The Gannon roster is set. But what will be the playing rotation? Only John Reilly knows. Well, actually he doesn't even know yet, but we can speculate. One certainty is that the key players will be different from a year ago. Regulars Kelvin Agee (14.9 ppg, 37 threes), Travis Brannen (11.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Danard Crouch (7.1 ppg), Kareem Brown (5.6 ppg), Anthony Clagett (5.2 ppg, 49 assists), and Clinton Springer-Williams (1.9 ppg in 23 games) are gone.
Who will share playing time with F Stephen Battle (12.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg), PG Steve Piotrowicz (7.1 ppg, 68 assists), and Tanner Furno (6.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg), if the lanky junior has recovered from a reported shoulder injury? We know it won't be Urbana transfer Robert Wilson who will redshirt this year after his former school wouldn't grant him a release and the NCAA denied Gannon's appeal.
Here's my WAG at Gannon's depth chart for this upcoming campaign. I'll take the rampant speculation a step further by predicting how many minutes each will get. Because I haven't seen 7 of these guys play, this analysis is for entertainment purposes only.
PG: Piotrowicz (32 min)
SG: Shameel Carty (25), Oscar Macias (15)
SF: Battle (32), Alvin Tucker (8)
PF: Dmitry Martynenko (24), Darrell Blanton (10)
C: Bubby Johnson (28), Furno (12)
Left Out: Brandon Belt, Adam Blazek, Eisenman, T.J. Wilson, Robert Wilson (redshirt)
* I feel like I need to apologize to the Left Out crew. They could be reading this and think, "What do you know about me, Howdy Doody? I'm a player!" Sorry, guys, maybe you will get tons of playing time, but right now I have to put somebody on the bench. Reilly has never rotated 13 players before and he's not about to start this season. Those in my rotation are either returnees, redshirts who practiced with the team last year, or newcomers with very impressive DI, DII or juco resumes.
* You can see I'm missing 8 minutes from the rotation. That's because I have no clue who will back up Piotrowicz at the PG position. The scholarship guards on the GU roster (Macias, Belt, and Tucker) don't seem to be PGs judging by their stats (low assists). I'm not too worried about those 8 minutes because I think Piotrowicz will be logging nearly all the PG duties; 32 mpg may be understated.
* I would imagine that 2 SGs or SFs will need to redshirt to avoid a logjam at those positions. Tucker and Eisenman redshirted last year, so I don't think they'll do that again. Carty is a senior, plus he sat out last year after three super seasons at Clarion, so I'm doubting he'd stay on the sidelines again. That leaves Macias, Belt, Blazek, and T.J. Wilson as redshirt candidates.
* I think there's an outside chance of one PF or C redshirting. If Furno's shoulder isn't 100% -- and he'd like to stay at Gannon for grad school -- he'd be the most likely candidate in my opinion. Blanton redshirted last year which leaves him out of the running. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about Johnson, so I don't think Reilly would put him on the shelf this year as the Knights scramble to get back to the posteason. That leaves Martynenko, but do you want a productive (15.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg at his juco) big man who stands 6-foot-8 serving as Gannon's biggest cheerleader? So back to what I said at the outset: a PF or C redshirting is an outside chance.
* A couple Gannon fans have commented to me on the lack of freshmen in the recruiting class (one -- preferred walk-on Blazek). Since I'm speculating on playing time, let me speculate on why Reilly may be shying away from high schoolers. At my company (Jameson Publishing), we almost never hire kids just out of college though they are the majority of applicants for our jobs. We've learned this equation the hard way: college does not equal work. College requires you to attend 15-18 hours of class a week; work requires at least 40 hours of attendance. In college, 8 AM is early; at my company, 8AM means you're a half hour late. Nearly 100% of the college kids we've hired don't make the adjustment to the professional world. You just don't know how they'll handle work. I think Riles has learned the same lesson. In high school, playing time is guaranteed, the competition is easy, mom tucks you into bed every night, and you rule your basketball program. It's a whole new game in college, and you have no idea how a kid will adjust -- especially when his coach won't ever let you take a possession off. In practice. I think Reilly will still sign the occasional Battle or Furno, both exceptional in terms ability and work ethic, but the days of an unproven freshman "class" may be behind us.
Click here for the team photo of the 2011-12 Gannon Golden Knights: Front row (L-R) -- Shameel Carty, Anthony "T.J." Wilson, John Eisenman, Steve Piotrowicz, Adam Blazek, Alvin Tucker, and Brandon Belt. Back row (L-R) -- Darrell Blanton, Robert Wilson, Dmitry Martynenko, Dytanya "Bubby" Johnson, Tanner Furno, Stephen Battle, and Oscar Macias.