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A Jerk’s Guide to the Wright State Raiders

PantherU has decided to forego the usual ho-hum season previews of basketball teams in the Horizon League, instead…well…we’re just gonna trash your team in the style of Deadspin (yeah, we’re not even covering up that we’re ripping them off). For years, PantherU has been second only to the Horizon League office in pissing off Horizon League hoops fans, and it’s high time we embraced the villain. It’s all in good fun, so don’t take it seriously and be ready to enjoy the previews. If you are a fan of a Horizon League team and you want to be a part of trashing your own team, feel free to send all to jimmy@pantheru.com.

The team: Wright State Convicts…er…Raiders

2014 record: 21-15 (10-6 Horizon League)

The coach: Billy Donlon, who is doing a remarkable job of looking more like an animated fraternity president and less like a basketball coach. If you are an AD for a day, and you need to hire a coach who could hold the other team to under 65 points and Bo Ryan isn’t available, Billy Donlon is your guy. If you are an AD for a day, and you need to hire a coach who will make the decision to kick a convicted criminal off the basketball team, you’re going to need to hire someone else. If you are an AD for a day, and you need to hire a coach who would bring back a convicted criminal to your basketball team a full 2 months after serving 19 days in prison for endangering a child, you’re going to need to hire someone else. Billy Donlon’s got basketball gamez tuh winn.

Dude can win. There’s no doubt about that. After a difficult 13-19 season in 2011-12, Donlon’s team rebounded from a 9th place pick to get all the way to the Horizon League Title game in each of the last two seasons.

The star: Who’s left? Reggie Arcenaux isn’t some default returning starter. He was one of something like 55 Wright State players in 2013-14 to score over seven points per game, which was actually his worst season. That had less to do with his talent and more to the point that Donlon’s team had the most evenly distributed points among teams in Division I. That stat involves 0% research, but then again I’m writing a SPORTS BLOG so I can make up stats. Like, since the end of the 2013-14 season, FOUR Raiders players have been arrested. Oh. I didn’t make that up? Okay. This Donlon guy still has a job?

Arcenaux, for those who didn’t notice him in the sea of other players who scored a bunch for the Raiders, is a speedy little spark plug, not unlike former Raider N’Gai Evans. Wright State is going to lean on him heavily this season, just one year after leaning on a whole bunch of players. But, here’s a list of players ahead of Reggie on the scoring list: Pacher, GONE; Vest, GONE; Dixon, GONE; Young, GONE; Darling, GONE; Yoho, remains at-large.

Could be worse: There could have been five players arrested this offseason (It’s not over yet!). Tavares Sledge could be coming back once he’s out for likely violating probation from the incident in September when Donlon found a gun in Sledge’s car when the latter was meeting his baby and baby-mama at the practice facility. If they need a post presence, who knows. It could happen. Sledge may learn the error of his ways. Fourth time’s a charm!

This is the worst: Is he gonna make fun of the rule-breaking? Nah. The worst thing about Wright State this season is that with only two strong returnees, Donlon-ball is going to go in full effect. That means grinding it down, fewer and fewer possessions per game, taking away the advantage that more athletic, stronger and more talented teams have by making it about opportunities.

It’s very similar to Bo Ryan’s brand of basketball, and ohmigod it’s BORING. I suppose Kendall Griffin and Chrishawn Hopkins (PRECIOUS) will be back, which could mean that it will just be their normal level of boring.

Look forward to: Continued references to Butler every time Chrishawn Hopkins enters the game. Other than having one of the most groan-inducing first names in college basketball, Hopkins turns the ball over 1.8 times per game, not exactly the worst thing in the world but definitely not the kind of protection he gives his PRECIOUS. Seriously. Am I the only person that thinks this guy looks like Smeagle?

How did he get kicked out of Butler, anyway? Was he not Butler enough? That may not be a bad thing. The Butler fans seem to be turning on Brandon Miller, who is taking a medical leave of absence. What kind of people are they? Oh well. It’s the Brand Spanking New Big East Butler Way.

Hey, how about that: You can’t say enough about good shooters, which is exactly what the Raiders have in Joe Thomasson. The juco transfer from State Fair Community College (I swear to god, look it up), he shot 40% from beyond the arc last season. Thomasson also got five assists per game, so the Raiders seem to have got at least one impact newcomer to shore up their roster from all the lost production.

The Raiders are getting picked for fifth in the conference, which I think is low. Let’s be honest – this team almost always exceeds expectations. How is that going to be any different? Wright State being better than expected is as predictable as Donlon overlooking crime to winn dem gamez. Sorry, had to, one more time. Cue Wright State fans taking this far more seriously than fans of any program.

What Wright State fans have to say:

 

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