For the La Salle Explorers, whomever will be playing forward this season will have a big job to do.
In a press conference after losing to Wichita State in the Sweet 16, coach (and Doctor) John Giannini stated the size of Wichita proved to be a problem for the Explorers.
If the team wants to make it back into the NCAA tournament, they will have to be prepared to face bigger teams like Wichita.
So who will be the starting power forward for the La Salle Explorers this season? It comes down to juniors Steve Zack and Jerrell Wright.
During the 2012-2013 season, Wright started most games with Zack being subbed in. After having a year of “learning,” per say, both should be more comfortable on the court and produce more results for this upcoming season.
Zack started out the 2012-2013 season playing more confidence than the previous season. He was making a presence on the court blocking shots and getting rebounds, something that wasn’t as prominent during Zack’s freshman season. Throughout the 2012-2013 season he averaged 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.
Right before the Atlantic-10 tournament the Pennsylvania native suffered an injury in his foot that caused him to sit out the rest of the season.
Zack was able to warm up with the team for the Wichita game, but Giannini kept him on the bench. Zack finished his season with 172 rebounds and 36 blocks.
Wright is a big threat to other teams in the A-10. During the 2012-2013 season he racked up a total of 229 rebounds and 34 blocks, averaging 6.7 rebounds per game. With Zack hurt, Wright really stepped up his game during the NCAA tournament. He shot 6-for-6 from the field and 9-for-10 from the foul line, scoring 21 points versus Kansas State. He also scored 16 points in 22 minutes in the game versus Wichita State. What was most impressive about Wright during this run was his consistency in shooting from the foul line, something that wasn’t always evident during the season.
A final option the Explorer’s have for forward is redshirt freshman Jermaine Davis. During his redshirt year Davis worked hard getting himself into prime basketball shape but the fact that he hasn’t seen any court time will work against him in trying to beat Zack and Wright for a spot on the court. But, being the second tallest guy on the team at 6-foot-9, Davis has the opportunity to be a big threat for La Salle in the years to come.
La Salle may be a fast team, but they still are comparably small. It will be up to Wright, Zack, and Davis to be more aggressive playing the boards and help defend their own basket for the 2013-2014 season.