Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball Ranking of top 10 mid-major winners of 2024 offseason

McNeese v Gonzaga
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No. 9: College of Charleston

At a first glance, it would be easy to call Charleston one of the "losers" of this offseason. And there's no question they lost a lot, it can't be ignored that the Cougars have quickly bounced back and have brought in some fantastic replacements in wake their offseason losses. The Cougars' offseason was headlined by head coach Pat Kelsey leaving to take the same position at Louisville, while also bringing along several of his key contributors from this year's team.

But Charleston bounced back quickly, and hired Chris Mack to be their next head coach. Mack is a coach with plenty of winning experience, most notably during his time at Xavier, where we amassed a 215-97 record as their head coach and made the NCAA tournament in eight of his nine season with the Musketeers. While the loss of Pat Kelsey stings, the hiring of Chris Mack brings some stability and should help the Cougars continue the strong play that they've had over the past few season.

Mack and his new regime have wasted no time filling the roster holes that needed to be addressed. The Cougars have brought in several new faces through the portal, including former Saint Louis guard Djordje Curcic, Xavier forward Lazar Djokovic, Lipscomb guard Derrin Boyd, Citadel guard AJ Smith, Delaware State guard Deywilk Tavarez, and Green Bay forward Elijah Jones. Djokovic, Tavarez, and Curcic are all sophomores with three years of eligibility remaining.

Tavarez averaged a solid 13.7 ppg last year while both Djokovic and Curcic averaged 2.9 ppg. In Curcic's case, he proved to be an efficient player this year, shooting 52.8% from the field, along with a 42.9% mark from beyond the arc. Curcic looked to be getting an increased role near the end of the regular season, but a broken foot ultimately cut his season slightly short. However, if Curcic can replicate the efficiency he had last year in an increased role, look for him to be a vital piece for the Cougars next year.

On the other hand, Derrin Boyd AJ Smith, and Elijah Jones are all upperclassmen who put up some impressive numbers last year at their respective schools. Boyd led the three in scoring, averaging 17.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 1.4 apg while shooting 52% from the field and 44% from the three-point line. Smith was not far behind, averaging 16.2 ppg, while Jones averaged 8.1 ppg along with 6.7 rpg. Boyd and Smith have the potential to be one of, if not the best backcourt duo in the CAA next year, while Jones will help strengthen the Cougars' frontcourt. On top of the incoming transfers, incoming freshman Justas Stonkus and Jaxon Prunty will help fill out the Cougars' roster next year and will look to earn spots in the Cougars rotation.

It has been a chaotic offseason for College of Charleston, but the Cougars have made some fantastic moves across the board, and with Chris Mack at the helm along with a rejuvenated roster, the Cougars will have a good chance to remain at the top of the Coastal Athletic Association next year.