The San Francisco Dons open their 2011-2012 regular season Friday evening against the North Dakota State Bison. The Dons are coming off a 19-15 season that featured an appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Dons enter this new season hoping to break into the upper echelon of the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and newcomer BYU are projected to claim the top three spots, but USF is a strong dark horse to consider.
The Dons could make some noise this season thanks to the return of much of their roster, including all five starters from last season. The Dons lose Moustapha Diarra off the bench, but return a growing veteran class of players. Their starting lineup will feature two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. The Dons starting lineup projects as follows:
G - Michael Williams, Jr
G - Rashad Green, Sr
G - Cody Doolin, So
F - Perris Blackwell, Jr
F - Angelo Caloiaro, Sr
Williams finished 2010-11 as the fourth leading scorer in the WCC and seventh in field goal percentage. Green and Doolin look to be the primary table-setters for the Dons as they combined for 6.5 assists per game, with Doolin finishing seventh in the conference in assists. Perris Blackwell finished fourth in the conference in rebounds and second in field goal percentage.
The Dons lose some bench depth with Diarra and Marko Petrovic departing. However, they add a solid freshman in guard Chris Adams. The big guard averaged 18.7 points and 3.9 rebounds as a senior at Damien High School in Covina, CA.