How do you replace 24.9 ppg???
That is the question facing Mark Gottfried and company as they try to make it back to the NCAA Tournament with out superstar TJ Warren, now in the NBA.
The good news is, they do have some talented holdovers in BeeJay Anya and Cat Barber.
They also have a very promising freshman class.
Nonetheless, the question remains, will it be enough to offset the loss of Warren?
When I watch the 6'9 300 pound Anya play, I can not help but reminisce back to former Miami C Reggie Johnson. Like Johnson, Anya is at his best when he uses his considerable girth. But also like Johnson, stamina is a concern. The Pack have a bunch of 3/4 tweeners to play next to Anya. Holdovers Kyle Washington and Lennard Freeman, long with freshman Malik Abu will all compete for PT upfront. The wing position should be split between freshman twins Caleb and Cody Martin. Both should be good players, once they acclimate to the college game. The back court is led by Cat Barber, who is as speedy as his name sounds. Barber has a good freshman campaign with 8.5 ppg and 3.5 apg, but more will be needed this season. Combo guards Travor Lacey, and Alabama transfer, and holdover Desmond Lee, can also run the point when Barber needs a breather. Ralston Turner is arguably the best returning scorer on the team, and should get plenty of shots this season with the absence of Warren. The key to the team though, is the anticipated improvements of Anya and Barber.
G Cat Barber - 6'2 185 So.
F/C BeeJay Anya - 6'9 300 So.
G Ralston Turner - 6'5 205 Sr.
What to Expect in 2014-15:
I think even with out Warren, the Pack will put a lot of points on the board led by Turner, Barber, Anya, Lacey, and the Martin twins. But as has been the problem with through out the Gottfried era, I question their defensive prowess. If Barber and Anya develop into stars, they may be able to overcome that. If not, they will lose enough shoot outs to remain in the middle of the pack in the ACC.
How they match-up with the 'Canes:
A far less talented Miami team then this one was able to go into Raleigh and defeat the Pack last season. They meet just once on 1/22. Expect a high scoring game. I think the game will be close but the Hurricanes will have more clutch players on their squad, and come out victorious.
Stay tuned for more coverage of 'Canes and ACC hoops as we count down to tip off.