LaSalle head coach John Giannini said his team’s problem has never been a lack of talent, more so a lack of chemistry.
This year, the head coach expects the young Explorers to surprise a lot of people after a sub-.500 finish last season. If they are to do so, they’ll have to rely on youth. LaSalle returns only three seniors and only one of which saw significant time last season.
“Our chemistry is excellent. I like our kids. We’re obviously young, but we’re going to look at that as an opportunity more than anything else,” said Giannini. When you can win with young kids, it puts you in a position to make a good run.”
Along with senior guard Earl Pettis, the Explorers return talented sophomore guards Sam Mills and Tyreek Duren. Last season, Duren was named to the Atlantic Ten’s All-Rookie team as he averaged 9.8 points and 4.4 assists per game. His 62-steals set a school record for a freshman.
The Explorers also welcome highly touted recruit Jerrell Wright into the fold. The 6-foot-8 forward/center averaged 19.9 points and 14 rebounds a game last season at Dobbins while being named the top player in the Public League by the Markward Club.
“I think Jerrell is going to be one of the best freshman in the Atlantic Ten and I just love our group overall,” said Giannini.
Giannini said the program has gone out of their way to “recruit for character and chemistry.” In turn, this has been the “as enjoyable a group” as he has coached in his career.
In August, the Explorers traveled to Canada for three exhibition games against Canadian universities and went 2-1. In their lone loss Wright dropped 19 points.
“They just work hard and they’re extremely coachable” said Giannini. “And they get along great. There’s really not much not to like about this group. We’ve enjoyed working with them in the summer. We’re really excited.”
-Matt, firstname.lastname@example.org, @matt_breen on Twitter.