Here is everything you need to know about Richmond men's basketball heading into Friday's season opener against James Madison.
The men’s basketball team finished the season 21-14 after losing in the quarterfinals of the NIT to the University of Miami last season.
The Spiders graduated Kendall Anthony, who averaged 16.4 points per game and finished fourth in all-time scoring at Richmond with 1,909 points. They also enter their season without Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, who added 6.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, and led the team in blocks with 45 despite sitting out a handful of games with an injury. Ododa transferred to Pittsburgh, where he is automatically eligible to play.
Junior guard Josh Jones was suspended indefinitely on Oct. 6 because of a violation of athletic department policy. Head coach Chris Mooney said Monday that Jones' status had not changed.
Redshirt senior forward Trey Davis and true senior forward Terry Allen pose as versatile threats for the Spiders. Davis, who averaged 4.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season, does not always appear dominant in the stat sheets but he has an impact on the game with his leadership and hustle. All eyes seem to be focused on Allen, who had 13 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game and led the team in steals last year. He also shot the ball 51.4 percent from the field, but struggled from deep range.
Other key players include redshirt junior forward T.J. Cline and sophomore ShawnDre’ Jones, who was awarded the sixth man of the year for the Atlantic-10 conference last season. Cline had 11.8 points per game last year and was 38.8 percent from the 3-point line, while Jones came off the bench with 10.3 points per game and led the team with 90 assists.
“I think that the experience of the team should help in every facet of the game,” Mooney said before Monday’s practice.
Mooney said that there were also some players that might be a surprise this season.
The Post Season, Offseason and Preseason
The loss to Miami in the NIT seemed to have a lasting effect on the team. Cline said that although it was great to make it to the NIT and experience that atmosphere, the team wanted to go to the NCAA tournament this year.
Members of the team stayed in Richmond this summer to take classes, lift and work out in the Robins Center.
“We were very hungry in the offseason,” Mooney said. “I think we had a great summer, maybe one of our best summers that we’ve had since we’ve been here...and a really good fall.” The competitiveness and hunger of the team is something that Mooney said he expects to grow as it starts the season.
Although the team scrimmages against one another in practice, it also had closed scrimmages against other teams throughout the preseason in which Cline said the starting five looked strong and the underclassmen showed what they were able to bring to the team.
Redshirt freshman guard Khwan Fore solidified a spot for significant playing time after proving himself in the preseason, but Mooney said that freshmen Jesse Pistokache and Julius Johnson would also see some time on the court.
JMU on Friday
Richmond will play James Madison University at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 in the season opener. Last season, Richmond lost at JMU by five points in scrappy and low-scoring game. But the Spiders were 16-4 on their home court.
Contact sports assistant Olivia Healy at firstname.lastname@example.org