What Position Will The Last Scholarship Offer Go To?

After the good Dr. and staff locked up their 3rd member of the 2013 recruiting class in Shane Whitfield, the only remaining question is what position the last available scholarship get allocates to.  The Big Three that is CJ McCollum, Gabe Knutson, and Holden Greiner are in their final year at Lehigh, so those mainstays on the court for the Brown & White won’t be with the team in the 2013-2014 season.  Below is a list of scholarship players who will be part of next year’s squad, organized by class (what year they will be next year).

Seniors

Mackey McKnight: 6’0

Anthony D’Orazio: 6’2

BJ Bailey: 6’3

Juniors

Corey Schaefer: 6’1

Stefan Cvrkalj: 6’5

Conroy Baltimore: 6’6

Sophomores

Devon Carter: 6’4

Jesse Chuku: 6’8

Justin Goldsborough: 6’8

Freshman

Austin Price: 6’3

Shane Whitfield: 6’6

Tim Kempton: 6’8

Despite the graduation of CJ McCollum, guard play should still be a strength for the ’13-’14 Mountain Hawks. For starters, Lehigh will have a 4-year starter at the point in Mackey McKnight, who will have the ball in his hands at all times in order to orchestrate the offense. Surrounding Mackey will be classmate BJ Bailey, who if he shows improvement from the level he was playing at last February and March, will surely have an impact role in his last two years in Bethlehem. If Lehigh again rolls with 3 guards, BJ can play the 2 or the 3 because of his athletic ability and length. Another guard and classmate of Mackey’s is Anthony D’Orazio, a two-guard who has shown the ability to score in spurts off the bench in his first two years at Lehigh. Next year’s junior class has two guards in it, with a pure point guard in Corey Schaefer and a shooting sniper in Stefan Crvkalj. Both were seldom used last year as freshman, but both showed enough in limited action to make one believe that each will have a role on this year and next year’s team. Schaefer will once again back-up McKnight, while Crvkalj could push for a bigger role in ’13-’14 depending on how his defense picks up and based on how he fares this year on the ’12-’13 team. Many around the Lehigh program are really high on current freshman Devon Carter, a highly ranked and versatile lefty guard out of Cleveland, he has a high upside as an athletic 6’4 off-the-ball guard who can play the 2 or the 3 for Lehigh if Reed goes small with 3 guards. When you throw in recent commit Austin Price who has a silky smooth game and who could take on a scoring role as a two-guard for Lehigh early in his career, the backcourt has endless options for ’13-’14. All in, next year’s team has 7 scholarship guards on it, and many of these players offer nice complimentary skill packages to one another. This collection of 7 guards, in my mind, absolutely has enough fire power to be a top backcourt in the PL in ’13-’14.

Four of the last six scholarships handed out by Reed and staff has gone to aiding and assisting frontcourt depth, as it should. The big question that I have is if there is someone from this 5 man unit that can fill the Knutson role of being an offensive threat in the paint. The ’13-’14 team needs someone who the guards can dump the ball down low to and feel comfortable that he will be able to execute one on one to get a high percentage shot off in the paint like we’ve seen Gabe do for the last three years.

As it stands right this second, the five frontcourt members that will comprise the Lehigh frontcourt in ’13-’14 have a combined 142 minutes of college basketball experience. Conroy Baltimore, who will be a Junior next year and who owns the entire 142 minutes of experience, is a long armed 6’6 rebounder, grinder, defender who needs to step up and carve out a role on this year’s ’12-’13 team. Conroy at his best, is a mini-Rodman rebounding stud that plays as an undersized 4, but not a guy you clear out for and let him operate offensively in the paint. To help out the ’12-’13 frontcourt Reed brought in Chuku and Goldsborough, who will be sophomores next year, but both have yet to suit up for a college game. While there is limited video of Goldsborough, Chuku is a hybrid forward who can get out and run in the transition game and hit outside jumpers, while showing some ability to break down bigs off the dribble and has shown some flashes of low post moves, but is clearly not a pure 5 that operates exclusively in the post. Goldsborough is a long 6’8 forward, but it is unknown if he has a back to the basket post-up game that Lehigh can consistently feed the ball to. Next year’s freshman class will bring two forwards to Bethlehem, in the 6’6 Whitfield and 6’8 Kempton. Whitfield, from videos posted online, appears to be more of a small forward, who likes to get out and run and attack off the dribble in transition. Kempton, who like Goldsborough has almost no video of him on the internet, has been discussed by analysts as a big man with a nice soft touch from 18 feet on in, but who needs to get stronger to be able to finish in traffic down low.

I see a super athletic group of 5 forwards for the ’13-’14 team that can cause some serious mismatches, but if the staff hasn’t seen enough in the form of post-up offense from summer and pre-season workouts in Goldsborough or on the recruiting trail with Kempton, they need to get a 5 man that can get up and down the court in this fast paced offense but who can also camp out down low and operate in the paint on the offensive end of the court. This would allow the remaining frontcourt members to slide back into their appropriate slots, and the frontcourt as a whole becomes much deeper.

As always, stay tuned folks!

One thought on “What Position Will The Last Scholarship Offer Go To?”

  1. Man, why can’t we get someone who can muscle and is taller than 6’10”? For us to take ‘the next step’ we need that type of player. I know it’s not easy getting that guy with the limited pool to fish in, but with Lehigh now getting some ‘cred’ in the basketball world, one would hope we could land a ‘big one’ soon!

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