Richmond, VA (WWBT)- While football season is in full swing, basketball season is just around the corner, and the Richmond Spiders are preparing to take the court after posting one of the best seasons in school history.
The Spiders finished 2010-2011 with a 29-8 record and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, where they fell to Kansas. Richmond captured the Atlantic 10 championship, but will need to fill some big holes left by premier scorers. Justin Harper and Kevin Anderson have both departed as the top two scorers from last year, leaving many points on the floor for other players to step up and score.
Several players will be looked upon to carry the torch for the Spiders. Four seniors grace the roster, including forward/center Darrius Garrett. He led the team with 59 blocks and played a crucial role off the bench last season, and is expected to be an even bigger piece to the puzzle this year. Francis-Cedric Martel returns as a forward. He started 18 games for Chris Mooney last year, posting 4.7 points per contest. Martel averaged 18.2 minutes per game, which is expected to increase this year.
Junior Darian Brothers is expected to shoulder a good part of the load left by Harper and Anderson. The Benedictine product posted 7.5 points per game last season as a sophomore, good enough for fourth on the team.
Mooney said Wednesday that his team is taking things day-to-day this season and keeping expectations inside the locker room. He does feel that defense will play a key role in this season's success and says that the Spiders have a chance to be a very good defensive team.
Highlights to this year's schedule include a trip to Cancun the week of Thanksgiving, a game at Wake Forest on December 3 and Richmond's annual match-up with VCU on December 10. The Spiders will travel to UCLA on December 23 and open up Atlantic 10 play at Charlotte on January 4. The Atlantic 10 Tournament is set to begin on March 6 at campus sites and will shift to Atlantic City, New Jersey, on March 9.
Richmond will tip off its season on November 11, when the Spiders host American at the Robins Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 pm.