Tuesday, October 23, 2012
At 5:00pm on Friday October 12th, the 2012-13 La Salle Explorers held their first full practice, beginning the more than five month journey towards what will hopefully become their first NCAA appearance in over 20 years. Once again, most of the preseason prognosticators are undervaluing the talented and deep Explorers, picking them to finish anywhere between seventh and tenth in a very strong Atlantic 10.
Guards win in college basketball, and La Salle has arguably the most talented and deepest backcourt in the A10 and one of the best in the country. In addition to returning starters Ramon Galloway, Tyreek Duren, and Sam Mills and a healthy D.J. Peterson, the Explorers will add former Bartram High star and Virginia Tech transfer Tyrone Garland once the first semester ends on December 14th. Even more depth is provided by streak shooter Taylor Dunn and freshman walk-on O.J. Lewis who averaged double figures for D.C. area powerhouse Riverdale Baptist. Also on the roster is 6'3" combo guard and Delaware transfer Khalid Lewis who has to sit out the 2012-13 season due to transfer rules.
In the frontcourt, La Salle returns 6'8" sophomore power forward Jerrell Wright who is expected to have a breakout season after making the A10 All-Rookie team as a freshman. Preseason reviews of 6'11" sophomore center Steve Zack have been encouraging and there is a good chance he will take Earl Pettis' spot in the starting lineup as the Explorers will start out the season with a more traditional 3 guards, 2 bigs lineup. Also expected to contribute on the frontline are 6'7" redshirt freshman combo forward Rohan Brown, 6'9" true freshman center Jermaine Davis, and 6'10" center and Penn transfer Garvin Hunt. There will be no shortage of size and muscle on this year's roster to go along with the talented backcourt.
Coach Giannini will have lots of options in 2012-13. He can go small and play four guards or he can go big with Brown on the wing along with three big men. The Explorers will be a matchup nightmare for most teams.
The preseason fun continued with the Bill Raftery Open Practice and Reception on Friday October 19th and was followed by an open practice event held for the students earlier today.
The Explorers finally get to go up against someone other than themselves this Saturday as the Princeton Tigers visit Gola Arena for a closed scrimmage.
The following Friday, the general public will get their first look at the team as they face Canadian National Champions Carleton University. The Ravens already have three games under their belt, defeating Buffalo and Northeastern along with a close four point loss to a strong UNLV team. The Explorers will then open their regular season on November 10th in a special Homecoming appearance against Delaware who was picked to finish second in the CAA by the league's coaches.