I see there’s still a lot of speculation about the starting lineup for the College of Charleston this season.
Will Cougars head coach Doug Wojcik start true freshman Joe Chealey at the point guard or move Anthony Stitt to the PG and have Canyon Barry start the SG? Will it be Nori Johnson or some combination there of?
Honestly, I don’t think it really matters who’s out there at the start of the game.
Unlike last season when Wojcik essentially used the same starting lineup the entire season, the Cougars have plenty of depth all over the floor. I expect to see Wojcik use 8-to-10 players each night. A lot will depend on the match-ups, that’s what Wojcik is looking for. So, Barry or Chealey or Nori Johnson or David Wishon might get a lot of minutes one game and not so many the next. The Cougars have plenty of options and different lineup combination to pick from.
In the practices that I’ve been to, the top eight players appear to be (in no specific order) David Wishon, Adjehi Baru, Willis Hall, Anthony Thomas, Canyon Barry, Nori Johnson, Anthony Stitt and Joe Chealey. I think those eight guys will be the majority of the minutes. Theo Johnson and Jonathan Burroughs-Cook will also see their fair share of floor time, but right now, they’re on the outside looking in.
I see Wojcik using different starting lineups against different teams.
Against a smaller, less physical team, I can see him starting PG Joe Chealey, SG Anthony Stitt, SF Canyon Barry, PF Anthony Thomas and C Adjehi Baru. I know where’s Willis Hall? He can come off the bench. Barry is taller than either Thomas (6-7) or Hall (6-6) and having him at the three would be a mis-match for a lot of teams. Barry is listed at 6-6, but if Thomas is 6-7, then Barry is 6-8. He’s also very skilled, can put the ball on the floor and get past a 3-man from another team. It would also allow Thomas to step out and shoot his jumper against a slower post player.
Against a bigger team, he could start Wishon, Baru, Hall/Thomas with Stitt/Barry or Chealey in the backcourt.
You can tell that Wojcik is like a kid in a candy store with this team. Last year he was trying to replace a legend in Bobby Cremins and did everything in his power to accommodate those guys and try to make the transition easier for everyone involved.
Despite the fact that the majority of this team is still made up of Cremins’ recruits, Wojcik feels like this is his team moving forward.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the Cougars are going to turn up the defensive pressure. Already a very good defensive team from last year, the Cougars will use some full-court pressure this season. They’re deeper and more athletic, especially in the backcourt. Burroughs-Cook still needs to learn the system, but his addition will give Wojcik options defensively. He’s a good defender and very quick and realizes that playing good defense is his quickest way on the floor.
The Cougars will travel to East Carolina next Saturday (Oct. 26) for a scrimmage. This is a return scrimmage from last year. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
Next up for Wojcik and the Cougars will be basketball media day with the Colonial Athletic Conference. That’ll happen early next week with the preseason poll and preseason teams being announced. My guess is that Towson will be the preseason favorite, but the Cougars should be in the top-3 if not a favorite to win the league. Just looking at what people have coming back, the Cougars certainly should be in the mix come March. With the departure of Old Dominion, VCU and George Mason, I don’t see this league as being any different from the Southern Conference.
Here’s some early news out of the Louisville camp from the Louisville Courier-Journal. AAC Preseason Poll and Player of the Year.