Back to Basketball: Looking at Seattle, Maryland's First Opponent of the Season

The Seattle Redhawks are an interesting team when it comes to storylines. They're coached by Cameron Dollar, probably better known as the inbounder on the Tyus Edney play. They're in just their second year of being a D-I team, going a respectable 17-14 last year. They demolished Oregon State last year and later lost to Washington with just four men on the floor because everyone else fouled out. They were the second-fastest team in terms of tempo last year, which undoubtedly led to the ranking of 9th nationally in points per game. Their best player, Charles Garcia, who was the second most important player to his team last year - yeah, even above Evan Turner - went pro. And now they're welcoming seven new Redhawks to the fold.

Oh, and they play Maryland tomorrow at 8:00 in the Comcast Center to kick off the Terrapins' season. So yeah, we'd do well to talk a little more about them.

The loss of Garcia has the potential to be fatal for Dollar's squad. Garcia put up 18 and 8 at center and was, as indicated above, absolutely vital last year. He was the only reliable inside presence and easily the best scorer and rebounder on the team. A smattering of others, including starting guards Mike Boxley and Chris Gweth, have also graduated. Cervante Burrell returns at point guard and figures to be the team's best player: he's the leading returning scorer and led the Redhawks in assists last year, too. But only four others return from last year's team, and of those four only one - Aaron Broussard - was a starter.

Two more of the returnees, Garrett Lever and Gavin Gilmore, will likely become starters. Joining that bunch is a grand total of seven newcomers, led by transfers Mark McLaughlin, a 6-6 swingman from Baylor, and Sterling Carter, a 6-0 guard from Pacific. McLaughlin led the Redhawks in scoring in their first exhibition with 25; Carter was the newcomer to start in the exhibition. 

These guys run. A lot. Only VMI had a faster tempo last year and Seattle was substantially faster than run-happy Maryland. Dollar plans on going as far as ten-deep despite the youth and general lack of depth; in short, playing deep is crucial to the up-tempo type of game the Redhawks like to play. They'll run as much as possible and likely make liberal use of substitutions, even it means not having their proven guys in the game.

Of course, Maryland has the same plan, and they have the athletes to run the floor. If Dollar thinks that speeding up the game will work against the Terrapins, I'm not sure it will; Maryland already wants to run, and trying to consistently beat Sean Mosley and Dino Gregory down the court probably isn't going to work.

It's also worth mentioning that Seattle has no semblance of height. The tallest player on the team is Gavin Gilmore, a gangly 6-8 forward that received just 14 minutes a game last year. There's nothing in the way of experienced post players. If Maryland wants to slow down the game and funnel the ball through Jordan Williams, that option will be there.

In their first scrimmage, they shot 50% from beyond the arc. With Garcia leading the charge last year, that's not something they excelled at last year - they shot just 33% from deep and had an eFG% of 48.5% - but their success there in the scrimmage means that deep shooting is something to look out for.

Dollar has the Redhawks going in the right direction with recruiting and excitement around the program. Their situation is pretty similar to Maryland's: they lost three starters, including their best player, and are welcoming in a variety of newcomers. The only difference is that Maryland is in much better position to rebound from their losses than the Redhawks, who had less of a talent base and want to go deep but may or may not have the personnel to run the way they want to.

Every game against this type of team should be an easy win, and this one is no different. A team looking for leadership and depth that's just two years removed from D-II status shouldn't be too difficult to best in the Comcast Center. Expect a lot of points - both teams want to run - and, presumably, a lot of rebounds for Jordan Williams, who will be the biggest player on the court. No one knows exactly what to expect out of a young Seattle U team, but I'm skeptical that they'll be able to hang for too long.

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