As part of our Ridiculously Early 2013-14 previews, we look at how much production each team is losing, and how challenging it will be to replace.
This season, Eastern Kentucky head coach Jeff Neubauer thought he had a team that would win an OVC crown. Next year, there are a lot of people already thinking Neubauer’s team should win the title.
As good as this year’s team was, they’re losing just one player to graduation. He’s a starter, an all-conference player…and quite possibly the most reviled player in the league by fans; the OVC’s response to Marshall Henderson.
That’s not really meant to be a snide comment against Mike DiNunno. The senior seemed to relish the…er…attention. And in the last month of the year, he was almost as good as any guard in the league, and as confident as all of them.
|[Stats Per Game]||Points||Rebounds||Steals|
He may have been just one player, but DiNunno was responsible for one-fifth of the team’s scoring. (And at least 90% of the team’s 28-footers) Assuming Glenn Cosey can stay injury free, he can take up some of the slack, and Eric Stutz was impressive inside during the OVC tournament.
Even though the team isn’t losing much in the way of rebounding production, this is an area the team must get better in. Stutz and Corey Walden were out rebounded too often, although I admit the raw numbers are a bit skewed by how well EKU shot most of the year. (That being said, EKU didn’t fare much better in rebounding percentage, which somewhat strips that factor out)
DiNunno will be missed on defense, as he was good for almost two steals as a game, which more often than not led to easy points on the other end.
It’s easy for us to say EKU has the best team returning next year, but it’s going to take more than that to win an Ohio Valley Conference championship. It’s a good start, though, for a team that was a few plays away from making the OVC Tournament championship game this year.