Preview: Bethune-Cookman

Wildcats will struggle to replace five key departures from 2012-13

Updated: October 17, 2013, 11:13 AM ET
By Craig Powers | ESPN Insider

2013-14 MEAC Projected Standings

1. North Carolina Central | 2. Norfolk State | 3. Morgan State | 4. Hampton | 5. Savannah State | 6. Delaware State | 7. Coppin State | 8. Florida A&M | 9. North Carolina A&T | 10. Bethune-Cookman | 11. Maryland-Eastern Shore | 12. Howard | 13. South Carolina State
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Bethune-Cookman Wildcats

2012-13: 14-20 (7-9)
In-conference offense: 0.95 points per possession (4th)
In-conference defense: 0.96 points allowed per possession (9th)

The 2013-14 edition of the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats will hardly be recognizable to those who followed the previous season's squad. Head coach Gravelle Craig is losing four seniors who logged significant minutes, and a junior who decided to test the professional waters. That group also leaves with nearly everything that defined Bethune-Cookman this past campaign.

Projected starting lineup

Pos. Name Year
Travis Elliott
Barry Smith
Malik Jackson
Mikel Trapp
Ricky Johnson

On offense, the Wildcats excelled at two things: taking care of the ball and getting to the free throw line. The departing backcourt combo of Adrien Coleman (60.6 FTR, 17.3 TO Rate) and Kevin Dukes (15.6 TO Rate) leave some big shoes to fill in those areas.

Junior Ricky Johnson will once again assume the primary ballhandling duties, but he lacks the offensive aggressiveness of Coleman. Malik Jackson and Mikel Trapp will join Johnson at guard, but both have been role players in the past and neither gets to the line at a high rate. Junior college transfer Maurice Taylor should also see plenty of time on the court.

Defensively, no MEAC team cleared the glass better than Bethune-Cookman last season. The bulk of the players responsible for that rebounding has graduated, and the onus will be on transfers Travis Elliott (High Point) and Barry Smith (The Citadel) to pick up the slack. Neither rebounded well at their last stop.

With so much turnover, Bethune-Cookman will take a big step back in 2013-14. As such, the Wildcats likely will fall toward the bottom of the conference and fall well short of last season's seven league wins.

Projected 2013-14 conference finish: 10th


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