Tuesday, October 26, 2010

USA Today Preview

The USA Today has posted a preview of the Southern Conference. Here is a portion of the UNCG section that article. For a good overview of all of the conference, give it a read.
It's a scary thought for UNCG fans. No longer in uniform is All-Conference forward Ben Stywall. Yet even with the conference's leading rebounder and eighth-leading scorer, the Spartans still finished 8-23.

That's exactly the detriment coach Mike Dement is facing in his 10th year in Greensboro. And without a turnaround this season, 2011-2012 may include a new coach.

No coach in the league has a hotter seat than Dement, a coach whose teams have struggled for consecutive seasons despite having some very good pieces to work with.

It led Dement to take a slightly different approach this offseason.

"We have done a lot of defensive fundamental work in the early individual workouts," he said. "But we still may have to be a little simpler in terms of that we put in and how quickly we put it in during this preseason."

The simplistic approach may be a good idea. UNCG has just one senior, fifth-year player Brandon Evans. The junior class is a little beefier, but essentially it consists of Elhanan Bone and a couple of junior-college transfers.

So it appears Dement is building a bridge for the future. Exactly how long he's a part of it, though, remains to be seen.

Not sure I agree with the article's assessment that Dement had plenty of pieces to work with the past few seasons. I think there were certainly some good Spartan players over the past several seasons. However, one the best UNCG teams in recent memory was derailed due to being in a conference with "Elite 8" qualifier Davidson. Also, Dement was forced to deal with some APR issues that were partially not of his fault.

I think it's important to point out to people that it takes several years to get mid-major programs in a position to even make an NCAA Tournament run (with the exceptions of a few places like Winthrop, Gonzaga, etc). After those good teams move on, coaches have to almost completely rebuild. Hopefully this Spartan team has the talent in place for it to be one of those tournament run seasons at UNCG.