Kevin Keatts is gone.
He is no longer pressing the rest of the Colonial into submission from the UNCW coach’s chair. UNCW went and hired Roy Williams assissant coach C. B. McGrath. In his second year, he has three returning starters playing for him at the beach.
The main attraction is double-double machine Devontae Cacok. He is joined by Florida Atlantic transfer Jeantal Cylla. Guards are Sophomore Jay Estime, who has led the team in scoring the last two games, junior Jaylen Fornes, who only played 9 minutes in the last game and freshman, pass first point guard, Kai Toews. If Fornes is hurt, there is very little drop off with either sophomore Ty Gadsen or junior Ty Taylor.
With a big switch in styles, (McGrath does not press), UNCW struggled in year one. Even in light of that, UNCW had a horrific start to this year. With freshman point guard Toews improving, UNCW entered conference play on the upswing. It carried over to conference play as Toews had 12 points and 14 assists as UNCW got within one before losing 73-66 to College of Charleston. UNCW then went on the road and won both games versus struggling James Madison and Towson. Thursday they were walloped by improving Delaware 82-69.
The problem with a Roy Williams assistant is he can not recruit Roy Williams type players at UNCW. Without elite players, Roy’s style, or whatever you want to call it, fails miserably. Athletic directors all think that they can create the next Gonzaga. In the current market with the current rules, it is not happening. Mid majors need to recruit to fit the coach’s system. They need to allow players to develop both their own talent and chemistry with each other. McGrath does not have the athletes to play Roy ball. His team does not defend. The outlook is bleak.
Drexel got good news in last on multiple fronts. Not only did the game feature the return of Kurk Lee, and Troy Harper’s quick and complete recovery, but also it was a shocking win at College of Charleston, breaking C of C’s 22 game home winning streak. Lee gives Drexel some badly needed depth. His return allowed Wynter (who had foul trouble) to play fewer minutes. It gives the Dragons another scoring threat. It’s huge.
With the exception of the William and Mary debacle, Drexel has played very well in conference. With Lee getting more minutes, Drexel should even improve a bit. UNCW has a monster player in Cacok and potentially an excellent point guard in Toews. However, the talent is limited and the coach is shaky. They do not play defense. This is a huge game for UNCW. They are 2 and 2 in conference but play the top 3 the next 3. This game could decide who is in the play in round in the CAA come March.
Big game or not, I think UNCW has hit their peak. Drexel for sure has not.
Drexel 78 UNCW 72