1. Who will be the fifth starter?
The starting four are all but locked down with senior forward Lavoy Allen, junior guard Juan Fernandez and junior center Micheal Eric returning as starters and junior guard Ramone Moore securing a starting spot, but after that, things get tricky. The fifth starting spot could change from game to game. Junior guard Scootie Randall may start, but so could sophomore forward Rahlir Jefferson and sophomore guards T.J. DiLeo and Khalif Wyatt. Freshman guard Aaron Brown has been impressive in practice thus far and may sneak in the starting lineup at times.
2. Who will back up Lavoy Allen and Micheal Eric?
Should Allen or Eric enter foul trouble or go down with injury, the Owls’ options appear to be limited in the big man department. With senior forward Craig Williams out with a foot injury for the first month of the season, 6-foot, 6-inch Jefferson and 6-foot, 9-inch freshman Anthony Lee appear to be the primary options as back-up power forwards. The only other players with any kind of size don’t figure to be a factor in the Owl’s gameplan. Freshman forward Jimmy McDonnell may be 6 feet, 10 inches tall, but he is expected to redshirt, and the 6-foot, 9-inch Dutch Gaitley isn’t expected to see much time on the court. The team will likely be playing small ball.
3. Can Lavoy Allen improve his scoring ability?
Allen has already proven to be one of the better players in the Atlantic Ten Conference, and the nation, with his rebounding and defensive ability, but more is expected from him offensively. Allen, who is on the Wooden Award watch list, was already averaging 11.5 points per game, but he will need to be more aggressive in the paint and outside scoring to complement Fernandez’s game to become one of the marquee players in college basketball.
4. Can the Owls play Goliath?
Despite winning back-to-back A-10 championships, the team entered the 2009-10 season in fifth place in the A-10 preseason poll. That’s not the case this year as the Owls are predicted to finish first in the A-10. One team looking to knock the Owls out of the catbird seat is Richmond, a team that seeks revenge after it lost by four points to the Owls in the A-10 championship game. Returning to the Spiders is their leading scorer, senior guard Kevin Anderson, who averaged 17.8 points per game last season.
5. Is a fourth-straight A-10 championship possible?
Theoretically, yes. This roster remains mostly intact even with the departures of program mainstays Ryan Brooks and Luis Guzman. The scoring is still there with Fernandez and Allen leading the way, and Allen and Eric will continue to deliver on the defensive end of the floor. It may take a few games for the supporting cast members to settle into their respective roles, but once things start to click, this team could make it four straight.