Starters Lost: none
Key Returners: Daniel Dillon, Chris Rodgers
Others Lost: none
Key Newcomers: J.P. Prince
Seniors: Chris Rodgers
Juniors: Mustafa Shakur
Sophomore: Daniel Dillon
Freshmen: J.P. Prince
The tables above are sort of misleading because the job is Shakur's. Unless he struggles mightily this season the junior will play no fewer than 30 minutes a game.
For a guy who has started since his collegiate debut, Shakur has come under a lot of fire. He did not show drastic improvement last season and during a few stretched of the season the offense ran better with Salim Stoudamire at the point. That being said, Shakur keeps the offense flowing better than any guard on the roster. He has an understanding of who needs to be where and when. He may not wow you with huge scoring games, but generally, this team scores points when he leads the offense.
Two things Shakur really needs to improve upon are his scoring and his defense. He has great lateral quickness and length, but has struggled against small quick guards. He has not mastered the ability to use his length to compensate against the few players who are quicker. He's worked hard to improve his shooting, but needs to show this season that he can create his own shot.
Shakur is at his best on the run. There are few guards at any level who have better court vision in the transition game. When the Cats are running, you want the ball in the junior's hands. He is spectacular when the floor is wide open. It is when things start slowing down that he has struggled.
Although there are older players who have played the point, the plan is for true freshman to be Shakur's primary back-up. Prince is a lot like Shakur, only he's 6-7. Prince is a pass-first point with a great floor sense. His offensive game is still developing but he looked very good during pick-up games this fall. His shot looks better than it was on the AAU circuit, and with his length the runner looks like it could be a weapon.
If he picks up the system quick enough the plan is for true freshman J.P. Prince to be the primary back-up to Shakur. Prince has the size of a wing and the game of a pass-first point guard. He prefers to get teammates involved and is still a work in progress as an offensive player.
Where he could be a very effective player is on the defensive end. He's got the length of a small forward and takes pride in playing hard on defense. He's built like his cousin Tayshaun Prince, a very good NBA defender.
He is an okay shooter and has shown improvement over the past few months. His midrange game is improving and if he is just good enough on offense to keep defenders honest, that will really open things up for the Cats when he's on the floor.
If Prince is not ready to go, expect Rodgers and Dillon to compete for minutes at the point. Neither is a long term solution for the position, but both can hold down the fort to give Shakur a breather.