Davidson finished the nonconference portion of its men’s basketball season with a 5-6 record.
Not good enough, says coach Bob McKillop.
“No one’s happy with that,” said McKillop, whose team opens Atlantic 10 play Saturday at Richmond. “We would have liked two more wins.”
It’s possible McKillop is being a little hard on himself and his team. The Wildcats played a tough non-league schedule, with games against ranked teams in North Carolina and Virginia, as well as a tough one at Nevada. Davidson also lost twice in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii this week.
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“We found out a lot about ourselves,” McKillop said. “We tested ourselves. Now we’ll see how we use that going into Atlantic 10 play.”
Here are five things we know about the Wildcats, who open their fourth season in the A-10 against the Spiders (2-10):
Taking care of the ball
As long as McKillop is coaching at Davidson, the Wildcats will play their free-wheeling, constant-motion offense. That’s been the case this season, with Davidson ranking seventh nationally in 3-pointers made per game (11.7) and 10th in assists per game (18.9). But the Wildcats are getting some extra benefit from how efficient they are with the ball.
Although they haven’t approached their 29-1 assist-turnover mark from a season-opening victory against Charleston Southern, Davidson remains second nationally in turnover-assist ratio (1.98), with chief ball handlers Kellan Grady at 2.9 and Jon-Axel Gudmundsson at 2.6.
Star of the future – or now?
Grady, a 6-foot-5 freshman guard, has been spectacular at times. He made 7-of-10 3-pointers against Charleston Southern, the first game of his career. He had a career-high 30 against Akron in the seventh-place game in Hawaii on Christmas Day. But then there was a loss against Appalachian State, in which Grady went scoreless. Those are the ups and downs that come during the freshman year of a player who seems headed for stardom.
The top 3-point shooter in the Atlantic 10 plays for Davidson, not necessarily a surprise for a program well known for its long-range marksmen.
Is it Aldridge? Grady? No, it’s senior backup guard Rusty Reigel, who has knocked down 62.5 percent (15-of-24) of his 3-pointers. That’s also good enough for third nationally, but it also begs this question: What’s up with Reigel’s 64.3 free-throw percentage?
The Wildcats will probably go only as far this season as senior forward Peyton Aldridge takes them. So far, he hasn’t disappointed, leading the team with 21.8 points (tied for tops in the league) and 6.7 rebounds per game. Aldridge routinely receives most of the opposition defense’s attention. Key for the Wildcats is for players such as Grady, Gudmundsson and Reigel to take advantage of that.
Injuries a factor
McKillop said sophomore forward Dusan Kovacevic, who hurt his knee in a victory earlier this month against Charlotte, will have surgery to repair meniscus next Wednesday. Kovacevic’s status won’t be known until after the operation. Also, senior forward Nathan Ekwu (knee) hasn’t played this season.
David Scott: @davidscott14