Column by Luke Nankivell
Photo by Joel Venzke
There’s no madness in Des Moines after this basketball season and after the first year of the Ray Giacoletti era.
The Bulldogs finished the year 15-16, placing eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference.
That finish was better than expected, since most analysts had Drake finishing the season in last (10th) place.
After starting the season 9-3, the best start since Drake went to the NCAA tournament in 2008, the Bulldogs struggled in conference play, going 6-13 down the final half of the season.
Even though they finished under .500, the Bulldogs showed potential for the future.
Freshman center Jacob Enevold showed signs of his youth during the beginning of the season.
By the end of the season, Enevold had become Drake’s reliable back-up player, with an average of five points and five rebounds in 18.5 minutes of play per game.
Enevold showed that he will be one of the better big men in the conference in his collegiate career.
The injury to Gary Ricks Jr. early in the season brought some trouble to the two guard position, but after getting a redshirt from the NCAA, he will be able to fill that spot next season.
In the nine games he played, Ricks averaged almost 11 points per game and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.6.
Even though Drake is losing three top players (Seth VanDeest, Aaron Hawley and Richard Carter), the current junior class showed Drake fans that it’ll be able to fill those shoes next season.
Chris Caird proved to be one of the Bulldogs’ outside threats, shooting almost 40 percent from behind the arc this season.
Trevor Berkeley, averaging 18.5 minutes of play a game, shot 51 percent from the field and had some strong starts for the Bulldogs.
Over the season, Drake averaged 32.5 rebounds per game, and kept opponents to an average of 24.1 per game.
Giacoletti stressed the importance of rebounding the ball, and his team seemed to key in on that aspect of the game.
One aspect Drake will have to work on is the zone offense. The Bulldogs struggled in some games against zone defenses, costing them close games.
Drake was also unable to stop some teams from going on runs throughout the season, something the Giacoletti warned of at the beginning of the season.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what team you are, if you’re unable to get stops, you are not going to be successful,” he said in October.
After not really having a sense of where this team could go in Giacoletti’s first year, Coach G will have an understanding for next season of what the team needs to focus on and who will step up and be the next star of Bulldog basketball.
The future of the Bulldog program is one of opportunity, and it will be exciting to see what the next year of Drake basketball will bring.
Nankivell is a junior politics and marketing double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org