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College basketball preview: Area team breakdowns

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Duquesne point guard Derrick Colter goes against Carnegie Mellon on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at Palumbo Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Duquesne point guard Derrick Colter goes against Carnegie Mellon on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at Palumbo Center.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - Robert Morris' Lucky Jones tries to steal the ball from Kentucky's Jarrod Polson. The Colonials beat Kentucky, 59-57, in the NIT on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at Sewall Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Robert Morris' Lucky Jones tries to steal the ball from Kentucky's Jarrod Polson. The Colonials beat Kentucky, 59-57, in the NIT on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at Sewall Center.

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By Staff Reports
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, 1:24 a.m.
 

Duquesne Dukes

2012-13 record: 8-22

Conference: Atlantic 10

Coach: Jim Ferry

Top newcomers:

Dominique McKoyF, 6-8, 215

• Ovie SokoF, 6-8, 225

• Tra'Vaughn WhiteG, 5-10, 190

• Isaiah WatkinsF, 6-7, 220

Storylines

Duquesne's roster was overhauled by its second-year coach, who replaced almost everyone his staff did not recruit. Only three scholarship players return: sophomore point guard Derrick Colter (13.5 ppg), sophomore forward Jeremiah Jones (7.7) and senior forward Jerry Jones (7.3).

The team parted ways with seven players who had eligibility left. In their place are seven newcomers and Soko, a transfer from UAB who sat out last season. The senior forward averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds as a junior at UAB. White led all junior college scorers last season (25.9).

The A-10 preseason poll picked Duquesne to finish last among 13 teams.

Penn State Nittany Lions

2012-13: 10-21

Conference: Big Ten

Coach: Patrick Chambers

Top newcomers:

John JohnsonG, 6-0, 175

• Allen RobertsG, 6-3, 214

• Geno ThorpeG, 6-3, 180

storylines

There are reasons for optimism at Penn State. The Nittany Lions aren't likely to join the conference elite, but they should be better.

Johnson, Roberts and Thorpe each figure to be a significant addition. Johnson is a transfer from Pitt but is not eligible until mid-December. Roberts was the leading scorer at Miami (Ohio) before transferring, and Shaler product Thorpe was the WPIAL's leading scorer in 2012-13.

One player who isn't technically new to the team is the most notable addition. Tim Frazier went into his senior year last fall as preseason Wooden and Naismith award candidates, but his season was over by halftime of the fourth game because of a ruptured Achilles tendon. Frazier was first in assists (5.6 per game) and steals (2.4) and second in scoring (19.6) in 2011-12 Big Ten play.

Pitt Panthers

2012-13: 24-9

Conference: Atlantic Coast

Coach: Jamie Dixon

Top newcomers:

• Jamel ArtisF, 6-7, 230

• Josh NewkirkG, 6-1, 185

• Derrick RandallF, 6-9, 240

• Joseph UcheboC, 6-10, 260

• Mike YoungF, 6-8, 245

Storylines

The Panthers will play their inaugural season in the ACC with a revamped roster after losing guard Travon Woodall and forward Dante Taylor to graduation, center Steven Adams to the NBA and swingmen J.J. Moore (Rutgers) and Trey Zeigler (TCU) to transfers. They return three starters, including fifth-year seniors Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna, as well as sophomore point guard James Robinson.

Redshirt junior Cam Wright appears to be the front-runner to fill the void at shooting guard, but the Panthers will be counting on freshmen Young and Artis at power forward, as Zanna slides over to the post.

Look for Pitt to be play more uptempo this season, utilizing its athleticism and a bench that goes 11 deep.

Robert Morris Colonials

2012-13 record: 24-11

Conference: Northeast

Coach: Andy Toole

Top newcomers:

Aaron TateF, 6-5, 220

• Desjuan NewtonG, 6-2, 185

• Charles OliverG, 6-3, 190

storylines

The Colonials were conference champions but fell to Mount St. Mary's in the conference semifinals. Then they upset Kentucky in the opening round of the NIT but lost in the second round at Providence.

The Colonials return five players who started games during the 2012-13 season.

Heading that list is junior forward Lucky Jones, who averaged 11.6 points, and senior center Mike McFadden, who averaged 8.5.

Also back is senior shooting guard Karvel Anderson, the team's leading scorer off the bench. Anderson, a dangerous 3-point shooter, led the team with a 12.5 scoring average and made a team-high 82 3-pointers.

Senior point guard Anthony Myers-Pate will try to fill the shoes of Velton Jones, who graduated.

West Virginia Mountaineers

2012-13 record: 13-19

Conference: Big 12

Coach: Bob Huggins

Top newcomers:

Remi DiboF, 6-7, 225

• Jonathan HoltonF, 6-7, 210

• Elijah MaconF, 6-9, 240

• Brandon Watkins F, 6-9, 235

• Devin WilliamsF, 6-9, 255

storylines

West Virginia struggled in its first season in the Big 12, as veteran coach Bob Huggins endured his first losing campaign since 1984-85. Huggins revamped the roster as only six players return.

The Mountaineers will make their biggest transition across the frontline. Newcomers Macon, Watkins and Williams possess big man skills but also the ability to step outside and shoot from the perimeter.

Returning guards Eron Harris, Gary Browne, Terry Henderson and Juwan Stanten stabilize the backcourt. Harris was the first freshman to lead WVU in scoring since 1972-73.

— Staff reports

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