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First-year coach, newcomers produce fresh look for Drake basketball

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    Drake men's basketball coach Ray Giacoletti speaks during the team's media day, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa. Giacoletti is in his first year as coach of the NCAA college basketball team. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (The Associated Press)

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    Drake men's basketball coach Ray Giacoletti talks to center Seth VanDeest, left, during media day, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa. Giacoletti is in his first year as coach of the team. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (The Associated Press)

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    Drake guard Jordan Daniels looks on during NCAA college basketball media day, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa. Daniels sat out last season after transferring from Boston College. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (The Associated Press)

Butler, Gonzaga and Davidson are small schools that have succeeded on college basketball's biggest stage.

First-year coach Ray Giacoletti wants to put Drake in that same category.

Giacoletti, who spent the last six years as a Gonzaga assistant, will try to take the first steps in that direction with a team that has a vastly different look from the group that went 15-17 last season under Mark Phelps, who was fired after five years of mediocre results.

Along with a new staff, the Bulldogs have three transfers, two freshmen and two players back in action after missing last season. Of the six returnees, only two were starters: 6-foot-11 Seth VanDeest, who has battled shoulder and knee injuries throughout his career, and point guard Richard Carter.