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The Scouting Report: Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils

A look at another in-state opponent

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 2-9
Head Coach: Howie Dickenman

RPI: 329
BPI: 337
Kenpom: 315

CCSU got off to a rough start this season losing their first seven games before winning two straight against in-state opponent Hartford and UMBC.  In the 56-47 victory over the Hawks, the Blue Devils were led by junior Brandon Peel's 16 point, 16 rebound performance.  In the 65-53 win over UMBC, CCSU had three players who scored 16 points.  Since then, the Blue Devils have lost two in a row to NJIT and Brown.  They have not played a very difficult schedule, playing only one Power 5 team, Maryland, which resulted in a 93-57 loss, despite sophomore Matt Mobley pouring in 24 points.

Statistically, CCSU does not stand well in all major categories.  They rank 332nd in PPG at 58.7, and shoot only 39.3% from the field which ranks 305th in the nation.  The Blue Devils only average 10.1 assists which ranks 313th, while recording 32.3 RPG which ranks 281st.  Their defense has not been awful, allowing 67.8 PPG which is a step up from allowing 77.3 PPG a year ago.

The Blue Devils would be in a much better spot this season if they did not lose Kyle Vinales.  The 6-1 guard was arrested and suspended from CCSU in October, and when it was said he would be suspended through the spring semester, he decided it would not be worth it to come back for the 2015-16 season.  Vinales averaged 17.1 PPG last season and was likely going to become CCSU's all-time leading scorer.  With him out of the program, head coach Howie Dickenman has looked to other guys to step up, especially Mobley.

Key Players

#21 Matt Mobley, Sophomore, Guard (6-3, 175): Has increased his productivity dramatically after being named to the all-NEC rookie team last year. Dickenman had high expectations for him heading into the season, and with the loss of Vinales, those expectations only got higher.  Mobley is leading the team with 18.9 PPG while shooting 34.8% from three.  He has made a three in every game this season, and has scored in double figures in all but one game, including a 30 point performance in the first game of the season against Fairfield.

#22 Faronte Drakeford, Senior, Forward (6-7, 215): Second on the team in both points and rebounds, averaging 11.3 PPG and 6.2 RPG, despite only shooting at 38.6% from the field.  Drakeford is built like a linebacker who plays below the rim and Dickenman really thinks he will hit his stride this season.  He has scored in double figures in three straight games including a 16 point, 9 rebound performance in the win over UMBC.

#12 Khalen Cumberlander, Sophomore, Guard (6-3, 185): The third and final Blue Devil who averages double figures at 10.8 PPG.  Cumberlander has not had much success shooting the three this season at 32.6%, but he will shoot it.  He has the ability to be a very good defender and may see some time on Ryan Boatright.  The sophomore guard has a very quick first step and loves going backdoor which has led to him finishing in double figures in a majority of games this season, including a 19 point performance in a loss to East Carolina (AAC!).

#34 Brandon Peel, Junior, Forward (6-7, 200): Leads the team in rebounds and blocks at 8.8 RPG and 1.5 BPG while also averaging 8.2 PPG.  Dickenman believes he is one of the top 10 best players in the NEC, but is too unselfish.  Peel has three double-doubles this season and has recorded double digit rebounds in four games.  In the two wins for the Blue Devils, Peel had double-doubles going for 16 and 16 against Hartford and 16 and 14 against UMBC.

CCSU is coached by Howie Dickenman who is in his 19th season with the team where he is 275-269.  He is the second-longest tenured coach at CCSU, and has made the NCAA Tournament three times, losing in the first round every year.  The last time the Blue Devils made the NCAA Tournament was in 2006-07, where they lost to Mark Titus and the Ohio State Buckeyes.  Before becoming the head coach of the Blue Devils, Dickenman was an assistant at UConn! from 1982-1996, including spending his final 10 seasons as the top assistant under Jim Calhoun.