With Alex Rosenberg out indefinitely with a foot fracture, Columbia’s Ivy outlook is very much in question.On the bright side, what isn’t in question is that Columbia boasts one of the most explosive and deepest backcourts in the league. Everything about Maodo Lo is bona fide, and there’s no reason he can’t build on his breakout performance last season, when he did a little bit of everything for the Lions. Coach Kyle Smith would be wise to stop trying to go big, though. Last season, he tried pairing Luke Petrasek and Cory Osetkowski together in the frontcourt to little avail before going back to a smaller lineup embracing the guard-friendly makeup of this roster. Rosenberg or no Rosenberg, guard play will determine Columbia’s fate in 2014-15.
Since Rosenberg will likely be replaced by committee in nonconference play, plenty of Lions, namely Petrasek, will get a chance to prove their worth while cracking the starting lineup. Regardless, Rosenberg’s foot fracture and Meiko Lyles’s departure have the Lions not looking as tough as they did in the offseason.
#0 – Kyle Castlin – Guard – 6-4, 180 – Fr.
Castlin will likely get the opportunity to play both the one and two spots, so significant early playing time is definitely on the table for this rookie.
#1 – Jeff Coby – Forward – 6-8, 220 – So.
Broke out at Harvard last year with an 11-point performance but otherwise made his presence known by fouling way too much, collecting 46 fouls in just 227 total minutes as a freshman. He’ll be more polished on the offensive side of the court this year while he shares minutes with Petrasek in the post.
#2 – Isaac Cohen – Guard – 6-4, 220 – Jr.
Solid defender who is one of the best backcourt rebounders in the league, notching 5.2 rebounds per game last year. Attempted just 2.5 shots per game last year despite averaging nearly 28 points per game, which tells you Cohen rarely takes bad shots just for the sake of shooting, as evidenced by his 56.1 percent shooting from the floor. Yet Cohen also turns the ball over a lot too, so he’s more of a risk/reward on offense than his stats indicate. Will likely cede some minutes to Castlin this season.
#3 – Grant Mullins – Guard – 6-3, 175 – Jr.
A concussion sidelined Mullins for the final nine games of last season, but he’s fully healthy now, giving the Lions a pure scoring threat in the starting lineup, and crucially, another three-point presence to make up for Lyles’s absence. Expect Mullins to play every bit as much as he did last year, which was a considerable 31 minutes per game.
#5 – Steve Frankoski – Guard – 6-2, 190 – Sr.
Frankoski will have to be one of the main pieces to step up with Lyles gone. Since he has averaged 4.5 trey attempts per game for his career, he’ll be more than willing to step up at least with regard to the three-point shooting part of Lyles’s game.
#12 – Maodo Lo – Guard – 6-3, 190 – Jr.
Yo, Lo. Last season’s All-Ivy second-teamer is this season’s greatest hope at Ivy title contention now that Rosenberg is out indefinitely. Lo’s points per game more than doubled as a sophomore, signaling that he hasn’t yet reached his ceiling. Lo’s basketball IQ is off the charts, he rebounds and steals often, he can be deadly from downtown and he got better as last season progressed. Even with Rosenberg out, Lo is strong enough to carry this team, and he’s a dark horse candidate for Ivy Player of the Year for sure.
#13 – Alex Rosenberg – Forward – 6-7, 220 – Sr.
But Rosenberg’s absence will still be felt, even assuming that he does return for conference play. Rosenberg truly is one of the conference’s greatest all-around players. Last season, he posted 3.7 rebounds per game and proved himself again as a productive passer, even notching four steals in a win at Princeton. Just because Maodo Lo is going to make even more things happen in the Lions’ backcourt and Grant Mullins will be back in a big way following his season-ending concussion last year doesn’t mean there won’t be room for Rosenberg too. There will be, because Rosenberg just finds ways to shape his game to reach his maximum potential. With a bigger and more experienced rotation, Rosenberg simply won’t be asked to be quite as much of a scoring threat upon his assumed return, which works out for everybody except Columbia’s opponents.
#14 – Kendall Jackson – Guard – 5-8, 155 – So.
Very undersized, probably won’t see significant time as a sophomore.
#15 – Nate Hickman – Guard – 6-4, 175 – Fr.
Hickman seems to be behind Castlin in the pecking order to get major minutes in the backcourt as a freshman, but we’ll see.
#20 – Paddy Quinn – Guard – 6-1, 190 – Jr.
Cool name. May see more minutes than the 1.9 per game he logged last year, but not much more.
#21 – Noah Springwater – Guard – 6-3, 180 – Sr.
It’s been diminishing returns for Springwater, who in his sophomore and junior seasons combined didn’t attempt as many shots as he did as a freshman. But he did log five minutes per game last year and his senior leadership is valued.
#23 – Cory Osetkowski – Center – 6-11, 270 – Sr.
A quietly effective post man on the offensive end. His rebounding could be a little stronger but his shot selection was smarter during his junior campaign. Still, Columbia needs to be a better rebounding team as a whole, and now that Rosenberg is out indefinitely, that starts with Osetkowski.
#32 – Chris McComber – Forward – 6-8, 235 – So.
McComber probably won’t be featured very prominently in Smith’s forward rotation after averaging just 2.6 minutes per game as a rookie.
#33 – Luke Petrasek – Forward 6-10, 215 – So.
Was not reliable enough on the offensive end as a freshman and will have to step up in a big way in Rosenberg’s absence. He’ll get more minutes and will probably enjoy a greater boost in minutes than any of his teammates. But will that translate into more success?
#52 – Conor Voss – Center 7-1, 250 – So.
What a shrimp, huh? One of the league’s select few seven-footers, Voss notched just 27 minutes as a freshman but doesn’t seem to figure too prominently into the frontcourt rotation as a sophomore either. But with Voss’s size, that could easily change.