November 27, 2021
  • November 27, 2021

Charleston College experiments with new look

By on October 22, 2021 0

College of Charleston freshman coach Pat Kelsey isn’t the Cougars’ only newcomer in 2021-22. The return of just three players makes this list one of the most unique in all of college basketball – so much so that it deserves its own label.

“We kind of called it the Great Experiment,” Kelsey said.

Brenden Tucker, Keegan Harvey and Osinachi Smart are the only vestiges of a season ago. With so much turnover before her first year, Kelsey and her team have covered all corners of the globe to find talent.

2021 South Carolina State vs Charleston – Men

The Charleston roster includes Australian additions in goalkeeper Reyne Smith, a representative from his home country at the FIBA ​​Under-19 World Cup last summer; and Babacar Faye from Senegal, who played at NBA Academy Africa.

“We had to go out and get a whole new team, which was a challenge. Our staff have done an incredible job, ”said Kelsey.

The influx of new players does not mean a lack of experience. The College is welcoming a variety of new faces to the transfer portal, including a trio of graduate transfers that Kelsey has called the “heart and soul” of Charleston’s 2021-22 goals.

Each of the three has a unique but impressive pedigree. John Meeks got All-Patriot League recognition at Bucknell a season ago, posting over 150 points in just six games.

Dalton Bolon was a three-time All-American Div-II at West Liberty, averaging 21.5 points per game in 2020-21. His explosive score should translate immediately to Div-I level, according to Kelsey.

Dimitrius Underwood completes the group. He could be Charleston’s answer to Duncan Robinson, a rare transfer to Div-III that has an impact in Div-I. Underwood is a two-time All-American Div-III who can play inside and on the perimeter.

The Cougars also added Nick Farrar of NC State, and Fah’mir Ali, a star last season for Radford.

All of these new components put together make this Charleston experiment clearly a chemistry experiment. Kelsey said the focus in the preseason has been on building “culture” and identity.

“The roles are slowly starting to be defined and the guys are breaking their asses,” he said.

Charleston has no shortage of potential scorers among the new group, and Kelsey’s former Winthrop teams suggest the Cougars will have plenty of possessions to create opportunities. The Eagles were ranked No.14 nationally in adjusted pace a season ago, No.36 the year before and No.16 in 2018-19.

Winthrop’s quick style relied on strong defense that kept opponents away from the offensive glass.

Charleston also managed to keep teams off the offensive boards last year, placing in the top 100 nationally, but the Cougars were abandoning fabricated baskets to limit rebound opportunities.

A change of style and a revamped roster will have plenty of chances to test his defensive courage before Colonial Athletic Association play begins. The Cougars face Oklahoma State and North Carolina in renowned non-conference games. They’re also heading to Furman, who has quietly touted some of the nation’s top infractions in recent years.

“The biggest goal is to do your best in March … give yourself the opportunity to play in the [NCAA] Tournament, ”Kelsey said of diving with a slate out of the tough league. “My mentor, Skip Prosser, used to say, ‘You can’t sharpen your teeth by eating oatmeal. “”


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