Note: I'll assume for the purposes of this discussion that we do not land another big (though I think we almost certainly will)
So let's lay out the rotation:
Bench 2: Stoglin
Bench 3: Parker
Bench 4: Howard
Bench 5: Pankey
There is our 10 man rotation-- follow me below the jump for my thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses and how this team will look.
Plan and simple we will struggle-- at least in the early going. To me the burning question is what kind of play do we get at the point. We know that Gary's preference will be to play Bowie there, given how much Bowie has played there this year despite his lackluster performance at the 1 (I actually think bowie is a more natural 2). We should be able to score inside with JWill and Dino next year (Dino has actually impressed me as of late with his touch around the basket and his long arms), but the question is will our guard play be steady enough to get the ball inside early and often without turning the ball over. The good news is that we should continue to be able to knock down the three, as both Howard and Stoglin can flat out shoot it from 3 according to scouting reports. Additionally, Cliff can knock a 3 down with regularity--hopefully Bowie can add that to his game next year.
You are kidding yourself though if you think this team will excell in the half court sets with at least 4 freshman and 2 sophomores in their rotation--and 3 seniors who have been only role players in their time at CP. You are also kidding yourself if you don't see any potential for an excellent fast break next year. Bowie and Tucker are both excellent in transition, and Dino can really run the floor as can JWill (surprisingly for his size). Add a sharpshooter in stoglin and you have the makings of an effective transition offense. This brings me to the defense, because you can't play in transition if you aren't getting rebounds and turnovers.
To me the burning question is how effective this team will be able to press. Next year's team will feature a 10 man rotation, compared to this year's 9 man rotation (and really only 8 guys get consistent minutes), meaning that we will have one extra body. This has practical consequences--you need to have bodies to press. One key to the press will undoubtedly be how quickly some of our longer atheletes (Pankey and Parker) are able to progress--having their length could give opponents fits in the backcourt.
In the half court--we should be a better all around defensive team next year. JWill should be able to hold it down in the low post--and with all due respect to landon, our rebounding might just improve without him as more natural PFs take up his minutes next year. Our on ball defense should be vastly improved as both tucker and bowie are athletic with quick hands--a stark comparison to GV and Eric Hayes. Also, adding Pankey--gives us some length so that teams can't just throw it over the top of JWill all day like some opponents have been able to do to us this year.
Overall prediction: We start off slow--and I mean real slow--with some bad losses. Most of you will lose your heads and start indicting the program. Just as the angst in the fanbase reaches the boiling point--that is by mid-acc season--this team starts to come together with the freshman having a better undesrtadig of their role and the system. It should be a season either right on the bubble for most of the way, or slightly off the pace of bubble teams. Being in the NIT might be the best thing for next year's squad--and making a deep run in the NIT next year could set us up to seriously compete in 2011.
I think 2011 is the year that--if our recruits are as good as we think they are--we are a top 10 team.