CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Winthrop transfer Robbie Dreher finally got eligible a couple of games ago and has promptly scored in double figures in each of his first two games off the bench, creating a pleasant problem for Charleston coach Mark Downey.
Six starters for five positions.
Downey was high on Dreher before the season started and still is, but as the junior transfer was battling the NCAA for eligibility, Corey Jackson assumed the starting roll and ran with it, creating UC's current quandary.
"It's a tough thing," Downey said. "Corey's done a really good job and he's gotten better and better. Robbie played a lot of minutes the other night, but I told Corey that I should've found more minutes for him because he did some really good things for us while he was in there. I hate to take him out of the starting lineup and right now we're going to leave him in there, but that could change any day."
Jackson is averaging 10.2 points per contest, contributing to Charleston's 5-1 start, including a 2-1 mark in the league.
Still, Downey sees great things for Dreher in the not-so-distant future.
"He's coming along slowly," Downey said. "He's a good defender, he's strong, he rebounds, and he can score the ball. Right now he's still trying to find his place in our offense but that will come. He's playing just a little bit too quick right now, but it's going to slow down for him and when it does, he's going to be special."
As a team, UC is succeeding just how Downey likes it, on the boards and on the defensive side of the ball.
Charleston is the top team in the West Virginia Conference in terms of rebounding margin at plus-11.7 a game and is holding opponents to just 41.2 percent shooting from the floor.
"This team has kind of taken that end of the floor seriously and that's fun to coach," Downey said. "I was worried about rebounding because we're not very big, we're not real tall, and we're not real strong, so we've got to do it as a team. We've got to gang rebound and that's what we've been doing."
For a second straight year, a number of transfers came into UC, but the presence of returners like Evan Faulkner and Xavier Humphrey has been huge in helping the Golden Eagles gel quickly.
"It seems like guys are buying in and doing what they need to do to get on the floor and help us win," Downey said. "I think we're as talented as we've ever been. The biggest key is chemistry, and it's coming little by little."
There just can't be a coach on any level of college basketball that needs a holiday break more than WVU Tech's Bob Williams.
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