(Photo via goccusports.com)
It’s no secret, the Chants don’t look like the team we’ve been used to seeing these past couple years. After back to back conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances, the 3-4 start to the season was not what the fans were hoping for. Losing seniors Josh Cameron and Warren Gillis proved to be a huge hurdle early in the season. Never the less, coach (and local savage) Cliff Ellis has gotten the team through that rough start and over the hump. The Chants are riding a five game win streak and they’re back in the hunt for one last Big South Title before they move up to the Sun Belt Conference.
From what I’ve seen this season, the most important player on the floor is big man Badou Diagne. He is an absolute monster and a dominant physical presence down low. Diagne is averaging 11 points and 7 boards per game. The big beast from Senegal definitely spent some time in the gym in the off season. At 6’7″ and 220 lbs, Badou is a huge asset playing big minutes in every game this season.
Team leader Elijah Wilson leads the team in scoring and has showed flashes this season where he can take over the game. Wilson shows that he has a rare ability to lead and make his presence known on the court at all times, something that a good team needs in their leader. However, I think that if the Chants want to keep their streak alive, something needs to change in the team’s offense.
CCU is great on the glass, but their lack of assists is a huge red flag. The Chants only average 13 assists per game, which is outside the top 200 of all D1 teams. They still have a solid record, so where’s the problem, right?
WRONG! The lack of assists is a byproduct of the isolation style offense that I have seen this season. Ask Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks if this has worked in the last 5 years. The Chants, like the Knicks a few years back, win when they shoot well, but on a bad shooting night, they are left without a plan b. They need to spread the floor and move the ball more in order to get open shots. Right now, they are taking a lot of tough, contested shots, which are proving to go in far less than the open looks they could be getting with more passing in the offense. Their skill level is carrying them right now, but I believe that they have a lot of untapped potential. What they do moving forward could make or break they’re farewell season in the Big South.
– R. Ilardi