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Evansville Aces 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Evansville Aces (16-16, 9-9)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G/F Colt Ryan
Sr. G/F Kenneth
Sr. G/F Denver Holmes
Jr. G Ned Cox
Jr. G/F Lewis Jones

Important departures:

Clint Hopf: 6 ppg
Pieter Van Tongeren: 6 ppg
Kavon Lacey: 5.1 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 60.0 percent
Minutes: 70.3 percent
Scoring: 74.6 percent
Rebounding: 71.4 percent

Additions:

Freshman forward Ryan Sawvell joins the Aces from Mundelein High School, Ill., where he averaged 20 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per game as a senior.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 12 vs. Butler
Dec. 6 at No. 1 North Carolina

Outlook:

Evansville will definitely enter the conference season tested, as the Aces play last year’s national runner-up and the top-ranked team in the country. Although UE lost two starters from last season, Jordan Jahr, Lewis Jones and Troy Taylor saw a lot of playing time last season to return enough depth and experience to make the Aces a postseason lock. To be considered a serious threat for the conference crown, Evansville will need to improve on last season’s 4-7 record against the MVC’s upper division. UE looks good enough at first glance to get consideration for the NIT.

Prediction: Fourth

Next: Illinois State Redbirds

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Illinois State Redbirds 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Illinois State Redbirds (12-19, 4-14)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. F Jackie Carmichael
Jr. G John Wilkins
Jr. G Anthony Cousin
So. F Jon Ekey
Jr. G Justin Clark

Important departures:

Austin Hill: 10.5 ppg
Tony Lewis: 7.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 63.2 percent
Minutes: 61.3 percent
Scoring: 60.2 percent
Rebounding: 59.4 percent

Additions:

The 2011 Indiana Mr. Basketball runner-up joins the Redbirds in guard Nic Moore. Moore averaged 27.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Warsaw High School and also dished out almost five assists per contest. Illinois State also welcomes two-time Illinois all-stater, Johnny Hill, a guard from Glenbard East High School.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 22 vs. Rutgers
Dec. 7 at Morehead State

Outlook:

After a rebuilding project last season, Illinois State could be this year’s surprise team in the Valley. Though the Redbirds lost a good deal of experience with Austin Hill, Tony Lewis and Alex Rubin gone, ISU returns three of its top five scorers from last winter, who accounted for 24 points a game. The Redbirds should take the next step this season and could be good enough to snag a couple surprise wins to finish near the upper half of the MVC in 2011-12.

Prediction: Seventh

Next: Indiana State Sycamores

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Indiana State Sycamores 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Indiana State Sycamores (20-14, 12-6)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Dwayne Lathan
Sr. G/F Carl Richard
So. G Jake Odum
Sr. C Myles Walker
So. G Steve McWhorter

Important departures:

Jake Kelly: 8.8 ppg
Aaron Carter: 8.6 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 78.2 percent
Minutes: 77.3 percent
Scoring: 72.6 percent
Rebounding: 77.9 percent

Additions:

The Sycamores’ two top incoming freshmen include guard Brandon Burnett from Cinega High School, Ariz., and Justin Grant, a center from Terre Haute North Vigo High School, Ind. Burnett was a McDonald’s All-American nominee as a senior.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 24 vs. Texas Tech
Dec. 3 at Boise State
Dec. 17 at No. 7 Vanderbilt

Outlook:

The Sycamores should be tabbed to win the MVC, as only one team in the league returns more points and rebounds per game this season (Drake). Out of all the teams that finished first through sixth last season, only Evansville comes close to returning as much experience as Indiana State. Dwayne Lathan, Carl Richard, Jake Odum and Myles Walker form a dangerous quartet that seems to be overlooked by many, something that could work in the Sycamores’ favor. The starting five, along with a deep bench, make Indiana State the conference favorite and a threat to capture a win or two in the NCAA Tournament.

Prediction: First

Next: Missouri State Bears

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Missouri State Bears 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Missouri State Bears (26-9, 15-3)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. F Kyle Weems
Sr. C Caleb Patterson
So. F Nathan Scheer
So. G Corey Copeland
So. G Keith Pickens

Important departures:

Jermaine Mallet: 11.7 ppg, 6 rpg
Will Creekmore:11.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Adam Leonard: 10.1 ppg
Nafis Ricks: 9.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 20.0 percent
Minutes: 37.2 percent
Scoring: 39.2 percent
Rebounding: 39.5 percent

Additions:

Missouri State brings in several transfers to help replace the four seniors from last season. Junior guard Anthony Downing, guard/forward Jamar Gulley and forward Drew Wilson enter to try to help the Bears defend their conference crown. Freshman guard and serious 3-point threat Dorrian Williams will also join the lineup this winter, as will freshman forward Christian Kirk, who was regarded as one of the state of Missouri’s top high school seniors.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Dec. 3 at New Mexico
Dec. 7 vs. Oklahoma State
Dec. 22 vs. West Virginia
Dec. 23 vs. St. Mary’s

Outlook:

The defending MVC champions could be in rebuilding mode this winter with the departure of four starters and its head coach. Head coach Cuonzo Martin bolted for the opportunity to take Tennessee’s head coaching position, leaving new MSU head coach Paul Lusk to replace four players who started all 35 of the Bears’ games in 2010-11, as well as two other players who transferred. Missouri State has one of the conference’s most dangerous players on its roster, but the departures of so many might be too much to overcome in 2011-12.

Prediction: Eighth

Next: Northern Iowa Panthers

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Northern Iowa Panthers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Northern Iowa Panthers (20-14, 10-8)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Anthony James
Jr. F Jake Koch
Sr. G Johnny Moran
Jr. G Marc Sonnen
Jr. C Austin Pehl

Important departures:

Kwadzo Ahelegbe: 14.1 ppg
Lucas O’ Rear: 6.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 64.7 percent
Minutes: 68.7 percent
Scoring: 64.7 percent
Rebounding: 66.1 percent

Additions:

Northern Iowa is bringing in a freshman class that looks like it will have a bright future. Matt Bohannon, a 6’4” guard, led his high school to a perfect record and the Iowa class 4-A title as a senior. Forward Seth Tuttle was a three-time all-state selection at West Fork High School, Iowa, and basically rewrote the season and all-time record book at his school for points, rebounds, blocks and assists. From Hopkins High School in Minnesota, 6’6” forward Marvin Singleton was named the State Tournament MVP two years in a row, as Hopkins won three consecutive state titles. He averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game as a senior.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 12 at Old Dominion
Nov. 14 at St. Mary’s

Outlook:

On paper, the Panthers return three starters and a lot of depth. However, one of those players not returning is Lucas O’ Rear, and it was clear how much of an impact he had on the team. Before O’ Rear went down with a season-ending injury in the beginning of February last season, UNI was in the hunt for the conference title. After the injury, the Panthers dropped six of their final seven regular season contests. The Panthers also must account for the loss of Kwadzo Ahelegbe, the team’s top scorer and fifth-best in the MVC. The talent and experience are there to compete for a conference crown. How Northern Iowa responds to the loss of those two players will make the difference between an MVC title or a second middle-of-the-pack finish in as many seasons.

Prediction: Fifth

Next: Southern Illinois Salukis

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Southern Illinois Salukis 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Southern Illinois Salukis (13-19, 5-13)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. F Mamadou Seck
Jr. G Kendal Brown-Surles
Sr. G Justin Bocot
So. G Diamond Taylor
So. F Davante Drinkard

Important departures:

Carlton Fay: 12.7 ppg, 4 rpg
Gene Teague: 8.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg
John Freeman: 5.6 ppg
Mykel Cleveland: 3.2 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 43.8 percent
Minutes: 45.2 percent
Scoring: 42.0 percent
Rebounding: 46.6 percent

Additions:

Along with several junior transfers, SIU will welcome a strong incoming freshman class. Forward Antonio Bryer and center Harry Whitt join the Salukis from Fishburne Military Academy. Bryer was averaging a double-double before going down with a season-ending injury last season. Treg Setty also comes after being named an all-state selection and to the Kentucky All-Star team as a senior at Mason County High School.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Dec. 22 vs. Kansas State

Outlook:

Although the future looks bright for Southern Illinois, this season appears as it will be another struggle. The Salukis lost a lot of experience and depth from a squad that was already sitting near the MVC’s cellar in 2010-11. Only two seniors are on this year’s roster, including Mamadou Seck, a preseason All-MVC candidate.

Prediction: 10th

Next: Wichita State Shockers

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Wichita State Shockers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Wichita State Shockers (29-8, 14-4)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Toure’ Murry
Sr. G David Kyles
Sr. C Garrett Stutz
Sr. G Joe Ragland
Sr. F Ben Smith

Important departures:

Jake J.T. Durley: 11.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Gabe Blair: 6.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg
Graham Hatch: 6.1 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 44.3 percent
Minutes: 57.0 percent
Scoring: 58.9 percent
Rebounding: 47.8 percent

Additions:

Freshman guard Evan Wessel was a first-team all-state for class 6-A at Heights High School in Kansas.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 17 vs. Colorado
Dec. 4 vs. UNLV
Dec. 10 vs. Utah State

Outlook:

Wichita State has seen other teams capture the MVC crown the past two seasons even though it was predicted to win. The target is off the Shockers’ backs this season, but they still return a potent lineup capable of making a run for this season’s title again. Five of WSU’s top six scorers return this season, all of whom averaged 6.7 to 9.4 points per contest in 2010-11. Problems might occur on the boards though, with the losses of J.T. Durley and Gabe Blair. A very inexperienced bench might also force the Shockers to watch another team celebrate this season again. As of now, it appears WSU will have the opportunity to defend its NIT title.

Prediction: Third

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Delaware Blue Hens 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 9, 2011 in Conference Notes

Delaware Blue Hens (14-17, 8-10)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Devon Saddler
So. G Kaleb Clyburn
Fr. G Jarvis Threatt
Jr. F-C Jamelle Hagins
Jr. F Josh Brinkley

Important departures:

G Jawan Carter (16.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg), G Brian Johnson (3.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg), G D.J. Boney (3.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg)

Returning:

55 percent of scoring and 71.9 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Kyle Anderson
Fr. F Marvin King-Davis
Fr. G Khalid Lewis
Fr. F Larry Savage
Fr. G Jarvis Threatt

Schedule highlights:

The nonconference slate isn’t full of world-beaters, but tough trips to Villanova and Boston University are on tap as well as a home date with Temple. Notable in the CAA slate is that they play Drexel and George Mason twice and have James Madison only on the road, although they only get Old Dominion at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Blue Hens lost a lot with the departures of Carter and Johnson, although the latter was never the same player after his torn ACL two years ago. They have two of the best players in the conference in Saddler and Hagins, and some good pieces up front, so the cupboard isn’t bare. Hagins is one of the conference’s best defensive players, and he’ll be needed more at that end this year with the inexperience in the backcourt. Offensively, he looks improved thus far, and if he became a more reliable post scorer it would really help the offense this time around.

Brinkley was playing well last year before injuries conspired to bring his season downhill, while the X-factors are Kelvin McNeil and Hakim McCullar, especially McNeil as he can be a live body making plays. Where they need someone to emerge is in the backcourt alongside Saddler, a talented, tough leader who already has the idea that this is his team. Clyburn is a capable floor leader who came back in better shape, while Anderson, Lewis and Threatt will all have chances to play right away and it wouldn’t be a surprise if one of them supplants Clyburn in the starting lineup. Delaware became a better defensive team last season, and that helped them progress. They’ll need to keep that up unless a couple of solid complements emerge at the offensive end, as this team might miss Carter at the times where they really need a basket.

Next: Drexel Dragons

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Drexel Dragons 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 9, 2011 in Conference Notes

Drexel Dragons (21-10, 11-7)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Frantz Massenat
Jr. G Chris Fouch (out until December due to injury)
Jr. G Derrick Thomas
Sr. F Samme Givens
So. F Dartaye Ruffin

Important departures:

G Gerald Colds (9.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.4 apg) is the only starter gone from last season’s team.

Returning:

83.9 percent of scoring and 89.9 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Kazembe Abif
Fr. G-F Tavon Allen
Fr. F Casey Carroll
Fr. G-F Damion Lee
Fr. G Aquil Younger

Schedule highlights:

While not an overwhelming nonconference slate, the Dragons will be challenged with their season opener at Rider in a 6 a.m. tip as part of ESPN’s 24-hour marathon, and they could play Virginia in the Paradise Jam. They also head across town to play Saint Joseph’s and host Ivy League contender Princeton and MAAC contender Fairfield. In CAA play, they get George Mason and VCU only at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Dragons were picked first in a vote of the conference’s coaches, sports information directors and media, and it’s a selection that makes sense. Colds is the only significant departure from last season’s team, and they welcome an excellent recruiting class that will add depth and play good minutes right away. Massenat settled the point guard spot last season after it was a question mark, while Fouch will give them a proven scorer once he comes back from an injury that will keep him out past the start of the season. Thomas is one of the best players no one knows about mainly because he earns his keep defensively, while Givens and Ruffin will lead the way as this team beats up opponents on the backboards once again, something junior Daryl McCoy and Abif, the latter of whom has a great motor, will also help right away. Don’t be surprised if Lee and Allen make an impact right away as well, especially while Fouch is out of action. The Dragons will remain a tough team to score on, and that should get to another level with this group, while the offense should be better as Massenat improves and other players become scoring threats before Fouch comes back.

Next: George Mason Colonials

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George Mason Colonials 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 9, 2011 in Conference Notes

George Mason Patriots (27-7, 16-2)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Andre Cornelius (eligible Dec. 21)
So. G Sherrod Wright
Sr. F Ryan Pearson
Sr. F-C Mike Morrison
Fr. F Erik Copes

Important departures:

Head coach Jim Larranaga left to take the head coaching position at Miami, and he took his entire staff with him. Three starters departed: Cam Long (15.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.9 apg) and Isaiah Tate (6.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg) graduated and Luke Hancock (10.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.3 apg) transferred to Louisville.

Returning:

55.5 percent of scoring and 65.7 percent of rebounding

Additions:

New head coach Paul Hewitt has three newcomers on the roster:

Fr. F Erik Copes
Fr. G Corey Edwards
Fr. F Vaughn Gray

Schedule highlights:

The Patriots have some challenges in nonconference play, a slate almost entirely inherited by Hewitt. They open with Rhode Island at home before playing in Virginia Tech’s pod in the NIT Season Tip-Off, with a chance to get to New York for two more. They head on the road to play at Virginia and Sun Belt contender Florida Atlantic, while welcoming Patriot League favorite Bucknell. In CAA play, they get a break during the stretch of four games in eight days in that three of those games are at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

George Mason might have as much talent as any team in the conference at first glance, although they took a pretty good hit when glue guy extraordinaire Luke Hancock transferred to Louisville. They took another big hit for the first month in point guard Andre Cornelius, part of a senior core that has won a lot of games. Cornelius pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of credit card fraud and was suspended for the first 10 games of the season. That makes the all-important point guard spot a major question mark in nonconference play, meaning Vertrail Vaughns, who new head coach Paul Hewitt has said looks good so far, may have to be this team’s quarterback.

Pearson is a Player of the Year candidate and will do a lot of things for this team, while Morrison is the emotional leader and the frontcourt gets a good boost from the addition of Copes, who could start right away although sophomore Jonathan Arledge will be in the mix for minutes up front as well if he improves on the glass.

The perimeter has no shortage of talent, and no one will be more important there than Sherrod Wright, who is working his way back from an injury. Bryon Allen has a chance to emerge, while junior Paris Bennett should also get more of a chance depending on the lineup as he is really more of a combo forward and Johnny Williams is likely to miss the season due to injury. If Cornelius returns seamlessly and the perimeter questions are answered, there’s no reason this team shouldn’t be competing for the top spot in the conference.

Next: Georgia State Panthers

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Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
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