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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #1
UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
The MeanGreen board has a guy that is writing previews for the upcoming Sunbelt basketball season. Any thoughts?
07-01-2007 05:40 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #2
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
The Arkansas St. preview is here.


The basketball board has been a bit quiet as of late so I figured I would start compiling a preview of the upcoming (5 month away) basketball season to give some idea of what our Mean Green having standing between them and another NCAA automatic bid. I figured the best place to start...is where we left off...with the Arkansas State Indians:

Projected Starters:
PG Stephon Weaver 6'2" 185 Fr.
SG Adrian Banks 6'3" 200 Sr.
SF Shawn Morgan 6'6" 215 Sr.
PF Isaac Wells 6'8" 225 Sr.
C Abayomi Ajasin 6'7" 235 Sr.
Frontcourt: It wasn't too terribly unexpected that ASU forward Isaac Wells (6'8" 225 Sr.) would withdraw his name from the NBA draft...and because of it this will once again be the team to beat in the Sun Belt. Wells led the Indians in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and was second in scoring and third in assists (15.8ppg, 2.3 apg) and was only getting better as the seasoon progressed. Wells is a versitille player with range out to the 3 pt. line (32% 3pt) and can play the 3 or the 4. Joining Wells is swingman Shawn Morgan (6'6" 215 Sr.). Morgan fills the role of "glue guy" for the Indians...averaging 6.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.8apg while shooting 46% from the field. Center Theo Little...who was anything but (6'11" 260) is gone. Filling his role will be a 3 man rotation of Kewain Gant (6'7" 225 Sr.), Abayomi Ajasin (6'7" 235 Sr.) and junior college transfer Larry Handy (6'7" 260 Jr.). Gant and Ajasin were simply bodies last season...each averaging 2.6ppg...with Ajasin contributing a solid 3.0rpg in about 12mpg. The most intruiging of the Indians' newcomer is JC transfer Yima Chia-Kur (6'6" 225 Jr.). Chia-Kur is a shorter version of Wells...a 3-4 combo who averaged very solid numbers (18.5ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.2 apg) at Garden City CC in one of the best JC conferences. The combination of Wells and Chia-Kur on the floor at the same time could be a potent frontcourt. Ashton Farmer (6'7" 230 Soph. - 1.6ppg, .7rpg) and freshman Chris Malcolm (6'7" 205) round out the frontcourt.
Backcourt: Adrian Banks (6'3" 200 Sr.) makes the Indians go. The dynamic SG was the SBC newcomer of the year last season after averaging 21.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.9apg and shot nearly 50% from the field and 48% from the 3pt line. UNT controlled Banks in their last 2 matchups, scoring 14 and 12 point on a combined 9-27 from the field. Ryan Wedel (5'11" 175 Soph.) surprised a lot of people with his immediate contribution, finish third on the team in scoring (10.7ppg) and second in assists (2.8apg). Wedel almost exclusivly contributed from the 3pt line, knocking down 40%, and 214 of his 257 shot attempts (83%) came from behind the 19'9". PG Jim Jones (6'3" 190) is gone. Jones was fourth in scoring (7.7ppg) and led the team in assists with a paltry 3.2apg. Reserve guard Yual Banks contribution was minimal (2.2ppg, 0.9 apg) causing the backcourt to be Nutt's recruiting focus. The Indians signed 5 guards...3 JUCOS and 2 freshmen...all of whom will have the chance to contribute right away. P.J. Keaton (6'4" 170 Jr. - 16.3ppg, 3.8rpg at Lincoln College), Ifeanyi Koggu (5'11" 178 Jr. - 8.0 ppg, 7.0 apgat Tyler JC), Michael Lance (6'3" 185 Jr. - 12.5ppg, 5.2 rpg) Jeremy Thomas (6'5" 195 Fr. - 13.0ppg, 60% fgp) and Stephon Weaver (6'2 185 Fr. - 16.5 ppg, 6.0apg). The freshmen may be the best of the group...Thomas is an uber-athlete who won the Arkansas state high school high jump compition and Weavor was pursued by the likes of Arkansas, Ok. State and Xavier. Another interesting player is Chris Brown (6'2" 190). Brown, a JC transfer from the '06 class was starting a solid season (13 games, 8 starts - 5.7ppg, scored double digits 3 times)...however his last game was in early December and his status with the team is uncertain.

Summary: This has got to be the favorite to win the Sun Belt. The Indians return over 85% of their scoring...including 6 of their top 8 scorers...from a team the was the tourney runner-up. Point guard and post are a concern...but at the 2,3 and 4 spots this team is as deep and talented as anyone in the belt.
07-01-2007 05:41 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #3
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
The Western Kentucky preview is HERE.


Continuing my way too early look at the Sun Belt...a look at the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers:

Projected Starters:
PG. Tyrone Brazelton 5'11" 170 Sr.
SG. Courtney Lee 6'5" 200 Sr.
SF. Stepffon Pettigrew 6'5" 220 Fr.
PF. Jeremy Evans 6'9" 200 Soph.
C. Japeth Aguilar 6'9" 210 Jr.
Frontcourt: Stepffon Pettigrew (6'5" 220 Fr.) is the first Kentucky Mr. Basketball to sign with the Hilltoppers since 1958. Former recipients include Tennessee guard Chris Lofton, Rex Chapman, Allan Houston and former USA coach John Pelphry. Pettigrew put up 33.6ppg and 13.8rpg in his senior year...yet had a sub-par showing in the Kentucky - Indiana all star game, scoring just 6 points in 25 minutes; reports said he was having trouble getting free for any clean looks and may've been in a bit over his head. If Pettigrew struggles, Courtney Lee is rather a nice insurance policy to slide over to the 3. Lee (6'5" 200 Sr.) has been a star in the Sun Belt since he was named freshman of the year in '04-'05. Lee led the Toppers in scoring (17.3ppg) was second in rebounding (4.6rpg) and despite what the Talons thought...is by no means overrated and should be a top candidate for SBC player of the year. Jeremy Evans (6'9" 200 Soph.) enjoyed a successful freshman campaign, averaging 7.0ppg and a team leading 5.7rpg in a platoon role with Daniel Emerson (6'8" 230 Jr). Emerson, who was very highly touted coming out of Georgia, underachieved in his time in Bowling Green and transfered to play with his older brother at Mercer. The remainder of the frontcourt remains a question. Japeth Aguilar (6'9" 210 Jr) is the first Filipino born player to play D-1 basketball, and has a difficult transition to make from Ateneo de Manila University in the Phillippeans. Boris Siakam (6'7" 225 Sr.) gave a solid contibution last season in limited minutes (4.5ppg, 3.2rpg). The status of A'Darius Pegues (6'9" 230 Soph?) is intriguing. Recruited before last season, Pegues failed to qualify, but his return, while unofficial at the moment, seems to be a done deal. D.J. Magley (6'10" 260 Fr.) is a beast...and is said to have rather deft moves for his size (16.4ppg, 12.0 rpg, 8.0 apg). Mike Walker (6'7" 220 Sr.) and Matt Maresca (6'8" 215 Jr.) both made contributions last season and will provide depth.
Backcourt: Including Lee, five of the the Hilltoppers six leading returning scorers are guards. Tyrone Brazelton (5'11" 170 Sr.) made an immediate impact in his first season at WKU. The JUCO transfer finished second on the team in scoring (12.8 ppg) led the team in assists (4.0apg) and was the only Topper to start all 33 games. Three combo guards round out the Western backcourt. Ty Rogers (6'3" 195 Sr.), Orlando Mendez-Valdez (6'2" 180 Jr.) and A.J. Slaughter (6'3" 180 Soph.) combined to score nearly 25 points per game last season in a reserve / spot start role. Mendez-Valdez led the group in scoring (9.4ppg) and assists (3.0apg) and shot a team high 48% from the 3pt line. Rogers is capable of the big scoring game, dropping 27 against FAU, good for the team high for the season. Slaughter had a successful freshman campaign, and while his role probably won't increase much this season, WKU fans are expecting a lot from Slaughter once Lee moves on. Freshman B.J. Frazier, (6'6" 210) is a Rivals three star recruit out of Georgia, but in a crowded backcourt will have to really impress to see any significant time. Walk-ons Desire Gabou (6'2" 185 Jr) and Adam Howard (5'11" 180 Sr.) complete the roster.
Summary: Courtney Lee automatically makes this team a contender. WKU went 12-6 and finished second in the SBC East last season and many fans felt they under-achieved. If Pettigrew is ready, the Toppers are loaded at the one, two and three...and capable of some very versatile lineups. The frontcourt may determine whether this team can overtake South Alabama in the East. While Emerson had yet to deliver, many bigs figure things out in their junior year so his departure may have fans wondering "what if." Evans is an active over-achiever, but an increase in his productivity from last season is doubtful. The biggest wild-card could be Magley, who for his age and size is said to be a polished post product. At the very least, WKU will have seven players 6'7" or bigger and have the potential to be one of the more bruising teams in the guard dominated SBC. USA is still the team to beat in the East, but look for the Toppers to finish second again and certainly not to be a team you want to see in the SBC tourney.
07-01-2007 05:43 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #4
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
My initial reaction is that these are pretty good write-ups for an amatuer.

The consensus for the UNT fans seems to be that stAte is the team to beat this coming year. And I will grant them that they have a very talented team. But I have to wonder if they aren't very much like the 04'-05' WKU team. Will a freshman point guard be able to carry them to the title? Point gaurd is such a crucial position and experience is probably more important to that position than any other. Even for a very good freshman point gaurd.

The WKU write up is a little off I think. If Pettigrew is good enough to start this year (I doubt it unless there are some injuries) then we will win the belt hands down. Even if Lee starts shooting gaurd then Pettigrew will have to battle it out with Frazier for the 3 slot. Many fans seem to think that Frazier is the better player (he did play against tougher competition in GA) and I have it on good authority that Frazier has grown another inch (he was only 17 when we signed him) to be a full 6'7".

I also disagree that South Alabama is the team to beat in the east. They lost some significant firepower from last years team and a new coach is always an iffy proposition. They will be good no doubt, but I think that MTSU and WKU will be better.

Anyway, if there are any UNT lurkers on here please feel free to post my response in that thread. Thanks!
07-01-2007 05:52 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #5
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Florida International preview is up.

Florida International coach Sergio Rouco may be the most entertaining figure in the Sun Belt. Standing about 5'7", he is not what you think of when you hear the word basketball. His demeanor changes from game to game...ranging from jacket removing, neck-tie loosening, floor stomping rage to talking to the crowd about what to do after the game complete apathy. His relationship with his players is just as unstable...last year losing two starting guards around Christmas.

Projected Starters:
PG. Michael James 5'9" 160 Sr.
SG. Kenneth White 6'2" 200 Jr.
SF. Chris Fuller 6'5" 191 Sr.
PF. Alex Galindo 6'7" 220 Jr.
C. Russell Hicks 7'0" 235 Jr.

Frontcourt: Alex Galindo (6'7" 220 Jr.) was a top 50 national recruit out of high school, origanally committing to UTEP, but signing with Kansas in 2004, playing 23 games as a freshman and averaging 4.3 points per contest. In his first season with the Panthers, Galindo lead the team in scoring and rebounding (13.9ppg, 5.9rpg) despite being forced to play frequently out of position at the 4. Galindo also led the team in personal fouls (3.2/game) and fouled out 6 times trying to guard larger and stronger opponents. Galindo was touted as a terrific 3-pt shooter, however he struggled in his first year in Miami, shooting just 35% from the 19'9". FIU's success may hinge on the contribution of some young PFs and Cs, which could free Galindo to play the wing. Russell Hicks (7'0" 235 Jr.) is the only seven footer in the Sun Belt and should slide right into the Panther starting line-up. The Pepperdine transfer made the West Coast Conference all freshman team in 2004-05, and averaged 5.0 points and 1.0 blocks as a sophomore for the Waves. FIU has sorely lacked a post presence during Rouco's tenure, last year starting the departed, perimeter oriented Facundo Georgi (6'8" 230) at the start of last season, before Georgi was knocked out for the season due to injury. Georgi's role fell to two true freshmen, who hope to make larger contributions in the 07-08 campaign. Cedric Essola (6'8" 220), a member of the Cameroon Under-20 team, made nine starts last season, averaging 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest. Nikola Gacesa (6'9" 230) helps make sure International remain a part of FIU. The Serbian is similar to Georgi in that he prefers to play on the perimeter, but was pressed into a more physical role last season. Gacesa did shoot 45% from 3 last season and will be looking to add to his 4.0 / game scoring average. JUCO transfer Badara N'Diaye (6'11" 230 Jr.) will eat space and minutes at post, and former (current?) walk-ons Marlon Bright (6'5" 225 Jr.) and Brad Larson (6'5" 210 Jr.) provided solid minutes last season in reserve.
Backcourt: In the guard oriented Sun Belt, FIU will be counting on mostly unproven commodities to man their backcourt. 3 of their top for scoring guards are gone. Graduated is Johwen Vilegas (12.9ppg) and Elvis Lora (8.4ppg, 3.1apg) and DeJon Prejan (10.3ppg) left the team around Christmas. Chris Fuller (6'5" 191 Sr.) returns. Fuller led FIU in steals (38) and will be the second leading returning scorer (10.7ppg). Texas A&M transfer Kenneth White (6'2" 200 Jr.), a highly-touted product of Dallas Molina, saw little action in a crowded Aggie backcourt. White is a combo guard who scored in bunches in high school and will be counted on to be a major offensive contributor. Michael James (5'9" 160 Sr.) and Erick Nsangou (5'11" 195 Soph.) shared time at the point last season. James, a product of the storied Oak Hill academy, is a pure point guard who had averaged a solid 2:1 assist to turnover ratio. Nsangou is more of a scorer (5.3ppg, 42% fg) and performed well after being pressed into service following Elvis Lora's departure. The future of the FIU backcourt looks bright with the signings of Tremayne Russell (6'2" 175) and Josou Soto (6'1"165 Soph.). Russell was an all state performer as a senior in Florida in 2005-2006 and prepped last season at the renowned Maine Central Institute. Soto was the 2006 Gatorade Florida player of the year and signed and played with Florida State last season before transferring to FIU in March 2007. Soto saw action in just 13 of the Noles games last season and left the program wanting to find a place he could make a larger contribution. He's being favorably compared to former FIU standout Carlos Arroyo.
Summary: The talent level in Miami is increasing...and the 2008-2009 potential nucleus of Galindo, Hicks, White, Russell and Soto has to have Panther fans excited. If Rouco can find a way to play Galindo on the wing, he should average 20. If Kenneth White reverts to his Dallas Molina form that made him one of the best guard prospects in Texas, he has the chance to be SBC newcomer of the year. FIU is a team full of if's, more than most, and its questionable if Rouco can convert those ifs into wins. FIU will once again be near the basement of a deep SBC East, but if Rouco can maintain his underclassmen, the Panthers have more competitive days ahead of them.
07-02-2007 07:30 PM
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Cajunman02 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Good lord, please don't post the UL Cajuns preview. It's going to be another nightmare year.
07-02-2007 09:21 PM
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galojah Offline
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Post: #7
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
I don't see Stepffon Pettigrew starting.

Not many fans are thinking "what if" on Emerson either.

I am just impressed a North Texas fan actually is interested enough in Men's Basketball to study and write on each team.
07-03-2007 08:25 AM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #8
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Quote:Good lord, please don't post the UL Cajuns preview. It's going to be another nightmare year.

Don't give up before football season even starts! You guys had a lot of freshmen last year and freshmen can make a big improvement in a year's time. I do think you will struggle because so many of the teams in the belt will be 'up'. But by the end of the season, you never know. You guys might just upset someone. I could definately see it happening.

Quote:I am just impressed a North Texas fan actually is interested enough in Men's Basketball to study and write on each team.

Great point! 04-rock

I've said it before, I really think that UNT has the potential to be a great bball program in the belt. Maybe thier fans are starting to come around.
07-03-2007 02:13 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #9
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
The Florida Atlantic preview is up.

Florida Atlantic exceded many expectations last season,their first season in the SBC, finishing third in the Sun Belt East (16-15, 10-8 SBC), and managing a SBC tourney victory beofre bowing out in the quarterfinals to Western Kentucky. First year head coach Rex Walters took over the program after only a year of assistant coaching experience, sitting on the bench next to Matt Doherty who left FAU after just one season for the 401K program offered him by the Financial Institution of Dallas. Walters has an impressive pedigree. He was named Big 8 Male Athlete of the Year in 1993 and was a 1st round NBA selection of the New Jersey Nets. He had an under-impressive NBA career, but did learn from the likes of Chuck Daly, Larry Brown and Pat Riley. Walters' struggles were perhaps due to feeling that he wasn't even the best Rex in the NBA during the mid-90s...but that’s pure speculation.

Projected Starters:
PG. Sean Alarcon 6'3" 195 Sr.
SG. Paul Graham III 6'5" 190 Jr.
SF. Derrick Simmons 6'6" 210 Sr.
PF. Carlos Monroe 6'9" 245 Jr.
C. Jeff Parmer 6'8" 235 Sr.

Frontcourt: Being the newest member of the SBC, perhaps FAU didn't get the memo; in the Sun Belt you're not supposed to have a deep and talented frontcourt. Carlos Monroe (6'9" 245 Jr.) had a monster sophomore campaign, averaging just shy of a double-double (18.4ppg, 9.4rpg) while shooting 60% from the field. Monroe also had a knack for stepping his game up against the better SBC opponents, dropping 29 against USA. One of the biggest positives for Monroe is that he didn't foul out of a single game last season. Monroe earned 2nd team all SBC honors and should be an early candidate for SBC player of the year. Jeff Parmer (6'8" 235) is a very capable compliment to Monroe. Parmer, who originally signed with Providence, averaged 9.9 points and 5.5 boards in his first season with the Owls, and lead the team in blocks (24). Derrick Simmons (6'6" 215) started half of the Owls games last season and was an important role player for Walters, contributing 7.3 points. Two newcomers have a chance to make an impact up front for the Owls. Brett Royster (6'8" 225 Fr.) is a recognizable name in this area. The Arlington Martin graduate was a TX top 100 prospect and helped lead his AAU team to victory at the Great American Shootout in Denton. Sammy Hernandez (6'5" 235 Jr.) will be eligible in January 08 after transferring from George Mason. Hernandez played a significant role in George Mason's Cinderella run to the 06 Final Four in primarily a defensive role for the undersized Patriots against the likes of North Carolina and Florida. If nothing else, Hernandez brings an understanding of how to win...and how to win against top notch competition in college hoops biggest stage. His experiences in the tourney may be enough to merit a scholarship for a school trying to get on the basketball map such as FAU. Big body Seydou Kone (6'9" 250 Sr.) and incoming freshman Jamal Owens (6'6" 225) round out the Owl frontcourt.
Backcourt: Now...the question marks begin. Gone from the FAU backcourt are prolific scorer DeAndre Rice (6'3" 200) and steady floor and locker-room leader Brent Crews (6'3" 210). Rice led the Owls in scoring (20.5ppg) and finished with second team all SBC honors. Crews finished third in the Sun Belt in assists per game (4.8) and had the second and third best assists seasons in FAU basketball history. "It won't be easy" was Walter's take on replacing Rice and Crews. Paul Graham III (6'5" 190 Jr) is the most proven of the returning guards. Graham had a very successful, well-rounded sophomore season (14.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 3.3apg) in a third fiddle role to Monroe and Rice. His ability to raise his game as more of an offensive focus will be a big key to FAU's success. Crews departure leaves the point guard spot as the biggest concern for Walters and at the very least a four horse race at this point. Sean Alarcon (6'3" 195 Sr.) has the size and experience to be the leader in the clubhouse at this point. Alarcon made 13 starts last season, many of those while Rice was out, and contributed 3.4 points and 1.2 assists per contest. Avery Holley (6'0" 175 Soph.) had an impact as a freshman (5.3ppg, 2.6apg) and proved clutch by knocking down 2 game sealing free throws in a January game against UALR. JUCO transfer Carderro Nwoji (6'0" 175) and sophomore Eni Cuna (6'2" 180) will also see time running the offense. Three sophomore guards, Sanchez Hughley (6'4" 225), Xavier Perkins (6'4" 225) and Enrique Rodriguez (6'2" 190) made minimal contributions as freshmen but give Walters' backcourt depth.
Summary: Walters' frontcourt is set. Monroe is a legit talent...and to surround him with the likes of Parmer, Hernandez, Simmons and Royster in an under-sized conference like the Sun Belt will make the Owls very competitive. The performance of the FAU backcourt will determine whether this team is a contender or content with third place and an early tournament exit. Graham put up very nice numbers as the third option last season...matching and surpassing those numbers as the second scoring option will be difficult. Crews graduation leaves the Owls very inexperienced at the point. Rex Walters' will have a long leash in Boca Raton, and fans are excited with their initial success last season, however this poor guard play may neutralize their clear advantage on the inside and make Carlos Monroe subject to constant double and triple teams. Best case is another 3rd place in the SBC East and the hopeful arrival of backcourt help for Walters' next recruiting class.
07-06-2007 04:50 PM
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D28guy Offline
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Post: #10
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Galojay,

Quote:"I don't see Stepffon Pettigrew starting."

You beat me to it. I know he was Kentucky's Mr Basketball, but I was going to post and ask if anyone thought he would be good enough to start. Thats asking quite a lot for a freshman.

I was thrilled when he picked WKU, but I dont know about starting right away.
07-07-2007 12:37 AM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #11
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Pettigrew is an unknown quantity. He dissappointed in the all star game down here in BG, but his team mates didn't really try to involve him. I wonder... since he was THE MAN on his high school team last year and since defenses were really zeroed in on him (double and triple teams I have read)... he might just have a surprising freshman season. And at least in warm ups I was very impressed with his athleticism, his dunks were very impressive. He certainly won't start at the beginning of the season, but by say february I could easily see him being a factor off of the bench.

Oh, and I can't wait to see the slam dunk contest at Hilltopper Hysteria this year... Japaith will be given a run for his money!
07-07-2007 05:56 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #12
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Thanks again to Censored by Laurie for the reading material:

http://www.gomeangreen.com/forums/index....opic=34856

Have you ever taken your girlfriend out for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner...only to have her break up with you a few days later? Things seem to be going well...and then completely out of the blue your playing Ben Fold's "Song for the Dumped" on repeat in your iPod. Feb. 14 2006: The South Alabama Jaguars strut into Hofheinz Pavilion and beat the Houston Cougars (3rd place C-USA) 66-61, winning their 13th straight game of the season. Three days before, USA beat Arkansas St. by 18. Four days after their Valentine's victory the Jags lose by two at FIU...starting a string of 5 straight loses to close out the year...including an NIT defeat to Syracuse. Perhaps the only thing more surprising then South Alabama's collapse is that John Pelphry gets promoted for his effort. Ronnie Arrow returns to Mobile, 18 years after he led the Jags to a first round NCAA tourney upset of Alabama...and an unceremonious dismissal in 1994. Arrow comes into a more luxurious position than the bare-cupboard program at Texas A&M Corpus Christi he built from Division II to a team capable of giving Wisconsin a scare in the 07 tourney.

Projected Starters:
PG. Daon Merritt 5'10" 190 Sr.
SG. Demetric Bennett 6'4" 210 Sr.
SF. Daniel Hayles 6'5" 215 Jr.
PF. Brandon Davis 6'7" 220 Jr.
C. Ernest Little 6'9" 230 Sr.

Frontcourt: If you want to play for South Alabama, sign with a different D-1 program and there’s a better than zero chance you'll end up in Mobile eventually. Ten D-1 transfers have played for USA since 2005...helping make the Jags the class of The Belt during John Pelphry's tenure. All five projected starters began their careers at different schools. Ernest Little (6'9" 230 Sr.) became eligible mid-season last year after transferring from UAB and immediately solidified the Jaguar frontcourt. Little debuted in late December with a 17 point performance against Ole Miss and closed out the year with 17 points and 18 rebounds in the NIT loss to Syracuse. In between he averaged 12.8ppg and 9.0rbg, good for second team all SBC honors despite playing in just 22 games. Little will have plenty of versatile help up front. Leading the way will be Daniel Hayles (6’5” 215 Jr.). Hayles sat out last season as a transfer from Auburn where he made twenty career starts, averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds as a sophomore and dropped a career high 18 against Mississippi State. The lefty is capable of playing the 2, 3 or 4 and is an adequate three point shooter. Brandon Davis (6’7” 220 Jr.) is most likely to start at power forward. Davis was solid last season (6.0ppg, 4.2rpg) in a platoon role with the graduated Leandro Buboltz. Davis, a transfer from Jacksonville State, is capable of expanding his role if he could manage to stay out of foul trouble. He comfortably led the team in fouls last season (89), fouled out twice and finished with four fouls seven other times. Davis put up double figure scoring nights seven times last season. Kenny Hooks (6’7” 215 Sr.), n Oregon State transfer, is an energetic, defensive minded combo-forward; same can be said for Trajinski Grigsby (6’6” 215 Jr.). Combined they averaged 5.1ppg and 3.6rpg. Twins Charles and Phillip Tabet (6’9” 230 sophs) will give Arrow big line-up options, as will mammoth recruit Kem Nweke (6’10” 310).
Backcourt: The big question for the Jags coming into last season was whether or not Demetric Bennett (6’4” 215 Sr.) would be able to ease the loss of Mario Jointer and Chey Christie and the 25 ppg they contributed. Bennett, a SMU transfer, stepped up, averaging 15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest, scoring over 20 points nine times, including 23 against Syracuse in the NIT and a season high 29 against UNT. Bennett shot 46% from the field, 45% from three, and was a solid defensive contributor, leading the team in steals with 53. Joining Bennett is Daon Merritt (5’10” 190 Sr.). The Richmond transfer excelled in his first season in Mobile, averaging 13.0 points, 2.5 boards and a team leading 5.3 assists per contest. Depth will be the biggest backcourt concern. Gone are solid reserves Carlos Smith (9.4ppg) and Stephen Cowherd (5.6ppg). Sophomores Brooks Taylor (6’4” 185) and Darren Cloud (6’2” 180) showed little in their rookie campaigns; Taylor having a bit more in his bag with a 10 point performance in January against UL-Monroe, seeing an expanded role due to the suspensions of Merritt and Bennett. JUCO transfer Dominic Tilford (5’11” 190 Jr.) is the most likely to fill the reserve guard role. Tilford is a former Kentucky Mr. Basketball who started his career at Cincinnati, and then went the JUCO route after minimal time with the Bearcats. Dallas area combo Kevin Busby-Hayden (6’1” 165 Fr.) will also be given the chance to contribute immediately. Pelphry signed three guards in the early signing period; combo LaDarius Hall (6’2” 175), swingman Jamar Moore (6’5” 180) and point DeAndre Ross (6’1” 175) and its un-clear if they will be remaining with the Jags following the coaching change.
Summary: South Alabama was the class of the Sun Belt last season, and their collapse was inexplicable. Perhaps Pelphry was focused more on moving up than what was happening on the court. Ronnie Arrow steps into a great situation…atleast for next season. Arrow seems to be taking a different recruiting philosophy, noting that eventually the D-1 transfer pool will run dry. The Jags top three returning scorers will be seniors, their top two newcomers juniors, and 4 other upper-classmen expected to contribute next season. Arrow is a solid recruiter, and will need to show his prowess quickly, as graduations will take their toll in a hurry. Back-up point guard seems to be the only area of major concern for Arrow. Bennett and Merritt comprise the most dynamic backcourt duo in the league. Add them to Little, Hayles and a group of athletic, versatile forwards and you’re looking at the SBC champion…assuming Arrow isn’t looking to take an SEC job by the end of the season.
07-13-2007 05:35 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #13
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Quote:South Alabama was the class of the Sun Belt last season, and their collapse was inexplicable.

See I just don't get this statement. This UNT fan seems to think that USA is the team to beat largely based on that they were the "class" of the Sunbelt last year. REALLY?

They won one more conference game than we did... and they didn't have to play at UALR or at North Texas. This is the way that conference schedules and luck of the draw can determine seasons. Granted they beat UNT at home and we didn't... BUT at the risk of being obvious about it they beat us on a last second shot down there and we beat them by 22 up here.

Overall, we played a tougher conference and non conference schedule than they did and yet we won two more games then they did.

Were they the best team in the conference? Maybe. Or maybe they just got hot for a stretch early this year. Is that really good enough to make a case for USA being the "class" of the Sunbelt?

At any rate they lost more talent than we did, they have a new coach that while experienced is not that familiar with the Belt this coming year and will have to play catch up.

Will USA be a contender this year? Absolutely. But they are not the favorites... at least not in my mind.
07-13-2007 06:02 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #14
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Middle Tennessee is up!

In a very deep SBC East, Middle Tennesse will be competitive...however they are the poster boy for the "year away" label. The Blue Raiders will have one senior in Adam Vogelsburg, assuming the shooting guard plans to come back to the team after a year lay-off. If not, the Middle Tennessee roster will be led by seven juniors and a handful of talented underclassmen. Coach Kermit Davis has brought some respectability to the MTSU program, however his teams have stalled out in the SBC semi-finals the past 3 seasons. Davis may be given a pass this year, however 08-09 may be his hot seat season.

Projected Starters:
PG. Kevin Kanaskie 6'2" 182 Jr.
SG. Adam Vogelsburg 6'4" 180 Sr. / Calvin O'Neil 6'4" 190 Jr.
SF. Demetrius Green 6'4" 190 Jr.
PF. Desmond Yates 6'7" 220 Soph.
C. Uriah Hethington 6'9" 215 Jr.

Frontcourt: Gone from Murfreesboro are stalwart posts Kyle Young (6'10" 220) and Tim Blue (6'9" 220). Both were solid players, however both saw their production decrease last season as Kermit Davis moved to a more up-tempo style. Desmond Yates (6'7" 220 Soph.) excelled in his freshman season. While the athletic forward averaged 10.9 points per game, foul trouble limited what could've been a monster debut season. Yates fouled out of 5 contests last season and his best games, including a 23 point performance against Arkansas State, were those where he avoided cheap personals. A year of maturity should help. Perhaps Yates' greatest upside is his ability to shoot free throws, shooting 73% for the season, including a 15-16 shooting display against New Orleans. Highly anticipated is Uriah Hethington's (6'9" 215 Jr.) arrival in Murfreesboro. The JUCO transfer lefty post has a 36-inch vertical and should thrive in a fast paced attack. Hethington's arrival will push returnee Theryn Hudson (6'10" 235) into a reserve role. Hudson is the strongest member of the Blue Raiders and will be counted on to be a defensive cog. Hudson managed solid numbers last season (5.9ppg, 3.6rpg) however he doesn't fit well into the system Davis is implementing and will have to increase his mobility to increase his minutes. Deno Hair (6'9' 200 Soph.) should see an expanded role once Hudson's minutes decrease. Hair is an athletic, long armed forward whose contribution was minimal last season (1.9ppg, .9rpg), but the former Alabama Mr. Basketball may be asked to look for his offense more this season. JUCO transfer Dexter Powell (6'5" 200) and freshman Josh Sain (6'5" 190) will see time in smaller line-ups while Kevin Dodd (6'9" 205 Fr.) is expected to redshirt.
Backcourt: Adam Vogelsburg's (6'4" 180 Sr.) return would be a huge boost, however the Raiders are by no means lost without the sharpshooter. Vogelsburg sat out almost all of last season after leading the team in scoring during the 05-06 season (12.4ppg) complaining of burn out. Vogelsburg's departure last season allowed Kevin Kanaskie (6'2" 182 Jr.) to develop into one of the best guards in a guard rich conference. Kanaskie led the Raiders in scoring (12.2ppg), is MTSU's leading returning rebounder (3.8rpg) and led the Sun Belt in assists (5.8apg). Kanaskie thrives in an up-tempo style, has a high basketball IQ and will push for first team all SBC recognition in 07-08. Whatever Vogelsburg decides, much will be expected from Demetrius Green (6'4" 190 Jr.). Green sat out last season after transferring from Daytona Beach CC where he earned JUCO All-America honors. Green is touted as a well rounded wing who will take scoring pressure off of Kanaskie. Juniors Calvin O'Neil (6'4" 190) and Nigel Johnson (6'2" 185) split time in the starting line-up last season and one or both may be counted on heavily to increase their productivity if Vogelsburg doesn't return. O'Neil is the most likely to start at the 2, but he needs to become more consistent; dropping 21 on Troy and 17 on Ul-Lafayette, yet scoring two or fewer seven times. Johnson was steadier, but is counted on to back up Kanaskie at the point. Darren Avery (6'3" 200 Soph.) is a strong wing who will be looking to improve upon an under-impressive freshman campaign (2.3ppg, 1.0rpg). Recruits Broderick Gilchrist (6'0" 180) and Antwann Boyd (6'2" 190) are talented guards, but will have tough competition in front of them in a crowded backcourt.
Summary: Vogelsburg's return is important, but by no means a season make-or-breaker, and while it would be nice to have a senior on the roster, its tough to say how much senior leadership a guy who left the team for season and a half could provide. Kevin Kanaskie was asked to do a lot last season, and while he responded well, help is always nice. Winning the Sun Belt West this season is unlikely this year for Kermit Davis; anything short of that goal next season may cost him his job. Davis has a roster full of talented, young players and should be focused on developing chemistry and perfecting a new system this season. MTSU may finish just out of the East basement this year, with or without Vogelsburg, however look for them to be a favorite in 08-09.
(This post was last modified: 07-20-2007 05:44 PM by Hilltopper2K.)
07-20-2007 05:41 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #15
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Quote:MTSU may finish just out of the East basement this year

Whoa??? I don't think so. If Voglesberg returns MTSU will be right there. I think the Blue Raiders improved a lot over the course of last season. If I were picking the East, I would pick it like this:

1. WKU
2. MTSU
3. USA
4. FAU
5. FIU
6. Troy
07-20-2007 05:47 PM
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SpaceRaider Offline
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Post: #16
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Hilltopper2K Wrote:
Quote:MTSU may finish just out of the East basement this year

Whoa??? I don't think so. If Voglesberg returns MTSU will be right there. I think the Blue Raiders improved a lot over the course of last season. If I were picking the East, I would pick it like this:

1. WKU
2. MTSU
3. USA
4. FAU
5. FIU
6. Troy


I would agree with that order...losing Vogelsberg hurts but a lot less than it did last year when Adam went down the week before the season started. There still may be an outside shot that he returns but no one is counting heavily on it. We have some good young talent that's probably a year away (as it seems we have been for years) and I don't think the offense will be as ugly as it had to be last year. I expect MT be really tough defensively as we move some players back to their normal positions. I'm hearing good things about Uriah Hethington. He's more of a defensive presence, quick, a good rebounder and shot-blocker.

I think the talk of Kermit being on a hot seat is extremely premature. I think Kermit is the best on-court coach in the conference, you guys may disagree, but he is very good at preparing his team.
07-22-2007 05:01 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #17
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Troy preview is up:

TROY PREVIEW


Troy apparantly subscribes to the Darrell Dickey theory of recruiting...this was a ***** to put together...and I would love for a Troy fan and come through and correct this where they see fit

Don Maestri is the elder statesman of SBC coaches. Maestri took over at Troy in 1982 and quickly turned the Trojans into a Division II power and continued his success when Troy moved to Division I in 1993, contending for league titles and eventually NCAA and NIT tourney bids in three different conferences before joining the SBC two seasons ago. Success has been harder to come by in the Belt however, translating into two consecutive losing seasons and double digit conferences losses. And with four of the team’s five leading scorers and their top three rebounders gone, three straight losing seasons is a distinct possibility.

Projected Starters:
PG. Jerome Odem 6'1" 150 Sr.
SG. O'Darien Bryant 6'1" 182 Sr.
SF. Justin Jonus 6'6" 220 Sr.
PF. Bernard Toombs 6'8" 200 Soph.
C. Tom Jervis 6'11" 230 Jr.

Frontcourt: Gone are SBC Defensive Player of the Year Sammy Sharp (6'7" 200) and space-eater Cedric Jackson (6'7" 260) and the 22 points and 13 rebounds they combined for last season. The only proven commodity for the Trojans up front is Justin Jonus (6'6" 220 Sr.). The Alabama transfer was solid in his role as sixth man last year after joining the team in December, appearing in twenty games all off the bench and averaging 9 points per contest and shooting a solid 40% from the 19'9". Jonus will be counted on to expand his role and increase productivity in order for Troy to be competitive. Sophomore post Bernard Toombs (6'8" 200) was a well regarded prospect out of Georgia but saw limited action on an upper-classman laden roster. Toombs will be given the chance to impress in a small and unproven frontcourt in 07-08. If Toombs struggles, look for one of two seniors to pick up the slack. Jarvis Acker (6'7" 210), who was suspended before last season and later took a redshirt, is a defensive minded forward with a decent offensive game similar to the departed Sharp. Ralph Jennings (6'8" 200) is an athletic and active rebounder (3.4rpg in 15.7mpg), but is limited mainly to put backs offensively. The frontcourt X-factor will be Tom Jervis (6’11” 230 Jr.) and how he fits into Maestri’s up-tempo style. The Australian JUCO transfer is the only legitimate post currently on the Troy roster, both in height and frame, but it may be his ability or inability to run the floor that dictates his minutes. Jervis averaged 11 points at Bevill St. – Fayetteville College last season, and was a solid contributor on the defensive end, averaging 3.4 blocks including three games swatting eight shots. Swingman Kenny Ware (6’6” 205 Jr.), a transfer from Okaloosa Walton CC should contend for time at either the 2 or 3 position.

Backcourt: The best player in the Sun Belt that you’ve never heard of is O’Darien Bassott (6’1” 182 Sr.). Bassott led a balanced Trojan attack last season, averaging 15.1 points and contributing 2.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest. All the attention will now be squarely on Bassott’s shoulders with the departure of sharpshooter Boo Ramsey (5’11” 194) and former Utah Ute Richard Cheney (6’4” 205). Bassott is a poor man’s Bo McCalebb, a decent outside shooter (38% 3pt) who likes to attack the bucket, and will have to put up McCalebb like numbers in order for Troy to be in games. Joining Bassott in the backcourt, Jerome Odem has the inside track at starting at the point. Odem (6’1” 150 Sr.) started 19 games last season and led the team in assists (3.2apg), but should be pushed by both Brandon Hazzard (6’1” 195 Soph.) and Michael Vogler (6’0 180 Soph.). Hazzard saw minimal action last season, but like Toombs was a well thought of recruit, and should improve upon his paltry freshman statistics (2.3ppg, 0.9 apg). Vogler is a pure point who comes to Troy after a season at Chipola CC. Josh Williams (5’11” 162 Jr.) saw limited action last year. Arguably the best player on the roster will be sitting out next season. Richard Delk (6’4” 175 Jr.) is the lesser of the former Mississippi St. twins; Reginald transferred to Louisville. Delk played the wing for MSU, but cited the want to play point guard as his motivation for transferring.

Note: As of 8/3/07, Troy has at most 11 players on scholarship, leaving as many as two still available. Two names associated with the Trojans are Trayce Macon (6’8’ 200 Soph.) and Mario Telfair (6’6” 200 Jr.), both of Santa Fe CC in Gainesville, FL, however I am unable to get any official confirmation. If these players are on the roster, look for Macon to push as starter at the 4 and Telfair to play a significant role behind Jonus.

Overall: Last season five Trojans averaged double figures. Four of those players are gone, taking with them nearly 48 points and 23 rebounds per game. A reasonable expectation of Jonus is up his scoring by five, and maybe get 15ppg from whoever ends up at the posts. So, with some quick math, Bassott would only have to average about 44 points per contest for Troy to match last seasons numbers. And that’s just to get to an 8-10 SBC record. Hyperbole, perhaps, but the point gets through…Troy is O’Darien Bassott, and then a bunch of guys. Coupled with the fact Troy will be playing in the difficult SBC East and this could be a long season for Maestri and his Trojans.
08-04-2007 06:39 PM
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Hilltopper2K Offline
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Post: #18
RE: UNT fan writes a preview for upcoming basketball season...
Troy is going to have a long season all right. There is no other way to look at it. There is too many good teams in the east.
08-04-2007 06:40 PM
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