By William Bowman
The Daily Item
MINNEAPOLIS -- There will be times this season -- he can see them coming -- when Dave Paulsen will have to take a walk to the end of the court and relax for a moment.
He didn't have to do that very much in his first three seasons at Bucknell, mainly because of one player: point guard Darryl Shazier. But now Shazier is gone, playing in Ireland after starting nearly 100 games for the Bison. With him went experience, his ability to score and create, his coolness under pressure, and, maybe most important, his leadership.
What that means is that the Bison, who open the season tonight at Minnesota, have a big hole at point guard and a gigantic crater in leadership. Filling them both as quickly as possible is imperative if they want to repeat last year's 25-win season that ended with a berth in the NCAA tournament.
The leadership seems to be in the capable of hands of captains Bryan Cohen, Bryson Johnson and Mike Muscala, along with the return of three-year starter Joe Willman. The point guard issue could be a little tougher to solve, but Paulsen is confident the Bison have good options.
"You don't replace Darryl overnight," said Paulsen, who started Shazier in 94 of Bucknell's 95 games the last three seasons. "Last year when Stephen Tyree went down, we told our guys we have to replace Stephen collectively. We have to replace Darryl collectively."
Sophomore Cameron Ayers, an All-Rookie pick as a sophomore will make his first career start tonight with classmate Ryan Hill and freshman Steven Kaspar also getting some run at the point.
Ayers, the son of Randy Ayers, the current New Orleans Hornets coach and former Ohio State mentor, played in all 33 games last season and was named to the All-Tournament team after BU swept through the Patriot League Tournament.