had about first amendment rights, exclusive rights to college athletes (SEE my beef with college highlight videos/merchandise/likenesses and companies selling them for profit, but players not being able to make money off of themselves), and the everchanging role of the sports media.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Player Profiles: #14 Max Paulhus Gosselin

Max Paulhus Gosselin was the first member of the class of 2009 that I met personally. I was immediately struck by his French Canadian accent and his really friendly nature. He seemed like the kind of guy who could just make himself have fun at anything without any other stimulus.

I first saw Max the basketball player later that summer at camp. He was taking part in pick-up games with a collection of older campers and new teammates. Something struck me as just a little bit different...maybe it was all of the steals and transition buckets, maybe it was the yelling after a tomahawk jam, or maybe it was the fact that Max made a spectacular block on a certain unnamed 6'8" forward. This guy didn't look like a Davidson basketball player. At least he didn't look like any Davidson basketball player that I had seen up to that point.

The term "raw talent" is often thrown around in reference to freshmen that Bob McKillop brings into the Davidson program. It is a well-documented reality that most freshmen evolve and improve greatly over their four years at Davidson. However, I think that the term most aptly applied to Max that year. He was both very "raw" and very "talented."

When he entered full-fledged practices with his teammates and coaches in mid-October, Gosselin soon realized that his style of play was in direct conflict with the system that McKillop has run for years. Davidson did not run a full-court press. The offense lived off of spacing, passing and accurate shooting. Gosselin's shot...well, let's just say it can be a little flat at times.

Despite his incredible energy, length and leaping ability, Gosselin did not play much as he backed up SoCon Tournament MVP Brendan Winters. Although Gosselin was initially pegged as the freshman who would most often practice with the first team, he was ultimately passed over by his classmate, Andrew Lovedale.

Despite the hardship of having to mostly sit and watch as his teammates led Davidson to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in four years, Gosselin played every second with an eye to the future. He knew he would have big shoes to fill in Winters' absence and there was also some indication that the Wildcats might be tweaking their style of play with this next incoming class.

Gosselin started throughout the 2006-2007 season, and, despite not scoring much, his defensive contributions were felt from Day 1 all the way to the SoCon tournament championship game. Gosselin had a breakout game against UT-Chattanooga when he scored 16 points in the first half to finish with 22 points on 9-15 shooting.

The 6-6 forward operated well out of a new game philosophy that set up with a 3/4 court press, encouraged transition basketball (whether off of steals or rebounds) and allowed for Gosselin to be a defensive specialist while he was still gaining confidence on his jump shot. Although McKillop didn't give Max the license to shoot certain shots throughout the year, Gosselin was invaluable when it came to defense and offensive speed.

Against College of Charleston in the SoCon tournament championship game, Gosselin was instrumental in shutting down the high-flying Dontaye Draper, holding him to only one field goal after he had scored 38 the night before.

Gosselin will continue to be a crucial asset to Davidson's game plan when he returns for his junior season next year. His speed and intensity have formed the cornerstone of a new style of Davidson basketball that pushes the pace, attacks their opponents and lives above the rim.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Player Profile: #15 Thomas Sander

In the aftermath of Davidson's first round NCAA tournament loss to Maryland, sportswriters around the country waxed on and on about how great Davidson played, but, in the end Stephen Curry ran out of gas. More insightful writers came closer to Davidson's problem by saying that Davidson's frontcourt lacked the power and size to compete with the big boys for 40 minutes.

I knew what the fundamental problem was when I saw Thomas Sander get off the bus in Davidson 10 hours later. He was visibly in pain and still nursing his back. It took me a long time to remember that Sander had taken a bone-crushing charge from a Maryland big man in the first minutes of the game and took his time to get up.

Sander finished the game shooting 1-8 from the field and only scored 4 points. Davidson's frontcourt might have been outmanned, but a healthy Sander might have turned a 12-point loss into a close game where Davidson would not have had to foul in the waning seconds.

Thomas is the stereotypical heavy lifter. He does the hard jobs like taking charges, sealing off the big guys for his driving guards, and positioning himself for rebounds. Last season, Sander averaged 13.2 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game.

I got to know Thomas a little bit after our freshman year and I found that he was a really relaxed and likable guy. I seriously thought that Sander would not be able to intimidate a fly, wherever he was. Over the course of his sophomore and junior seasons, Sander completely proved me wrong on the second count (he's still very amiable off the court).

If you follow the course of action away from the ball and after the whistle, you'd see that Sander is always trying to get into his opponent's heads. Whether it's an extra shove when a shot is released, refusing to back down when a larger opponent tries to set up his interior positioning, or immediately jumping up after taking yet another charge, Sander can frustrate his opponents to no end. It is for that reason that Thomas always seems to find himself on the other end of an opponent's emotional snap.

Sander was involved in a mid-court staredown against Ohio State's Matt Sylvester in the first half of the 2006 NCAA Tournament game. Sander received a technical foul for being on the receiving end of punches thrown by a frustrated Wofford team at Belk Arena in 2006. Sander also received an intentionally dirty punch to the gut from UNC-Greensboro big man Kyle Hines as the Spartans saw their hopes of an upset disappear with every Sander free throw in December 2006.

This isn't to say that Sander is a dirty player. But, there's just something about Davidson forwards that frustrate the good sense out of their opponents. They do all of the small things correctly and they are able to be extremely physical without going over the line. Davidson's big men are somewhat comparable to players like J.J. Redick in that they represent extremely talented, smart players that continually beat their opponents off the line. While I wouldn't say that Sander is the most hated player in the Southern Conference, there is no love lost between him and opposing players and fans.

But for all of the talk of Sander's toughness and frustrating nature, the team captain will have to add another element to his game in order for Davidson to be nationally successful in his senior season. Sander can't just rely on the paint trash to find his points and his rebounds. Sander has to improve his speed and enduracne for Davidson's new transition philosophy. Sander will have to be a vocal leader for rising sophomores like Rossiter and Nelms who will be needed for some crucial minutes when the starters get in foul trouble. Finally, he still needs to develop a consistent shot with his back to the basket. If he can do all those things, we can stop stereotyping Thomas with limiting terms like tough, scrappy, and hard-working. He will just be dang good.

Player Profiles: #5 Boris Meno

There have not been many Davidson players in the last few years that have had their own cheers, complete with hand motions. It has been even longer since the Wildcats had a player for whom they could call a baseline OB alley-oop play. Despite his notoriously low percentage of hits, the dunks and high-flying blocks of Boris Meno have become a constant point of excitement for Davidson fans everywhere.

Meno came to Davidson with high expectations after turning down the likes of Tom Izzo and Michigan State. Although Meno’s talent was still very raw throughout his first year, his propensity for making big plays made him an immediate celebrity. It didn’t hurt that his name was also very chant-able. In one of the Wildcats’ key home games against the College of Charleston, Meno came in to spell Logan Kosmalski and picked up two huge back-to-back blocks on CofC big man, Stanley Jackson. Belk Arena erupted and the Wildcats pushed their momentum to an all-new level.

“Baww-rrriss” was born.

Entering his senior year at Davidson, Meno can look back and see an excellent career filled with incredible moments. He led the team in rebounds over the last two seasons, averaging 8.2 a game last year. Meno has had several signature dunks including an alley-oop in the waning minutes of Davidson’s 2006 SoCon championship, and an in-bounds alley-oop slam in the first half of Davidson’s emotional victory over rival Charlotte. Meno’s double-double in the 2007 SoCon championship game helped pushed Davidson over the top against College of Charleston.

And yet, Meno still has endured three years of talk about potential, missed opportunities, and criticism that he’s biting off more than he can chew. Despite having one of the most recognizable names on Davidson’s roster, Meno has often disappeared on the basketball court. His offensive game lacks the moves necessary to consistently score with his back to the basket. The Meno three-pointer always evinces a collective gasp from the Belk Arena crowd as the ball leaves Boris’ hand. Please no, Boris!

The criticism isn’t new to Meno,however. When he first started playing basketball in late middle school, he thought that his height would grant him sufficient ability to dominate his opponents. He quickly found out how wrong he was. His opponents razed him about his game; they laughed at his inability to do certain things on the court.

But Meno used the criticism as fuel for improvement. He transformed himself from a tall, awkward student into a legitimate Division I prospect. By his senior year of high school, most of his opponents were too intimidated to heckle Meno in the least.

Knowing his ability to overcome adversity and criticism in the past, I continue to believe that the forward gives Davidson a very dangerous weapon, both potentially and actually. Despite what most people perceive, Meno actually had a nearly identical three-point shooting percentage with fellow big man Thomas Sander. Even though Meno did not put up block numbers comparable to All-SoCon forward Kyle Hines, Boris’ leaping ability always factored into opponents’ minds when they enter the lane. Meno’s ability to elevate over opponents, even when they had better position, led Davidson to outrebound its competition by 220 boards over the course of the 2006-2007 season.

Also, Boris plays the game in a way that is authentically exciting. He works on his dunks after practice. He knows how valuable big plays are to a team’s momentum and a crowd’s excitement level.

When this whole four-year experiment is done with next May, we might be able to say that Meno did bite off more than he could chew. Maybe the talk of potential was just a little too premature for a player that has only been playing the game of basketball since the end of middle school. But maybe Meno will overcome the occasional groans about a botched play and finally fill every single inch of his massive 6’8” frame. He has one more season to elevate his game and work towards his ultimate goals of winning in the NCAA tournament and playing professional basketball. Don’t sleep on Boris.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Player Profiles: #2 Jason Richards

This series of player profiles begins with perhaps the most underrated and overrated player on this team: Jason Richards. Richards came to Davidson as a highly touted point guard out of Illinois. He made up a third of one of the most important recruiting classes in recent Davidson basketball history. Yet, if you were to watch practices throughout Richards’ freshman year, you never would have thought that this guy would eventually become one of the top assist men in Davidson history.

Richards was often unfocused during his freshman campaign, and the Davidson coaching staff’s tough-as-nails approach often drove Richards into sloppy mistakes. Despite his unlimited potential, Richards struggled to operate within Davidson’s schemes and he saw very little action in his first season.

With all of the Wildcat backcourt returning for his sophomore season, there seemed to be little hope of Richards seeing greatly increased court time. However, the 6-2 point guard stayed around Davidson during the summer and worked on focusing his game and proving his worth. By the beginning of the 2005-2006 season, Richards was an invaluable backup to the foul-proned Kenny Grant.

Richards really stepped into the limelight during a holiday game against St. Joseph’s. Despite having to leave the court mid-game because of food poisoning, Richards poured in a career-high 13 points in only 11 minutes of play after Kenny Grant fouled out. Eight of his points came in the overtime period, including a steal and transition three-point play that put Davidson up for good. Richards showed why he would later become one of the team’s core floor leaders and Charlotte Observer beat writer Kevin Cary’s favorite player.

Richards completed his sophomore season in impressive style, effectively backing up Kenny Grant and finishing with 92 assists against only 42 turnovers. His ability to stay calm in pressure situations was still in question, however, after Richards gave up several key turnovers in the second half of Davidson’s seven point loss to Ohio State in the NCAA tournament.

However, with Kenny Grant graduated, Richards returned for his junior season with high expectations. He went on to set a school record for most assists in a season (249) and finished second in the nation in average assists per game (7.32). Hardcore Davidson fans around the region credited Richards with being the offensive and defensive cornerstone of Davidson’s record-breaking success. It was even obvious to ESPN and CBS announcers that Davidson suffered more when Jason Richards was riding the bench than when Stephen Curry took a breather.

Yet despite all of the accolades, Richards was never the flashy superstar of this team. Some of his biggest plays during the season came when he was knocked to the floor after aggressively driving to the hole. Commentators were always surprised with Richards’ “deceptive speed,” which was just their euphemism for saying that a white player was beating his black defender down the court. Even all of the praise and admiration of his own fan base could not make Richards’ national image correspond to his superstar numbers.

“I don’t care if other people are getting attention or I’m getting attention,” said Richards after a home game. “I like being to play my style of basketball no matter how it looks.”

If Richards continues to play his style of basketball next year, he could go down as one of the best point guards in Davidson history. His numbers could reach astronomical levels in national rankings, and yet Richards doesn’t care if he isn’t a household name around the region. He’s got two NCAA tournament losses to avenge, and he wants to be the first Davidson point guard in over 35 years to lead the Wildcats back into the winner’s circle.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Back to the basics...

While I know that many of you have been absolutely intrigued by my scattered thoughts on the random events of the larger sports world (cough), I think that is in everyone's best interest that I get back to the bread and butter of this blog: Davidson Men's basketball.

Obviously, my coverage of the team has slowed down since the season ended, but I think that it is important to keep up the momentum throughout the summer. For the next 13 days, I will profile all 13 Davidson men's basketball players, including new recruits Brendan McKillop and Aaron Bond.

At the end of that time, we will be right in the midst of Davidson basketball camp where the stars align and Davidson basketball legends of past and present take center court after dark and play pick-up games long into the night. Be on the lookout for several stories from those games and from camp in general.

Does Donovan deserve a second chance?

When Billy Donovan signed a contract to coach the Orlando Magic last Friday, I was skeptical as to the success and length of tenure that he would have in Orlando. By the end of the weekend, my skepticism was fulfilled when information leaked out that Donovan was in talks with the NBA about getting out of the contract.

Halfway through this Monday morning, all of the same Donovan critics posted commentary and criticism all over the internet with the same "I-told-you-so" rhetoric. I'm not denying that I thought that Donovan would have second thoughts, but I certainly don't think that Donovan deserves all of the negative criticism that has been heaped upon him.

In the last year, I have written several scintillating critiques of Gregg Marshall's behavior in backing out on the College of Charleston and abandoning Winthrop for a better contract. However, after looking back on those situations and seeing Donovan's predicament now, I believe that more factors need to be taken into account outside of just the individual coach.

While sports are a business just like any other, with job turnover akin to most industries, I do think that the institutions need to take more responsibility for the luring and firing of their coaches. Expectations of success are so incredibly high right now that personal needs of community, location, and work environment are often suppressed and ignored.

Then, all of a sudden, the media catches a high-profile instance of hastiness to find the right professional situation and we all grill Donovan. Should he have signed the contract if he didn't have a full idea of the repercussions? Probably not. However, I believe that the media probably shed light on and created more repercussions than even Donovan himself could have anticipated.

The more interesting plotline of this whole situation will be the decision of the NBA and the Magic regarding Donovan's request to be released from his contract. If they decide to let him out, that would set an ambivalent precedent within the pro basketball world. Maybe Donovan should have just gone to Kentucky to begin with.