With Moussa Gueye seemingly the final piece of the puzzle for the 2013-14 Valparaiso men's basketball team, we can now look at a projected depth chart for the Crusaders.
Gueye represents the final scholarship provided the rest of the team returns. As I noted yesterday, the Crusaders have had a player prematurely leave the program every year since 2001.
Let's take a look at a very early projection for the depth chart.
Center -- Moussa Gueye, Vashil Fernandez, David Chadwick
Power Forward -- Bobby Capobianco, Jubril Adekoya
Small Forward -- Alec Peters, Clay Yeo, (Alex Rossi)
Shooting Guard -- Lavonte Dority, Jordan Coleman, Nick Davidson
Point Guard -- Keith Carter, Lexus Williams
There are three major questions surrounding the team as the players begin to pack up and return home for the first part of the summer.
1. Alex Rossi -- I'm not putting Rossi in the depth chart because I'm still not convinced that he is healthy enough for basketball activities. Rossi didn't miss last season because of a broken leg or a torn ACL, he sat out because he had heart issues. I don't think those just go away. One needs to go no further than Reggie Lewis to think about how dangerous heart issues can be for a basketball player. I'm not a doctor and I don't know the diagnosis, but it strikes me as odd that even after Rossi was cleared to return to the court last season, he never played again. He was in uniform for the NCAA tournament game against Michigan State, but he never saw the floor. Maybe it was a ceremonious thing to have him dress one last time...or maybe he'll come back and be the best 3-point shooter in school history. Too many question marks with Rossi to count on much of anything right now.
2. Who starts at the point until Keith Carter is eligible? I think the clear answer is Dority, but I also wouldn't be surprised if Bryce Drew wanted to get some baptism by fire for Lexus Williams and/or Nick Davidson. I think Davidson projects to be more of a shooting guard, but Williams wouldn't surprise me as a player earning some key early season minutes.
3. How different will Valparaiso's offense be next season? With Gueye in the lineup and Capobianco now at the four, the Crusaders will have more height than they've had in years. That will change how the offense runs. I'm not saying the Crusaders will be trotting Raitis Grafs and Kikas Gomes out onto the floor, but the lineup will certainly have an early-2000's feel.
A couple other things to look at for next season...
* Will any of the freshmen redshirt? On paper all of these guys are studs...at least that's what the AAU and high school coaches would have you think. It's hard for me to envision any of these guys sitting out next season, but Drew likes to run an eight-man rotation and there appears to be at least 10 guys who could earn quality minutes.
* What will Jordan Coleman's role be on the team? No player paid a bigger price for Drew's reliance on the eight-man rotation than Coleman. How the senior bounces back from his benching in the latter stages of the season could go a long way to determining the success of the team. Coleman will undoubtedly be a role model (along with Dority and Capobianco) to the incoming freshmen and how he handles his role will shape the minds of the newcomers.