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Scouting Charleston Southern

The moment we've all been waiting for nearly has arrived. Friday night, the Maryland men's basketball team will host Charleston Southern in its regular season opener at Comcast Center. The Buccaneers reside in the Big South Conference and went 9-20 last season. Though CSU lost two key contributors when Omar Carter and Tovi Bailey transferred out of the program during the offseason, fifth-year Coach Barclay Radebaugh said in a phone interview earlier this week that he remained confident his team was capable of moving forward.

"Ah, it didn't affect us at all," Radebaugh said of the two departing transfers. "This is our deepest team. This team has just a tremendous attitude and they really love to work. They love to practice. I know we've got our work cut out for us, but this team's attitude kind of set us apart. They enjoy coming to practice. Our chemistry is the best it's been, and so those transfers haven't affected us a bit."

That might be a little bit of Radebaugh's perpetual glass-half-full worldview*, but hey, it's the beginning of the season so there's no proof to the contrary. Yet.

*Carter was the teams' second-leading scorer (13.3 ppg) and top rebounder (7.9 rpg), while Bailey contributed 5.9 points per game and ranked third on the team in assists (2.7 apg). How could the absence of these two players not affect the Buccaneers?

What CSU does have coming back is a talented point guard and two hyper-athletic wing players. Should the Buccaneers be able to avoid the injury bug that plagued them last season, they'll be equipped to operate the up-tempo offense Radebaugh desires.

Junior Jamarco Warren (5-foot-11, 165 lbs.) is shifting over to the point guard position after spending his first two seasons at the shooting guard spot. In 2008-09, Warren was a proficient scorer (he led the team in scoring with 17.8 ppg) and a decent three-point shooter (39.8 percent). So far, Radebaugh said, Warren's adjustment to his new position is going well.

"We've asked Jamarco to become a complete player," Radebaugh said. "We've asked him to defend better, to look to get his teammates some shots, to not just concentrate on one aspect of the game but to become that complete player, and he's responded very, very well. He's really taken to it, and I think the light's come on for him a little bit."

Warren's move was necessitated by the presence of incoming transfer Stanley Honorat (6-foot-3, 180 lbs.), who played shooting guard at Indian River Community College for the past two seasons. Honorat led Indian River in scoring last year (16 ppg).

Honorat "has the ability to score in unique ways," Radebaugh said. "He's got a good mid-range game, which is a little bit of a lost art. You don't see that too much anymore. He shoots the ball just well enough from the three that you have to respect that. He's athletic, so he can get out in transition and run. Usually, those kids can get a tip-in, they can hit a mid-range shot and knock in a three, hit a couple of free throws and all of the sudden they've got 10, 12, 14 points."

As for the role of sophomore forward Kelvin Martin (6-foot-5, 207 lbs.), Radebaugh drew a football analogy. Martin, he said, will be CSU's equivalent to the running back in Wildcat formations.

"Kelvin can play the one (point guard), the two (shooting guard) or the three (small forward), and we use him in a lot of positions," Radebaugh said. "He's the best athlete in our league, and when he went out last year it really affected us."

Martin ranked third on the team in scoring last season (9 ppg), though he missed five of the team's final six games due to injury. He led the Buccaneers in steals (34). Martin also ranked second on the team in rebounding (6.9 rpg) and blocks (24).

CSU's frontcourt will consist of senior center Billy Blackmon (6-foot-10, 205 lbs.) and redshirt freshman forward Kenny Mitchell (6-foot-7, 234 lbs.). Both missed considerable time last year due to injury. Blackmon broke his forearm and missed the final 18 games of the season. Mitchell missed all of last season after being diagnosed with a heart virus.

Blackmon averaged 2.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last year. He possess a 7-foot-5 wingspan, according to Radebaugh. Mitchell averaged 16 points and eight rebounds as a senior at Columbia High in Decatur, Ga.

"For our level, he just changes shots around the rim," Radebaugh said of Blackmon. "Within our league and within mid-major basketball, he's effective. Not a real overly efficient scorer, but his ability just to change shots and to run and to rebound really helped our team and we really missed him when he was out. Kenny Mitchell also would have started in that position for us last year as a freshman and we lost him for the entire year too, so we feel better about our inside production just having those two guys healthy."

Off the bench, the Buccaneers will bring sophomore forward Joel Lamb (6-foot-7, 195 lbs.), who averaged 5.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season. He shot 43.4 percent from the field. Senior forward Quinton Goods (6-foot-9, 225 lbs.) also gives CSU some size off the bench. Redshirt freshman guard Glenn Self (6-foot-0, 180 lbs.) and junior guard Austin Johnson (6-foot-3, 195 lbs.) will spell the backcourt. Also look for freshman center Patrick Shaughnessy (6-foot-9, 238 lbs.) to get some playing time.

"What we want to do (against Maryland) is we just want to compete," Radebaugh said. "We know that this is a big time task ahead of us. We realize how good they are, but I wanted a game like this. I just want our guys to compete. Winning or losing, obviously, we want to try to win, but just the opportunity to compete against such a quality team and such a quality coach is good for our program. If we can bring an intensity level and just try to compete and do the things that we do well, then this game will be a success for us. The point outcome is not as important to me as using this as an opportunity to get better."

By Steve Yanda  |  November 12, 2009; 10:02 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Williams: No update on Gregory


Sooooooooo, signing day?

Posted by: Colm1 | November 12, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The only news of note that I've found from signing day:

The Memphis Commercial Appeal and reported earlier today that Miller School (Va.) center Hippolyte Tsafack committed to Memphis and is expected to sign during the fall period.

Tsafack, a powerfully-built forward with a developing skill set, is a three-star prospect according to both Rivals and Scout. National Hoops Report ranked Tsafack as the No. 5 “sleeper” of the July recruiting period. He visited Memphis and Maryland in October before making his decision.

Maryland's focus remains on St. Anthony (N.J.) forward Ashton Pankey, who will make his decision after visiting Houston this weekend.

Posted by: fushezzi | November 12, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

How can a dirty ass program like Memphis and an even dirtier coach like Callipari come out of this unscathed? No real penalties and Memphis goes on recruiting and Callipari gets PAID at Kentucky. What a joke.

Posted by: lavar609 | November 12, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

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