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Scouting Delaware State

Tomorrow night at Comcast Center, the Terps will take on Delaware State, a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference squad that already has played 12 games this season -- and has lost 10 of them. In the Hornets' defense, they have played a pretty tough schedule (more on that later today), which typically is the plight of lower level programs who are used as early season fodder for major Division 1-A teams.

Delaware State went 14-16 last season, including a 10-6 mark in conference play. The Hornets are led by ninth-year coach Greg Jackson, who spoke with me by phone yesterday evening about his team.

The Hornets are led by senior guard Donald Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 180-lb. native of Prince George, Va. Johnson was the team's leading returning scorer heading into the season and leads the Hornets with 11.6 points per game so far. Known for his outside shooting, Johnson is hitting 40.0 percent of his three-point attempts to date.

"We’re going to try to get him some open looks; we’re going to set a lot of picks to try and get him open," Jackson said. "He’s pretty much a catch-and-shoot type of guy and our offense is designed to get him the basketball where he’s open and can shoot it."

While Johnson might be the team's go-to shooter, Jackson said junior forward Frisco Sandidge (6-foot-6, 210 lbs.) has been Delaware State's most valuable player so far this season. Sandidge, a native of Lynchburg, Va., is averaging 11.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

"He’s undersized playing the post position," Jackson said, "but he’s quick and able to score on bigger people."

Sound like anyone you've heard of?

In the backcourt, the Hornets are led by sophomore guard Trevor Welcher (5-foot-10, 160 lbs.). Welcher led the MEAC in assist-to-turnover ratio last season (1.84), but has not gotten off to a great start this year. He has tallied 24 assists and 23 turnovers in the first 12 games.

"He’s struggling a little bit at this point," Jackson said. "He’s not comfortable with his role. His role has changed from last year. He’s in more of a leadership role this year and there’s so many demands on him that at times he’s struggled."

One player who has not struggled to make adjustments is Manhattan transfer Arturo Dubois. The 6-foot-8, 240-lb. senior forward is the MEAC's reigning defensive player of the week. He has recorded 24 blocks on the season to go along with averaging 9.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

"He’s given us something that we haven’t had in the last several years, and that’s an inside presence," Jackson said. "Extremely strong inside, scores well around the basket and blocks shots. I think with his presence inside, he gives us an opportunity to get down and get some easy buckets."

From the looks of things, Delaware State needs all the easy buckets they can get. The Hornets are shooting 31.4 percent from three-point range and 41.2 percent from the field. They are an adequate rebounding team that struggles to take care of the ball (114 assists; 212 turnovers).

By Steve Yanda  |  December 11, 2008; 7:33 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Tough Road For Hornets

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