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ODU

ODU MONARCHS TIP-OFFS 2007-08 | 18-16, 11-7 CAA

Last NCAA appearance: 2007

Last CAA regular-season title: 2005.

Coach | Blaine Taylor (eighth year, 136-84)

Home court | Ted Constant Convocation Center (8,424)

Season opener | Nov. 16 at Charlotte

CAA opener | Dec. 6 vs. Delaware

THREE KEYS TO THE SEASON

Grow up quickly: With just one senior and two juniors on its roster, ODU may be the youngest team in the CAA. Junior forward Gerald Lee, a preseason first-team all-conference pick, will have to provide leadership.

Lean on Lee: Lee led the Monarchs with 13 points and six rebounds a game, and he'll be called upon to equal, if not better, those numbers. "He's kind of been like the growth rings on a tree, getting better every year," Taylor said.

Find backcourt balance: In graduated guards Brian Henderson and Brandon Johnson, the Monarchs lost 570 points and 204 assists. The only true returning guard who had significant experience last season is Darius James, who averaged seven points and 22 minutes.

THREE BIG GAMES

Dec. 6 vs. Delaware: The Monarchs' CAA opener comes early against a Delaware team that has four starters back from last year's 14-17 team.

Jan. 5 at William and Mary: ODU can exact some revenge on the William and Mary team that upset the Monarchs in the CAA quarterfinals.

Jan. 17 at VCU: A trip to Richmond will give ODU a good idea where it stands against the two-time defending league regular-season champion.

THREE TOP RETURNERS

Gerald Lee

Jr. | 6-10 | Forward

Lee was named a second-team all-CAA selection after averaging 13 points and six rebounds.

Jonathan Adams

Sr. | 6-6 | Forward

Adams also brings experience back to the ODU post after averaging six points and four rebounds last season.

Ben Finney

So. | 6-5 | Forward

Finney averaged seven points and five rebounds as a freshman.

TOP NEWCOMER

Marquel De Lancey

Fr. | 6-0 | Guard

Averaged 19.3 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals per game at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, earning all-region honors.

OUTLOOK

Lee should have more front-line help than last season, but it will be up to the Monarchs' young guards to get the big boys the ball. Last season, ODU advanced to the quarterfinals of the inaugural College Basketball Invitational, but Taylor and his team would rather make it back the NCAA, where the Monarchs lost 57-46 to Butler in 2007. "If you look around the country, you probably wouldn't find a handful of teams that are younger," Taylor said. "But we embrace our youth. We would never use it as an excuse. The thing about it is, if we can get the job done now, we'll be good for a while."

LEAGUE STATUS

ODU was the preseason pick to finish third in a conference won the past two regular seasons by VCU, tabbed to defend its title again with CAA player of the year Eric Maynor (18 points, 5.5 assists). Northeastern, picked second, returns all five starters from last year's 14-17 team, while George Mason has three starters back from the 23-11 conference tourney champs.

THREE FROM THE PAST

Anthony Carver (1986-1990), fifth all-time with 1,958 points, holds ODU records for most 3-pointers in a season (94) and most consecutive games with a 3 (32). But Petey Sessoms (1991-95), fourth with 1,985 career points, has a better career 3-point percentage (.393 to .389).

THREE FOR THE PRESENT

Sophomore guard Darius James made 35 of his 89 3-pointers last season (.393). Freshman guard Trian Iliadis shot .391 percent from long range for Western Australia's Under-20 team at Australia's national championships.

— Melinda Waldrop

ODU MONARCHS

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