“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Let’s start off with the obvious. What the heck is a Paladin?
“The Paladins, sometimes known as the Twelve Peers, were the foremost warriors of Charlemagne‘s court, according to the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. They first appear in the early chansons de geste such as The Song of Roland, where they represent Christian valour against the Saracen hordes inside Europe.”
Now that that’s out of the, way let’s get to basketball.
UAB and Furman have never met on the court. The Paladins are members of the Southern Conference (SoCon) in which the Blazers are 21-4 all-time against.
Our neighbors over the mountain, the Samford Bulldogs, are also members of the SoCon. Furman swept the Bulldogs during both meetings last year.
Furman’s most impressive win last season was a 70-55 shocker over then top 100 ranked Chattanooga. At the time the Mocs were 13-2 with wins on the road at Georgia and Dayton.
Per KenPom.com, the Paladins return 4-out-of-5 players from their most frequently used lineup over the last five games.
The lone player not returning this season was the 2016 SoCon Player of The Year, Stephen Croone.
The four returning players are:
- Devin Sibley ¦ 6-foot-2, 175 ¦ Junior ¦ Guard
- Daniel Fowler ¦ 6-foot-4, 195 ¦ Junior ¦ Guard
- Kris Acox ¦ 6-foot-6, 215 ¦ Senior ¦ Forward
- Matt Rafferty ¦ 6-foot-8, 215 ¦ Sophomore ¦ Forward
Furman took the Paladin party on the road Thursday to the house of The Blue Hose, Presbyterian College. Sibley missed a 3-pointer as time expired giving Presbyterian the upset win on opening night.
Let’s check out the stats for Furman in the loss.
I’ve scoured the internet and have come to the conclusion that Matt Rafferty, who played in all 35 games for the Paladins last season, is either hurt or on vacation in Cuba given his absence from the stat sheet.
Devin Sibley obviously went off on the Blue Hose Thursday night scoring 26.
In the GIFs below of Furman’s win over VMI last January, you can get a feel for his skill set.
The kid can shoot the three ball like Chef Curry.
3 Things to Watch For
- Nick Norton – The sad reality is we are likely to not see the junior floor general point guard for quite some time this season. We wish him well.
- Denzell Watts – He’s on the list for the third game in a row. As you all know, he was reported to redshirt this season. That was before Norton’s injury. I’d imagine we’ll find out if this will still be the case in the press conference Monday.
- Javien Williams – Sooner than later we’ll be matched against an opponent that won’t allow us to reach deep into our bench. That won’t be the case Monday. Bring some popcorn, because the freshman is must watch basketball.