By Paul Gotham
Dyshawn Pierre (Dayton) Hard to imagine a double-digit scorer on an Elite Eight team not being on the radar, but that is what happens when you run on a club which goes 11 deep and no one averages more than 13 points a game. The 6-6 junior-to-be forward can go with a jump hook from either hand over defenders in the lane and hit better than 40 percent (27-of-66) behind the arc. Also proved that he can convert from the free throw line when it matters most.
Mo Alie-Cox (VCU ) A BIG man (How big you ask? Joe Manganiello has the answer here.) who runs the floor well. Sheds defenders in the paint and can finish with either hand at the rim. Averaged 14.4 minutes a game for Shaka Smart’s club, but played 15 or more in seven of last eight games including 25 in A-10 quarter-final win over Richmond when he scored seven and grabbed 10 boards. Fits well on the back line of VCU’s pressure defense.
E.C. Matthews (Rhode Island) – Went mostly unheard of outside the Ocean State and A-10 inner circles in 2013-14 because URI limped through a minefield of unforeseen circumstances. A shifty guard who works well in tight spaces. Can go off the dribble and finish in traffic. Hit a touch under 35 percent (47-of-135) behind the arc. The young Rams will improve on their 5-11 conference mark (14-18 overall) and the A-10’s Co-Rookie of the Year will lead the way.
DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph’s) St. Joseph’s will be looking to the league’s Co-Rookie of the Year to pick up the offensive void left by the graduations of Langston Galloway, Halil Kanacevic and Ronald Roberts Jr. Bembry showed a knack for defending the top scorer of opposing teams something he developed while playing against an NBA guy during open runs at the Patrick School. His afro draws obvious comparisons to Dr. J and Ed Daniel, but his calm demeanor gives a nod to Linc (Clarence Williams III) of Mod Squad fame. Barclays Center’s Lenn Robbins note that like Linc’s favorite line, Bembry is “solid.”
Trey Davis (UMass) Junior-to-be netted less than 10 a game for the Minutemen but showed he can fill it up when he dropped double digits in six of eight including 19 (6-8 and 4-6 behind arc) at Dayton on March first. Led the Minutemen in 3-pt. percentage. Knows how to get inside and pull-up for the mid-range jumper. He was a valuable piece in transition for UMass being able to knock down open jumpers. Can Davis continue without Chaz Williams distributing?
Youssou Ndoye (Saint Bonaventure) Known well among the Reilly Center denizens this 7-0 center from Senegal dropped double digits in nine of last 13 games. Foul troubles prevented him from scoring more. Watch for him to develop his back-to-the-basket and short range game a la Andrew Nicholson and/or Hakeem Olajuwon.