Men's Basketball 2004 Preview

Gerry McNamara (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Thanks for the memories, Carmelo. Good luck in the draft, please wear No. 44 at the next level, you deserve it. My money says that you go No. 3.

With that said, the Orangemen need to face the reality that Anthony's 22 points and 10 rebounds are now out the door. Who will pick up the slack?

Certainly Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara come to mind. Both had breakout seasons and will certainly be called upon next year to score on a consistent basis.

Warrick, who was even rumored to be jumping to the NBA after a renaissance NCAA tournament, will need to develop more of a jumpshot in the offseason. Combined with a deadly inside game and the natural athletic ability to rise and dunk, Warrick's numbers will spike.

But Warrick's now a household name after swatting Kansas' Michael Lee's potential game-winning shot in the championship game. That means he'll draw more double teams, and will have to work on passing out of the block.

McNamara, who started the season at a torrid pace from downtown (40 percent), saw his numbers dip to 33 percent at the start of the tournament. Consistency will be one thing McNamara will need to work on.

With the addition of Billy Edelin to the lineup, McNamara will start at the shooting guard spot next year. It'll open up more shots for McNamara, but he'll still need to put the ball on the floor and make his teammates better.

Edelin and fellow guard Josh Pace will both need to increase their scoring. Both play the same style of basketball, using an array of floaters, leaners and layups to get their points. Coaches would still like to see the two develop more jump shots to enhance their game.

Jeremy McNeil and Craig Forth will continue to man the interior of the zone, but don't look for too much from the offensive end next year.

The freshmen class of Terrence Roberts, Demetris Nichols and Louis Louis McCroskey are a solid class, though they won't have as much of an impact as McNamara and Anthony did.

Though Pace figures to take Anthony's starting spot, don't be surprised of Nichols is among the applicants for the vacant spot. Nichols is a naturally gifted defender with the chance to log big minutes.

"Offensively, he's worked hard to improve his jumper and finishes at the rim," said TheInsiders.Com's David Telep. "Overall, we like his chances of becoming an All-Big East guy down the road."

Predictions: The Orangemen will likely start the season in the top 15. Connecticut will present the Orangemen a huge problem in the newly reformatted Big East, and that will keep the Orangemen out of the elite. Still, a run to the Elite 8 isn't out of the question, depending on who will take up Anthony's scoring slack.

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