The more I look up about the Jaguars, the more afraid of them I become

With no hopes of making the Summit League conference tournament, there were never really any great expectations of the Mavs over the last 4 seasons, other than just hoping for improvement.  As fans of a transitioning team, I felt most of us would look at it as Okay, We Are Not Great, But We Are Not IUPUI.  I have to say, the more and more I research about the Jaguars, the more and more I am growing fearful of their potential.

You have to consider why we have fans have been going with a little bit of this IUPUI Sucks logic…

They only had 6 wins in each of the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons.  They have not had a winning season since 2010-2011.  What Ron Hunter had built up from a NAIA to Division 1 program had been lost by Todd Howard. Basically to be summed up, ever since the Dakota schools gained some recognition, the Jaguars dropped off the map, so how could adding another school just south of the Dakotas help with that?  IUPUI dumped Howard and got an attractive hire in Jason Gardner, former 2nd Team All American guard at Arizona.

As fans we like to jump on the Oh, He Played Point Guard in College, So He Will Be A Great Coach theory pretty easily.  Maybe we are jumping the gun here on Gardner in thinking he will be a great coach at IUPUI and turn the program around.  When I say “we”, I mean the people that tune into IUPUI games on ESPN3, it is all the commentators talk about.  Before Gardner took over the job at IUPUI, he was an assistant with Josh Pastor at Memphis for a season, and an assistant at Loyola Chicago for two seasons.  By the way, am I the only one that feels Pastor is incredibly overrated?

Anyway, in Gardner’s first year at IUPUI he is able almost double the team’s win totals and get them up to 10 wins…yay!  Which is actually a supreme feat considering there were some people that did not think the Jaguars would win one game all year.  With no real big time scorer, (Marcellus Barksdale led the team this season with 9.5 points per game) the team had an odd style of play, did not shoot particularly that well (42.6 FG% – 7th in Summit, 29.6 3pt% – 9th in Summit), hell they were even last in the Summit League in turnovers with 15.5 per game.  Yes, someone averaged more turnovers than the Mavs!  The Jaguars were able to pick up some wins over IPFW, who was the preseason favorite in the Summit, Denver (twice) who was also a favorite in the Summit before the season started, and also picked up wins against South Dakota, Western Illinois, and Omaha when CJ Carter had a career high 45 points.  Their non conference schedule had some games you expected them to lose; Xavier, Evansville, Purdue, Drake, and Indiana State, but they were able to pick up some close wins against Milwaukee, Ball State, and South Alabama.  Also you know what they did not do during the non-conference?  They did not play any division 2 or NAIA teams for some easy slap stick comedy wins.

The men’s basketball program is growing as the university is growing as well.  Like UNO, as a commuter campus, the university did not have much for on campus living for students.  A few years ago, the university acquired the University Palace Hotel, a one time 4 diamond hotel, whatever the hell that means, and they renovated it into a dorms for students in 2013.  The men’s basketball team has also moved into a renovated Fairgrounds arena, which can seat up to 8,200.  So with a new coach, new facilities, IUPUI is starting to gain some attention, and they are clearly trying to make an effort to get their program to where it once was under Ron Hunter.

As far as what is coming for IUPUI basketball, Gardner has been working toward recruiting some decent talent for the men’s team…although it is not like he has much to improve from.  The Jaguars had 5 players that transferred out from from the 2014-2015 season, but it is not like they are losing 5 guys that anyone is screaming “oh no, we might not get to 10 wins again!”  When Gardner was hired at IUPUI, 3 players from Loyola decided to transfer to the Jaguars program who will be available for 2015-2016.

  • Nick Osborne is 6’8″ and 220, he played in 28 games and made 17 starts in his sophomore year at Loyola while averaging 5.4 points per game and 4 rebounds per game, and he shot 50% from the field.  He is also a post player that can hit 80% of his free throws, that is never a terrible thing.  Maybe he is not a guy that is going to come in and save the program by any means, but taking a year off to practice, he can definitely come into the Jaguars program and be an instant help to the team.  Most likely a starter for the team, especially considering that the Jaguars do not have much of a front court.
  • Matt O’Leary is 6’8″ and 225, he played in 31 games his sophomore season at Loyola and made 5 starts himself.  I do not care what anyone says, O’Leary is always a bad ass last name.  O’Leary averaged 4.2 points per game and 3 rebounds per game his sophomore year at Loyola.  He is also not a terrible passer for a big man, averaging 2 assists per game his sophomore and had a career high of 6 assists at Tennessee Tech.  Osborne and O’Leary can each step out and hit a three, but it is not like it is a big part of their game, does it seriously sound like IUPUI has two John Karhoffs coming into the program?
  • Jordan Pickett is a 6’0″ sophomore guard who also sat out after transferring from Loyola, he only played in 5 games at Loyola before a season ending injury.  Seriously a wild card.

Darrell Combs is a another player who sat out the 2014-2015 season after transferring from Eastern Michigan.  Combs is a 6’2″ guard who can score the ball.  He played in 36 games, and started 7 his sophomore season for an Eastern Michigan team that went 22-15 and made it to the second round of the CIT.  He averaged 7.5 points per game his sophomore year, but he only shot 32% from the field, so hopefully for the Jaguars he has been working on that in the year that he redshirted.  But hopefully for the Mavs, he has not… He did also score in double figures 12 times his sophomore season.  Osborne, O’Leary, and Pickett are all candidates that could jump into the starting lineup at IUPUI with Barksdale for the 2015-2016 and completely change the look of their team.

Incoming as freshman, the Jaguars have T.J. Henderson, a 5’11” guard from Indianapolis.  Henderson averaged nearly 30 points per game, 5 assists, and 5 steals per game as a junior in high school.  He also held offers from IPFW, Kennesaw State, and Buffalo.  I cannot find out how his senior season went, he transferred high schools, but 30 points per game, 5 assists, 5 steals…ehhhhhhhhh.  We will (obviously) have to wait and see what that will translate into as a college player.  Five steals a game just sounds like Devin Patterson to me, that is a good thing.  I saw a blip in an article mentioning Henderson returning from an injury and scoring 20 points in a game in “limited minutes.”  The team will also be adding Henderson’s teammate, forward Gary Bonds, at 6’8″ he was in and out with injuries over his senior season.  So, another wild card, he did also receive scholarship offers from Wright state and New Orleans.  IUPUI will also be gaining a 6’9″ forward from Indianapolis, who played with Henderson and Bonds in AAU, and averaged 14 points and 13 rebounds as a senior.  He is described as being a guy who does the dirty work of setting screens, diving after the ball, posting for rebounds, which is never a terrible thing to have on your roster.

The Jaguars also have Evan Hall, a 6’7″ forward from Hindman, Kentucky who picked IUPUI over Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State, and Northern Kentucky, some recruiting sites listed him as a 3 star player as well.  Hall averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds as a senior and shot 65% as a senior, he also had 14 points and 8 rebounds as a junior while shooting 72% from the field.  Sounds like is pretty solid, or like he played against a bunch of 5’10” post players in a small Kentucky region.  I have never been to Kentucky, no one has ever invited me, and I doubt anyone ever will.  He was on the AAU National Championship team though.

The team will be adding Grant Sinn, who is a transfer from North Park University in Chicago, which is a real thing, but I am unclear if he ever actually played before transferring to IUPUI in the Spring semester.  He shot 45% from three point range in high school.  If you ever talk to a non-hipster from Chicago, they do not know what or where North Park is.  Sinn gained interest from some D-1 programs before settling on North Park, Gardner has said that Sinn will be an immediate asset to their basketball program.

As for more for the future, Gardner and IUPUI picked up a transfer from Syracuse, 6’3″ guard Ron Patterson.  Patterson was never the ultimate player at Syracuse, so he does not sound like a big time factor for the success of IUPUI, or like he is going to be an All First Team player for the Summit League.  His best game at Syracuse was a 13 point and 4 assist performance in a blowout win over Colgate.  He averaged 2.6 points per game and 1.7 assists while shooting 31 percent from the floor in his sophomore year at Syracuse.

None of these incoming players, or new facilities are guarantees for success for the Jaguars, but they certainly are some positive momentum that the Jaguars have not had in a few years.  They ended their season on a 2 point loss to Oral Roberts in the Summit League tournament, ending the season on a 2 point loss in a tournament makes players think Crap, If Only We Would Have Hit One More Three Earlier In The Game!  That sticks in their mind and makes them work harder in the off season, well hopefully.  The Jaguars are not a joke anymore, they are not what they were from 2012-2014.  Gardner is pulling them into the right direction, they might not get to the North Dakota State and South Dakota State level this upcoming season, but they have the tools to get their eventually.

 

 

 

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What a Summit League-Missouri Valley Conference challenge could look like

My friend and I were talking and making fun of the Big 10 in how it has all these challenges, really I do not know if two challenges classifies as “all of these” but still, one sounds like enough.  Anyway, we were talking, and we got on the subject that the Summit League should get a challenge going.  It might not make a bunch of a sense really.  Challenges are meant for the bigger conferences, I guess, but really they are meant for some nice television ratings and to ensure all of the bigger conference teams do not just schedule all the SWAC and American East teams of the world…or the Summit League teams.

Maybe for a conference like the Summit League it would not mean a world of exposure, but it could at least ensure a game on television, or atleast ESPN3, for each of the schools involved in a challenge.  It seams most Summit League teams automatically throw in some WAC and/or Big Sky teams on the schedule, so really if you put together a challenge with the Summit League and the WAC or Big Sky, you really would not create much of a buzz.  So my friend and I (lazily) threw out the Missouri Valley Conference as a potential challenger to the Summit League.

It does not have that high amount of prestige that the Big 10/ACC Challenge has, but what does, really?  A bulk of the teams are already all in the same region, some even go after the same recruits, so maybe there would not be much national exposure to this, but regionally it could pick up a decent amount of attention.  Fox Sports could get in on this, they seem to like the Missouri Valley, mainly because there is not a whole bunch else they can pick up, so they could get behind this.

So here, I put together what it could look like if these two teams were to meet up in a challenge.  I based it off of the 2014-2015 standings, and took Wichita State out, just because, you know…  After you see this, you will clearly see that I am in no way qualified to coordinate a conference versus conference challenge.  But it actually creates for some pretty fun and interesting match ups if you get these conferences got together.


Final 2014-2015 RPI Rankings in parenthesis.

North Dakota State (94) @ Northern Iowa (11)

Admit it, you just got a little excited and you may have to go to the bathroom.  Both schools have gone up against each in recruiting, in just about every single sport that both have available.  If you have ever been to the Northern Iowa or the Fargo areas you will know that both like to pretend that they are in the state of Minnesota.

This could really serve as the marquee match up of this hypothetical challenge.  Obviously, Northern Iowa finished with a much higher RPI ranking, and South Dakota State even finished higher than North Dakota State, so really you could flip-flop the two.  North Dakota State has earned some national recognition for themselves, probably a little more than Northern Iowa sadly.  Northern Iowa really seemed to sneak up on people in the middle of the 2014-2015 season, but really they are almost always a really solid team that can go right up against anyone.  This game could really be the, Can North Dakota State Prove Themselves game, or the Is Northern Iowa Really That Good game, depending on which way you want to look at it.  I want to put a disclaimer here, that I believe both schools are the real deal, but most people unfamiliar with both schools pretty much never give either of them any credit and attribute their winning to playing a weak schedule.

Knowing what I know about Fargonians, if you take the pride that they have in North Dakota State, which is a ton of pride, and you remind them that Northern Iowa snapped the football team’s winning streak, they might declare war on the state of Iowa until this game were to actually happen in basketball.  Honestly, if this game were to happen in 2015, I am not sure North Dakota State has anyone that can handle Seth Tuttle.  AJ Jacobson and Chris Kading are pretty good, but Tuttle is incredibly consistent and he is 6’8″ and 240 and can do literally everything.

Fargo fans heading to Cedar Rapids, and thinkind Cedar Rapids is the Miami of the Midwest.
Fargo fans heading to Cedar Rapids, and thinking Cedar Rapids is the Miami of the Midwest.

Illinois State (53) @ South Dakota State (84)

It just so happens that these two teams will see each other in the Cancun Challenge in November.  It is no guarantee that they will play each other, but they could at least see each at the hotel or something.

Both teams won 20+ games last season, and both made it to the 2nd round of the NIT in the 2014-2015 season.  The teams though are returning the opposite type of players though.  Illinois State is returning more post players, while South Dakota State is returning an incredibly solid core of guards.  Both teams played 35 games in 2014-2015, the Jackrabbits attempted 116 more threes on the season than Illinois State did, so that might be an indicator of the different styles of play that the two teams go with…or it might be some dumb weird coincidence that stats are lying about, I honestly did not watch any Illinois State games last year.


IPFW (215) @ Indiana State (177)

Hey, hey, hey, Indiana!  Indiana is a basketball state, but these two schools have not really profited off of that notion for quite some time.  These schools appear to be moving in opposite directions with Indiana State on the rise and IPFW on the fall.  Okay, has IPFW ever really been on the top of the world?  Probably not, but they continue to underachieve.  Maybe a little match up with the Sycamores could get them to care.  It is not like the Sycamores are above exceptional, but they do have more glamour than the Mastodons do.  Wait for it, wait for it…IPFW graduated a good deal of their core, while the Sycamores only graduated two players that were the 4th and 6th best scorers on the team.

(I think) The last time these two teams met was in 2006 in Fort Wayne.  The Sycamores won the game 67-61 in front of about 2400 people.  Indiana State finished that season 13-18 and IPFW finished 12-17.  It is totally cool to not fully understand why people think Indiana is a basketball state.


Evansville (82) @ Oral Roberts (156)

Okay, we are getting lucky here.  An Indiana-Indiana match up and now a Private School-Private School match up.  Evansville always seems to be a bit of a wild card, and Oral Roberts is showing every sign of being a wild card in 2015-2016.  This game could seriously be directed by Wes Anderson.  You would be entertained, but you really would not know why.  It would be incredibly slow at moments, and then just oddly paced for brief stints to confuse the crap out of you.  You would constantly be thinking that you know what will happen next, but you will pretend to be surprised that it actually happened the way you thought it would exactly happen.  You would also pretend that you were entertained the whole time afterwards, and somehow forget that you were just survived 2 of the most boring hours of your life, but hey that one guy was really good in it.


South Dakota (212) @ Loyola (87)

Nothing gets you going like an old Coyotes and Ramblers match, or a good old Vermillion against Chicago atmosphere. Does it shock anyone else to hear that Loyola had an RPI of 87?  With the exception of a loss to Southern Illinois, the Ramblers really had a season in which they lost to the teams you would have expected them to lose and they won the game they should have won.  This was the same team that most of us made fun of as the replacement to Creighton in the Valley.  South Dakota exceeded expectations in 2014-2015, much like the Ramblers, but the expectations were so incredibly low for the Coyotes that no one outside of the Summit league seemed to notice.  There was some inconsistency, like just about every team in the Summit League…they picked up a win against North Dakota State, but also lost to IUPUI.


Drake (259)@ Denver (234)

We are back on a little private school on private school action.  Both teams will return very little in 2015-2016, so this would turn out to be a Who the Hell is That Guy With the Ball? game.  Drake had transfers from Northwestern and Penn State sitting out, so they will have some instant help coming in, note that I did not say instant stars, I said instant help.

Also, take note that this is the state of Colorado against the state of Iowa.  Those two states have a hate for each other that I will never understand.  Maybe it is the fact that they are complete opposites.  One has mountains, one has trailer parks, sorry for the slams Iowa, but seriously.  I like to think it is because of the episode of South Park when they find the guy frozen from the early 90s, and to help the guy adjust to modern times they send him to Des Moines because it is constantly 3 years behind in everything.  South Park is completely factual.

Wait, back to this…Denver is known for not scoring a bunch of points, not because of the inability to do so, but more so for the ability to be patient and wait for shots.  With that in mind, Denver scored more points per game than Drake.  That is how fun Drake is at the moment.  I watched a few of their game this last season, they were incredibly slow, and not because they ran an offense like Denver’s, but because their players were physically all incredibly slow.  Drake did shoot 41% on threes in 2014-2015, so there is that.


Missouri State (237) @ IUPUI (257)

These two teams between them only had one guy that averaged more than 10 points per game.  that one player, Marcus Marshall, averaged 19.5 before leaving the team in January.  I am really not building up a great case of this challenge to be an entertaining series.  But IUPUI already gets every game of theirs on ESPN 3 somehow…


Omaha (299) @ Southern Illinois (274)

I love how outside of a basketball game, Derrin Hansen seems like the most fun loving guy you will ever encounter, like he would just go get a beer and watch the NBA playoffs and crack a bunch of jokes with you…but on the sideline he never smiles and is completely ready for business.  There is no limit on the price that I would pay to see Derrin Hansen mean mug Barry Hinson all night.

Southern Illinois fans are some of the most sport educated people you will ever encounter.  In case you cannot tell, I am being sarcastic.  They are probably unaware that UNO is division one, but that is cool, it is not their job to know.  But when their fans are looking up information on Omaha on their Motorala Razrs they will realize that their former big time rival is from Omaha.  Ohhhhhhhhh, this will boil their blood like no other.


Western Illinois (328) @ Bradley (280)

This would definitely be the Aquaman versus Namor the Sub-Mariner of the crossover.  That is a DC vs. Marvel reference, and a damn good one if you ask me.  Western Illinois has Garrett Covington and JC Fuller to help them appear entertaining, note that I said entertaining. and not championship contending.  Bradley has, well I am sure they have something entertaining about them.  I know, I know, I have been completely ignorant for a guy that is in love with a basketball team that finished 299 in RPI.

Someone published this.
Someone published this.

A look back at the players The Summit League has lost from 2014-2015

Every year we as sports fans analyze teams in college sports in consideration to what players teams lost versus what they have coming back, and what they have potentially coming in.  It is the easiest and the laziest way to determine who we think will be the best and worst teams.  So before all of that starts, lets take a look at the players the Summit League has lost so far from the 2014-2015 season.


North Dakota State – The Bison won the Summit League championship for the second straight year, and they are only losing one player to graduation.  So the lazy man will tell you that with only losing one player, they will probably go on for a three peat.  No, no, no, we are talking about a potential eight peat here.  That is a Bill Swerski’s Superfans reference.  The problem with the They Won the Championship and Are Only Losing One Player argument is that the only player that they are losing was the best player in the entire league.

Graduated:

Lawrence Alexander – there is no doubt that it will be difficult for the Bison to make up for the loss of Alexander, the 2014-2015 Conference Player of the Year.  Losing 19 points per game is no easy thing to lose, but we know players cannot stick around forever  Senior to be, Kory Brown showed some moments of that he could be the guy to make up that loss, but the Bison won the Summit League the last two years behind a complete team effort, so they will have to band together again to continue their dominant run in the Summit League.  They did pick up a commitment from Malik Clements, a 6’3″ junior college guard that will be a sophomore, who did at one time have an offer from the Mavericks.  They also have still no player on their roster that is smaller than 6’3″.

Transferred:

Jake Showalter – After only playing 13 games and averaging 1.4 points per game, it is no surprise to see the guard from Wisconsin transfer out after his freshman year.  With the addition of above mentioned Clements, Showalter was still probably going to be at the bottom of the rotation for the guards of the Bison.


South Dakota State – A team that only loses 2 players to graduation, but one player was an All Conference player and arguably the best post player in the league.

Graduated:

Zach Horstman – the senior was getting a lot of playing time before getting sidelined with an injury and being forced to miss two games against Omaha and IUPUI, this opened up more room for some of the younger guys to show off what they could do.  Before missing those two games, Horstman had 5 (out of 17) games of scoring in double figures and did not have any afterwards.  With lack of depth in the front court, the Jackrabbits had Horstman playing most of his time at the 4, but at 6’6″ and 205 pounds he was probably more in line to be playing the 3.  The Jackrabbits will have Reed Tellinghuisen and Skyler Flatten to still pick up most of the time for Horstman, and both are very capable players.  Not only that, but the Jackrabbits will have Nebraska native, Michael Daum to make up for the lost time at the 4 position, who redshirted in the 2014-2015 season.

Cody Larson – the perennial Lord of Jerkfaces and former First Team All Summit League player will definitely be tough for the Jackrabbits to make up.  Sophomore to be Ian Theisen showed some strong moments of what could come in the future for the post game of the Jackrabbits, and the Jackrabbits have some pretty big expectations from Daum, but are they 9 double-doubles good?  Are they 14 and 7 good?  Yes, I just puked a little.  I will be the first to admit it, and I have already mentioned variations of this before though, the Summit League was not stacked with really good post players this season.  There was Larson, Steve Forbes, and Mike Rostampour as the top 3, and then a big drop off after that.  Where was I going with this?  Not entirely sure, I just started saying that and was hoping it would go somewhere.  Maybe, just that the loss of Larson is not as big as it seems if no one else in the Summit League has a great post game.

Transferred:

Anders Broman – I remember coming out of high school, the Jackrabbits were incredibly excited about Broman.  Every school sounds excited about every player coming out of high school though.  It is not like Scott Nagy comes out to announce the players he signed and talks about his expectations of a few of them never developing and transferring out.  Either way, Broman is on his way to Winthorp.  Not sure his playing time was going to really increase his junior year playing behind Wisconsin transfer George Marshall, Jake Bittle, and Deondre Parks.  Seriously, does that guard trio not scare you, especially with Tellinghuisen and Flatten also capable of playing the guard position?


Oral Roberts – The 2015-2016 does not look like anything the Golden Eagles are looking forward to on paper, but Scott Sutton has seen this and done this before.

Graduated:

Denell Henderson – the loss of Henderson will mean Oral Roberts will again not have much of a post game, but they have never been extremely reliable in their post game.  Henderson averaged 3.5 points per game his junior year, before moving up to 8.8 points per game his senior year.  Albert Owens averaged 3.8 points per game this last season as a freshman, so is it pretty safe to say Owens will just kind of take over that role.  Yes, I based that off of very little.  No offense to Henderson, but it is not a bunch to make up.  Oral Roberts also has two freshman coming in that are taller than 6’7″, so there is really not a ton of fallout here.

Adrion Webber – I think Oral Roberts made the most appearances on ESPN3 out of all the Summit League teams last season.  I watched most of their games, and I cannot remember Webber’s name ever being mentioned.  He did score 9 on the Mavericks in their game in Tulsa, so it is possible I was too engulfed in anger to take in anyone’s name from the Golden Eagles during that game.  Former Creighton guy, Darian Harris did see an increase in minutes toward the end of the year, I assume Harris is a guy that is capable of making up for the loss of Webber.

Transferred:  

Korey Billbury – probably the biggest loss in the Summit League in terms of a guy transferring out.  It sounded as if Billbury had issues off the court that forced him to leave, which is why it is not really a huge shocker that he transferred out.  With Obi Emegano, I really thought these two had the chance to be the greatest guard combination in the Summit League for 2015-2016, but that will never be played out.  He shot 13-19 against the Mavericks in Tulsa, that is why I cannot remember Webber’s name.  On the court, he also averaged 14.4 points per game and led the Golden Eagles in rebounds with 7.4 per game.  Billbury’s game will be a lot for the Golden Eagles to make up, but they did beat North Dakota State, Denver, IUPUI, and a CBI tournament game without him last season.

Dederick Lee – not a shocking loss for the Golden Eagles here.  Former Maverick, Jalen Bradley will more than make up the loss for Lee.

Jabarr Singleton – another guy Bradley can make up for.  Singleton did score 10 points in the Golden Eagles win over the Mavericks in Tulsa.  Seriously, what the hell was going on in that game?

Bobby Word – an incredibly significant loss for the Golden Eagles.  Known mostly for being a shooter, Word averaged 8.4 points per game as a sophomore.  He also averaged 13.5 points per game after Billbury stopped playing, I cannot see Golden Eagle fans being super excited about losing both of those guys on the court.  The Oral Roberts, are going to be a pretty young team this upcoming season.


IPFW – The Mastadons had high expectations at the beginning of the 2014-2015 season, and it was partially because of their senior trio of Joe Edwards, Steve Forbes, and Isaiah McCray, but with first year head coach Jon Coffman never really materializing the roster, and ultimately just seeming somewhat bored on the bench, the Dons fell below expectations.  If their expectations were so high because of the players they lost, what are they going to be like next season without those guys?  The Dons did sign three junior college players in an attempt to land some guys to be immediate impacts, so they could be the Magic 8 ball of the league in 2015-2016.

Graduated:

Joe Edwards – losing 12 points per game can be made up.  The Dons picked up a 6’5″ junior college player, who at one time played at Alabama State, DeAngelo Stewart who averaged nearly 17 points per game and shot 47% from the field his sophomore year.  He averaged 2 points per game as a true freshman at Alabama State, yes Alabama State is a real college.

Steve Forbes – some could argue that Forbes was the best post player in the Summit League, and really it was just because of his roundness and overall size.  There was not much seen out of him from a leadership standpoint, just a Hey Lets Get Out There and Try Maybe and We Can Still Get Some Nuggets Afterwards Anyway mentality.  I would have much rather had Mike Rostampour or Cody Larson as my team’s main post player last year, each guy had that leadership quality you are looking for.  The Dons may have fell off the map because of how little Forbes seemed to give a shit.  I watched their loss at South Dakota in March, and kept thinking that Forbes should have been dominating the Coyotes post.  South Dakota’s James Hunter, who averaged 6 points a game, had 16 points in the game off of 8 of 12 shooting, because he actually cared about the game.

Kevin Harden – Kevin Harden was never the same after missing 21 games in 2012-2013 with an injury.  His minutes kept dropping, his scoring kept dropping, he just fell out at IPFW.  It is something that you hate watching happen, but it does happen.

Isaiah McCray – McCray was always capable of doing a lot of things at IPFW, he just never did a lot of things at IPFW.  As one of the more inconsistent players in the Summit League, McCray may not be dearly missed by the Dons.  They still have junior to be, Mo Evans (10.2 ppg), and senior to be Max Landis, who was on the Summit League All Newcomer team, to make McCray a forgettable player.  The more I type, the more easy it is to understand why IPFW did not do as well as expected in 2014-2015.

Transferred:

Gage Davis – He did not play in 2014-2015.

Herbert Graham – everyone likes a guy named Herb, well except for the IPFW coaching staff apparently.  In 3 years, he only played a total of 195 minutes at IPFW.

Jure Gunjina – he played in 243 minutes in his one year at IPFW before transferring to Division 2 Georgia Southwestern.  Seriously, what has IPFW been doing the last couple of years.


South Dakota – I still feel like head coach Craig Smith did the most with the least in the Summit League in 2014-2015.  The losses of Brandon Bos and Tyler Larson will be tough tough on the Coyotes, but Smith continues to bring guys in.  He will have Iowa transfer Trey Dickerson and Air Force transfer Matt Mooney sitting out in 2015-2016, unless they get some form of waiver, but Smith is quickly turning South Dakota into the Transfer Here school in the Summit League, which instate foe South Dakota State cannot be too excited about.

Graduated:

Brandon Bos – It can be difficult to make up for someone who was a great shooter, but great shooters are all around the Midwest.  And again, Craig Smith, he is no idiot.  If you watched the game mentioned earlier with Steve Forbes full out not caring against South Dakota, you would have noticed Brandon Bos playing the game of his life scoring 29 points on 7 of 12 shooting, he also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

James Hunter – Hunter came into Vermillion from Washington State and did just enough to give South Dakota some form of a post game.  He may have only averaged 6 points per game and 3.5 rebounds, but it is not like he was worthless.  Without him, the Coyotes could of had Tyler Larson playing center.  Smith will have Nebraska native Tyler Hagedorn and Minnesota guy Dan Jech to come in to fill in the post in 2015-2016, along with a core of upperclassmen guards, the Coyotes may actually have some expectations coming their way at the beginning of the year.  Thanks a lot, Craig Smith.

Tyler Larson – at 6’3″ Larson averaged nearly 8 rebounds a game, and averaged 14.4 points per game.  He could do a little bit of everything, which is what helped him land on First Team All Summit League team.  Not to brag, but I think I called that one.

Transferred

Adam Thoseby – The Coyotes lost one of the greatest beards that the Summit League has ever seen.  Thoseby’s minutes were dropped significantly from his sophomore to his junior year, so it was no surprise to see him go.


Denver – Only graduating two players can be a good thing, but only graduating arguably your two best players can prove to be a headache.  Losing your two best players and not doing nearly as well as anyone would have thought you would have done, that can lead to a mystery team next season.  They will essentially be playing Clue on the court in 2015-2016.  Now who scored the shot from the corner last game that started with a pump fake, and can they do it again?

Graduated:

Cam Griffin – Griffin had some off the court issues, which caused his playing time to fluctuate throughout the season.  Fans do not miss these guys.

Brett Olson –  averaging 14 points per game at a school like Denver, who runs the Princeton offense, is like losing a guy that averages 20 points per game at a different school.  One of the best shooters and most disciplined players in the entire league will not be an easy thing to make up.  Denver has never been a team for the stars though, they have been successful off of team efforts.  Head Coach, Joe Scott, may actually prefer not to have a main scorer on his team.  Either way, losing a 2nd team All Summit League player is not anything that anyone should ever be in love with.

Transferred:

Dorian Butler – the 6’6″ California native never played for the Pioneers.

Cameron Delaney – Delaney started to pick up some minutes toward the end of the 2014-2015 season, but it was not enough to convince the Texas native to stay.  Delaney and Love could have really been a decent combo for the Pioneers in 2015-2016, but we will never know.  Delaney is off to Sam Houston State, which is where all great players go.

Jalen Love – surprised to see him go, I really thought he would have been a guy that would have been used to make up for the loss of Griffin and Olson.  But he is off to (Hello,) Newman.


IUPUI – There have been a ton of transfers in and transferred out with the Jaguars since Jason Gardner has taken over at IUPUI, which is not entirely abnormal.  I am not really sure they will miss anyone that left, mainly because I doubt the staff has had enough time to learn everyone’s names.  They have lost a lot of players, but they have been one of the worst teams in the Summit League, so it is not like the guys they bring in can be any worse.  With 5 guys transferring out, you may want to assume that they were leaving because they see the incoming players as guys that are going to be better than them.  6 wins though in 2014-2015 is probably 6 more wins than most people assumed the Jaguars were going to get.

Graduated:

Player name, 2014-2015 stats

Khufu Najee – 6’4″, 190lbs…7.4 ppg, 3,1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 44% FG, 28-35 FTs, 6-22 3pters

DavRon Williams – 6’7″, 225lbs…8.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.7 blg, 57% FG, 58% FT

Transferred:

PJ Boute – 5’9″ , 160lbs, Junior…5.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.0 spg, 30% FG, 32% 3ptFG, 78% FT

Josh James – 6’9″, 225 lbs, Sophomore…3.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.5 bpg, 48% FG, 69% FT

Jalen McCallum – 5’9″, 160lbs, Sophomore…2.3 ppg, 0.1 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.6 spg, 56% FG, 2-3 FT

Elijah Ray – 6’6″, 232lbs, Sophomore…4.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.2 apg, 0.3 spg, 47% FG, 70% FT

Justus Stanback – 6’8″ 220lbs, Sophomore…2.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 0.2 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.2 bpg, 52% FG


Omaha – Another a team only graduating two players, but also losing their two best players.  On top of losing their two best players, the Mavs top returning players; Devin Patterson, Marcus Tyus, and Jake White each had a significant number of injuries during the 2014-2015 season.  If Jake White can get healthy, he and Tre’Shawn Thurman can hopefully make up for what the Mavs are losing in Rostampour on the court.  Neither of them really seem to have the motor and intangibles that Rostampour brought to the Mavs however, not sure anyone does really.  It is still possible that the Mavs could lose some players to transfer as they have yet to announce any players leaving.  The Mavs will also have to learn to deal with more buzz in 2015-2016 as it is their first year being fully eligible for division one, and they will have a brand new arena.  Oh, and we cannot forget the Taco Cannon prestige.

Graduated:  – I am not going to talk a lot about them at this point, because I kind of already have…

CJ Carter – 2nd Team All Summit

Mike Rostampour – Honorable Mention All Summit


Western Illinois – Although the Leathernecks only went 3-13 against the Summit League in 2014-2015, they have to be pretty optimistic about 2015-2016, when they return their two top scorers, and one of those players was a 2nd Team All Conference player.  Really Western Illinois does not lose much of anything, and a number of players on the team showed some flashes of being quality players.  Really, I feel like the Leathernecks spent the entire 2014-2015 campaign as a way of waiting for the summer of 2015.

Graduated:

Mohammed Conde – led the Leathernecks in rebounding at 6 per game.  The Leathernecks are bringing in two 6’10 freshman, so it is possible that they will not even notice the loss, or at least will fill in the loss pretty quickly.  The Leathernecks really played from the outside-in, rather than the inside-out this season, so the post game was never really anything they relied on.

Remy Roberts-Burnett – I am not sure if he had some injuries or off the court issues, but his time decreased significantly this season and he missed 9 games this last season.  I also do not want to be mean, but Western Illinois went 5-4 without him.  They ended the season 8-20.  Math.

Transferred:

Tyson Reynold – The 6’9″ junior from New York played a total of 14 minutes and scored 2 points for Western Illinois.  Remember the fallen.

Kendall Rollins- Never played.

Where I assume the Mavs are getting summer jobs, based on basically nothing

So the UNO men’s basketball team is taking a summer trip to Italy.  How cool is that?  Foreign trips are typically very beneficial for basketball teams.  I am sure there is a great deal of bonding off the court, but it also means a few more games of playing together and working some things out on the basketball court.  Kentucky coach, John Calipari, has stated that he would like the NCAA to change the rules so teams could take a foreign trip every two years, instead of four years, for the great benefits it can bring to a basketball team.  I was literally not sure that Calipari knows the percentage of his basketball team that stays for two years.

I check the interwebs everyday in fear of finding out that one of the Mavs will be transferring.  I feel like it would have been announced by now, but you never know.  I just hope no one on the team is leaving.  I am not sure how much of a per diem the players get for food, or if any, so I assume some of the players need to take up a summer job to buy some souvenirs and whatever weird funny European stuff college students can find.  So here is where I assume the Mavs players will take some summer jobs for a little extra cash.


Tre’Shawn Thurman

Family Fun Center

I have not been to Family Fun Center in a long time, but I had some hipster friends that worked their during college.  They were not exactly hipsters I guess, but they loved to play Street Fighter, so whenever it was slow, you could find them playing Street Fighter.

One of the first things my wife said when she took notice in Thurman’s game was “number 15 has so much length.”  It is true.  Thurman could use his long arms to grab the really cool stuffed animals that kids have to spend their entire summer allowances on to finally earn.  I mean, he does not even have to officially work there I suppose, he could go over to the basketball machine and just go drop the ball in the hoop about a million times so he could win those giant stuffed animals and sell the stuffed animals to the kids.  This reminds me, how much fun would be if a casino had something that you could shoot a basketball and make money off of it?  I feel like that would be where you would find every college basketball player once they turned 21 to make some money.  Would that be break some NCAA rule?  Kids could also spend all their summer money at Family Fun Center and tell Thurman they want the stuffed animal on the very top row, but he has to do a 360 jump in the air to grab it and pull it down.  Oh, by the way, I am really thinking we can get Thurman in the dunk contest his senior year.  How bitchin’ would that be?


Marcus Tyus

Anywhere that needs a fry cook

Tyus is recovering from a torn ligament in his leg, so he has to get some shots up over the summer anyway that he can.  Some restaurant just needs to let him grab all things that can be deep fat fried, stand about 20 feet from the fryer and let him make it rain.  He could multi-task for sure, standing at the prep table cutting everything that needs to be cut, then toss in some crab rangoon when needed.  It would be constantly be raining fryer grease.  I hear restaurant kitchens love it when fryer grease is flying all over the place.


Kyler Erickson

With a career goal to be a translator for a professional sports team, he could piggyback off of Tyus here.  If you ever work in the restaurant business, you will find out that there is always someone that speaks a total of 25 words of English.  He can get some practice being next to Tyus to interpret everything that is said.  Also to commentate all of Tyus’ shots into the fryer…en fuego! Yes, he will be needed to inform someone that Marcus Tyus is not literally on fire.


Rylan Murry

Whole Foods Cashier/Game Stop/Comic book shop dude

If he had some incredibly lame tattoos and world’s worst beard, he could really make Whole Foods work.  I love going to Whole Foods and the cashier always asking me how my day is going.  It usually goes like this:

Cashier:  How is your day been going?

Me:  Not bad, I got a morning run in, getting some veggies and bison for dinner later.

Cashier:  You check out that new AFI album?

Me:  Who the hell is AFI?  I really like the new Mumford and Sons album though.

Cashier then puts their head down in disgust and tries to bag my groceries as fast as he/she can to get me out of their store.

Seriously though, who the hell is AFI?

About once every three months I will go check out Legends Comic Books on Leavenworth, I will get a Tony Stark White Mocha or whatever it is called and catch up on Batman and Nightwing comics, and sit there and read while I enjoy my coffee.  While sitting their, the comic book shop employees will rush over to the coffee shop part while they have no customers at the counter, to meet their friends and try to trade some Pokemon cards, Magic the Gathering, and other stuff that I assume makes their parents proud.  Then the employee gets some dude that brings his son in to buy an action figure and I just hear the employee whimper out an “ah shit” and run back to the counter.  The dream is for that guy to be Rylan Murry.

I also list Game Stop, where I assume he would get fired from pretty quickly.  For either playing all the games and not helping customers, or for making fun of customers’ video game choices.


Tim Smallwood

Customer Service Agent

This is not the most glamorous thing that one could think of.  People call in, and they whine about stuff that no one should ever give a crap about.  Omaha is filled with customer service jobs, and they are mostly terrible, but I am basing this off of my impression of Tim Smallwood.  Based on his tweets, Smallwood appears like he just always has a positive attitude, or at least he does not post a bunch of negativity online.  Smallwood seems like he could calm down a pissed off Jim Molinari.


 

Devin Patterson

HyVee

How many times have you been at HyVee and an employee asks if you are finding everything alright, you tell them you cannot find something, so they guide you to that item instead of just telling you where it is?  With Patterson’s speed, he could ask you what you are looking for, and then go sprint for it and bring it back to you at a much quicker rate than you having to walk to the item.

The problem is that Patterson could get that really dumb manager that does not use his skills effectively and just uses him to go get all the carts in the parking lot all the time.  An incompetent manager at a grocery store?  That would be the world’s first.  Every time I am in a HyVee they will have 1000 carts ready for use and I will see a manager whine to the one employee that looks competent to go get the 15 carts that are in the parking lot, like it is much more important than getting customers through the checkout lanes as fast as possible.

Actually, can Patterson be the manager?  Hey kid, go get the carts, never mind, you are too slow!  Sprints out and gets the carts, comes back, checks out a few customers in record time.  Hey kids, you are all fired, I got this.

Wait, can Devin Patterson be The Flash?  Never mind, he needs to go work in a science lab of some sorts, preferably with a lot of chemicals and lightning.  Trust me, I have read a comic book before.

So this is what happens when nerds talk sports ball…


Randy Reed

Per his profile on the team’s page, his career goal is to be a personal trainer.  My wife hires personal trainers, and they get recruited to play on our dominant softball team, in which I am seriously the worst player out of both the males and females.  Actually the team is full, one more member would mean that I would not have to play anymore, that would actually be kind of sweet.  Anyway, personal training is a great way to make money.  Even if you are just looking to do it part time, it can be pretty flexible with your full time school or full time work schedule.


Devin Newsome 

There is still not much known about Devin Newsome at this point, so can we get him a job at Voodoo Taco to learn as much as he possibly can about the new Taco Cannon and be the unofficial Taco Cannon Reporter?  Voodoo can come out with a bunch of local commercials with Newsome hanging out with the Taco Cannon, both getting to know each other.  The cannon talks, right?


Daniel Meyer

Also HyVee

There is also very little known about Daniel Meyer.  You would have to think with the graduation of Mike Rostampour that Meyer will see his minutes go up with a need for a man in the middle.  His post player teammates, Jake White, Murry, and Thurman, have all had more on the court time or in practice time getting a timing down with Devin Patterson passing them the rock.  It would be great if he just followed Devin Patterson around all summer to get some of that timing down, or followed Newsome as well.  Essentially, if there is a way to make money as a non-violent stalker, I would love it if that is what Meyer could do.


Jake White 

So with Bo Pelini no longer in the state of Nebraska, I have realized that the state of Nebraska needs a weird cat guy representative.  No idea if Jake White likes cats, or hates them, I do not care.  Jake White needs to get a job at the Nebraska Humane Society or some pet shop and become one with all the white cats.  Try to think of something more awesome than the UNO men’s basketball team having a Christmas card that is just a portrait of Jake White, trying to be emotionless but still trying to look like a hard ass, with 12 white cats all in Christmas sweaters and possible elf hats.  We would win the internet with that.


 

 

Some potential schools to add if the Summit League is looking for a 10th member

The transition period is coming to an end, I keep talking about it because I am so damn excited.  It is about time, I felt like this would never come.  With this time finally coming, I feel like the question of “should the Summit League add a 10th member” be asked.  Should the Summit League add a 10th member?  10 makes sense, right?  With only 9 teams you assume that one team would be left out of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.  With 10, you feel like everyone would get included and have the two first round games like the Missouri Valley Conference does.

Summit League Commissioner, Tom Douple, has stated before that he likes to keep these things quiet.  No one was really aware of Denver coming to the Summit League until it was announced, the same goes about Oral Roberts returning to the conference, and the UNO making the reclassification was for the most part under wraps until it was announced.  It is not like the Summit League is one that is going to get a bunch of buzz in the rumor mill on ESPN for the nation to discuss, so we are never going to hear the chatter that conferences like the Big 10, SEC, and Big 12 are going to get with all the schools moving around.  So i am going to throw out a few suggestions for teams that could be added, and most of these are based on geography.  The Summit League is not some prestigious conference like the WAC that can schools be 1500 miles apart from each other.  Not that these should be the only suggestions, but here…


Chicago State:

The Cougars would make sense in terms of geography, but they are kind of bad at…well, everything.  The athletic department is still in the process of developing a soccer team, so this could be attractive to the Summit League.  The Cougars have been attempting to get more recognition for their sports program, but Chicago is a city that cares way more about professional sports than they do college sports.  It is tough for them to schedule non-conference games, the basketball team was only able to schedule two home games against division one opponents in 2014-2015, UNO and Depaul.  Their facilities are not terrible, their basketball arena has a capacity of 7000  Depaul, which you would think draw in a crowd, only had an attendance of 750 fans, so that is the level of support the Cougars have.  The WAC is weird, no teams are within driving distance to Chicago, so I imagine it is pretty difficult for any Chicago natives to really get into an intense Chicago State-New Mexico State match up.  Essentially, Chicago State probably needs the Summit League more than the Summit League needs Chicago State.  I saw on a South Dakota State fan forum, which is super educational, that the University of Denver absolutely hates Chicago State and does not want them in The Summit.  No idea if that is true, or what it could even be over.

Eastern Illinois:

The Panthers are probably more than happy in the Ohio Valley, but maybe there could be a conversation since EIU already plays in the Summit League in soccer.

Evansville:

This would be a long shot, but I seem to hear a rumor every year that the Purple Aces are trying to get out of the Missouri Valley, though much of the rumors are for them to head to the Horizon League, who like the Summit League, also is at 9 members.  From a competitive standpoint, Evansville is routinely in the middle of the pack in the Missouri Valley standings for all of their sports, so it is not like they would come into the Summit and just dominate everything, but they certainly could add some attention and a little intrigue to the Summit.

UMKC:

Still no real idea why the Kangaroos left the Summit.  I still think the WAC is the dumbest conference of all.  It makes no sense to have UMKC do all the traveling that they do.  With Omaha and Oral Roberts in the conference now, UMKC would not have nearly as many travel issues as they do in the WAC.  The ‘Roos certainly bring a tiny more prestige to the Summit than a Chicago State.  Omaha-UMKC could have a little bit of a rivalry.  The ‘Roos are getting a little more community support as Kareem Richardson is strengthening the basketball program.  Who would really be better between UMKC and Chicago State?  I will base this on a very tiny piece of evidence.  The top team in the WAC this last season was New Mexico State.  New Mexico State @ UMKC attendance was 2900.  New Mexico State @ Chicago State attendance was 530.

Northern Colorado:

The Bears would make sense geographically and could create a travel partner with Denver.  Northern Colorado would have to stay in the Big Sky as an affiliate member for football, or get into the Missouri Valley.  They already have wrestling in a separate conference since the Big Sky does not have wrestling.  They also no have men’s soccer.  So I mean, they could drop football and wrestling, and add men’s soccer.  I have heard of schools doing that before and it going over very well with ALL fans…

North Dakota:

Only if North Dakota State were to leave the conference for whatever reason.  I cannot stress this enough.  The Bison have a new statue coming of a giant hand with its middle finger pointing toward the sky, the hand is along I-29 and facing North toward Grand Forks.  In recent news, the North Dakota men’s basketball team added Wheeler Baker, an Albany transfer.  Some of his offers out of high school included North Dakota State, South Dakota State, and Omaha.

SE Missouri State:

I typed their name in because of geography and it just kind of came to mind.  I really knew nothing about SE Missouri State, and then I looked up and researched their athletic department and I immediately regretted suggesting this.


Some possible schools to transition to division one.

Arkansas Tech:

Russellville is about a 3 hour drive to Tulsa, a 8 hour drive to Omaha, and a 8 hour drive to Macomb so it is not like the travel for this school would be impossible to the Summit League.  Arkansas is a very underrated state as far as beautiful geography goes, but teams do not get into conferences just based on how pretty their state is…I mean North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Oklahoma are just…um, terrible to drive through.  While their sports teams are pretty competitive in division two, they do not have many sports.  The football team could possibly be dropped, and men’s soccer could be added.  Not sure if the state of Arkansas even knows what soccer is though.

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs:

With an undergraduate enrollment of 12k and a graduate enrollment of 11k, a close drive to Denver, and with all the sports that the Summit League has, it makes sense, right?  Their men’s and their women’s basketball teams are both well established in division two, they might both currently be better than a few of the Summit League teams…ouch.

Minnesota State-Mankato:

I have heard rumors before of these Mavericks debating of making the transition to division one.  The geography checks out for them to join the Summit League.  Their men’s basketball team has some division one talent on the roster as well.  Not sure if they would want to bring football with them as well to division one, as part of the rumors that I have heard would be that they would drop football.  The MSU baseball team is 40-5 so far this year.  That sounds decent, I guess.  Could there be two Mavericks in the same league though?  That sounds ridiculous.  The SEC has three freaking Tigers, but the SEC can do whatever they want.

Nebraska-Kearney:

I am seriously kidding.

St Cloud State:

I have not heard many rumors of this school going division one, but it is something that is not incredibly impossible.  St Cloud State has an undergraduate enrollment of 15k, they are in the geography of the Summit League.  Like the MSU Mavericks, they would create a more competitive recruiting market for the Summit League.  With no mid-major in the state of Minnesota, the Bison, Jackrabbits, Coyotes, and Mavericks like to recruit the area, adding St Cloud State or MSU would add another school into the mix for the area, could they all share that area?  Oh, their baseball team this year 47-3.  Why do I keep mentioning baseball?  Because the Summit League needs some more baseball.  The Huskies have 21 varsity sports, I am guessing with a move to division one that they would have to drop a few of those.  I am not sure that they are willing to pull that trigger.  I feel like the Summit League has had at least one conversation with MSU and St Cloud State of “so what if?”