Team preview: Richmond

Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 18, 2006, 4:20 PM ET
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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

COACH AND PROGRAM

If you're inclined to be an optimist, the fact that all six of Richmond's incoming freshmen -- Steven Kendall, Brian Morris, David Gonzalvez, David Brewster, Kevin Hovde and Dan Geriot -- arrived on campus only weeks after their high school graduations, and worked out together all summer in the Robins Center, can be viewed as a promising sign for the future.

Spiders head coach Chris Mooney's first year on the job was a difficult one, marked by injuries, transfers and a disappointing 13-17 finish. The Spiders needed a boost in the off-season, and they appear to have received it from their exuberant freshmen.

If you're a pessimist, however, the fact the Spiders have six incoming freshmen is cause for major concern. If you include 6-6 red-shirt freshman Ryan Butler, out of Douglas Freeman High School in Richmond, first-year players constitute 50 percent of Richmond's 14-player roster. Combine those seven rookies with three sophomores and the Spiders are the youngest they've been since the 1994-95 season.

How did they fare that year, you ask? Not well. With three freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup, Richmond went 8-20. The Spiders followed that up with another 8-20 season.

Mooney is paid to be an optimist.

"I think that's terrific," Mooney said about the freshmen arriving early. "Guys being able to come in and get acclimated to their college campus and the college game. And being able to form comaraderie with other players. Hopefully it will be a jump start to their careers, and they can hit the ground running."

But there's a pessimistic tilt to his description of the makeup of his team. Mooney realizes that even in a rebuilding year, having 50 percent of the roster comprised of players who have never played college defense or been exposed to Richmond's intricate Princeton-influenced offense is not optimum.

"You don't necessarily want to be this young when trying to build a program," Mooney said. "But we just happen to have a very large freshman class.

"We think they are good players and can contribute. But it's a matter of dealing with inconsistencies."

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