October 8 marked the annual Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Media Day. On this day the 12 league coaches met at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York to dicuss all the preseason predictions. Coach Dr. John Giannini had a lot to say on this upcoming season.
The new additions to the Atlantic 10 Conference:
Coach Giannini is very proud of the A10 Conference and feels the league as a whole has continued to get better. With new-comer George Mason Giannini stated, “I would compare George Mason to any of the teams that we lost. George Mason is already a top 100 team in my mind.”
Giannini feels the A10 is a very deep league with lots of talent. To him losing a few teams in the conference doesn’t matter with the number of improving basketball programs out there. One of the things Giannini likes about the A10 is how competitive it is and how a team that takes 10th could still be playing in the NIT.
Being Ranked third in the A10:
“My thoughts on being third are the same as if we were picked 14th; it doesn’t matter. We don’t win games in polls,” said Giannini. That being said, Giannini still has a high level of optimism towards the season.
The keys for La Salle this year will be staying healthy and the ability to win close games. Giannini mentioned how last year the Explorers were 6-1 in games that went down to winning in the last shot.
Lowdown on the Players:
Coach Giannini supports all the preseason hype about Tyreek Duren. “He’s unique in his consistency and poise; I would not want to play without him.”
Steve Zack is said to be getting stronger and his role on the court is expanding. After being injured during the tournament run last year he is completely healthy and has had no further issues.
Transfer Khalid Lewis has greatly improved according to Giannini, “He is a high level defender and a play maker.”
Jerrell Wright, who was named to the preseason all-conference team was described by Giannini as unstoppable. In practice he has been having success against Zack and Jermaine Davis making him a go-to guy on the court.
Freshman Amar Stukes is going to be redshirted for the 2013-2014 season unless someone gets injured, but in the years to come he will be a dominate force on the court. “He’s close to Tyreek Duren, which is saying a lot,” said Giannini.
Starting guards Tyrone Garland and Sam Mills are shooting better along with getting stronger and having more experience.
One rule in Basketball that needs to be changed:
“I would do away with the starting line-up introductions and instead introduce the whole team,” said Giannini. The coach claims that starting has become way too glamorous and in his eyes the starters are no more important than the people on the bench.
With La Salle being an all-veteran team, the starting line-up seems like no-brainer, but that just might not be the case. Currently at practice Giannini sees seven to eight guys who could be starting for the Explorers.
Coach Giannini did state that in the years to come he will not be replacing veteran players Mills, Duren, and Garland with freshman who’ve never played at the division one college basketball level. This leaves the door wide open for current redshirts and transfers and La Salle should expect more transfer players in the years to come.