Low amount of motivation and confidence in myself after going 2-6 last week, my worst week since starting this stupid thing.
Every game is going to be important from here on out in Frantic February.
Denver (7-5) @ Western Illinois
Happy Valentine’s Day, Denver! Get set a fine getaway in Macomb, Illinois!
I imagine being a college kid on the road on Valentine’s Day has to be rough. Or not, actually, no, you probably don’t care.
Anyway, Western Illinois’ offense can barely get into the 60s, and they’re going to have to up that offense to match with Denver.
North Dakota State (9-3) @ Fort Wayne (6-6)
So their match up in Fargo was a very fun game, and there were some weird moments, especially with a fire alarm in the arena going off. The Bison won that game by 2, and these teams split the season series last year with the home team winning each game.
North Dakota State had a great week last week with a 17 point win over South Dakota State and an 18 point win over Denver, the more efficient version of Fort Wayne. So you could be getting a rolling offense up against a struggling defense.
Fort Wayne is going to need to defend AJ Jacobson, Paul Miller, and keep Dexter Werner out of the paint.
This game could come down to who has less fouls and can actually keep their players out on the court, but North Dakota State might have the edge.
IUPUI (5-7) @ South Dakota State (5-8)
The outcome of this game, either way, helps and hurts the Mavericks.
How did IUPUI beat North Dakota State and Omaha, and then lose to Oral Roberts?
I’m just done with IUPUI. Done!
Oral Roberts (4-9) @ Omaha (6-7)
Essentially, this game could end up ruining the loser. If Oral Roberts loses, they almost have no chance at making the Summit League tournament. If Omaha loses, they’re going to have to play at Denver and then face North Dakota State at home.
Omaha’s loss in Oral Roberts stings them, the same way their loss at Western Illinois did last season. They lost in Tulsa by 17, but were thrown off drastically in the first half with foul trouble to Marcus Tyus, and then when trying to make a comeback, Tre’Shawn Thurman picked up a technical foul at the worst possible time to give Oral Roberts the momentum to finish out the game.
Both teams are going to come out with some fire, but Omaha should hopefully have some more.
Oral Roberts (4-9) @ South Dakota (9-4) on ESPN3
The Golden Eagles were able to beat South Dakota in Tulsa, but the Coyotes were playing without Tyler Flack and the Coyotes had no answer for AJ Owens.
Flack, while not the biggest post player in the league, is actually a quality defender that can keep other post players out of the post.
Western Illinois (5-7) @ North Dakota Stateon ESPN3
The Bison beat Western Illinois by 32 in Macomb. Okay, that’s all.
South Dakota State (5-8) @ Fort Wayne (6-6)
The Jackrabbits needed 42 points and 10 rebounds from Mike Daum to beat Fort Wayne in Brookings. Daum will more than likely go off again considering how bad Fort Wayne’s defense is, and the fact that Brent Calhoun and Xzavier Taylor are not forwards designed to defend the Daum.
Fort Wayne went 7-of-21 on threes in Brookings, and they are a better three point shooting team at home. They can hit the threes at home and put a deep scare of Jackrabbit fans of making the Summit League tournament.
IUPUI (5-7) @ Denver (7-5)
Basketball on a Sunday!
The Jaguars have two tough offenses to defend on the road this week.
The only Summit League team to beat the Pioneers in Denver is South Dakota.
The coaches were not kidding when they said that The Summit League is a conference on the rise. Every team has an identity, and every team thinks they have a legitimate chance at winning The Summit League. Western Illinois with a win over Wisconsin and being 5-1 at the moment has definitely been the biggest surprise so far. The season is still young, but we are done with the first calendar month.
I was going to come up with something looking at who the 1st and 2nd All Summit League teams were up to the end of November, but then I realized there is still a ton of basketball to be played out, so what is the point? Instead, why not look at who and what have been some of the biggest surprises so far around the Summit?
Western Illinois with a win over Wisconsin is clearly what sticks out the most. J.C. Fuller’s scoring going up is not that big of a surprise as he was getting better and better as the season went on for the Leathernecks last season, but shooting 72% from threes so far is big surprise. He is not going to finish the year at 72% but he should continue to give the Leathernecks a second option after Garret Covington.
Obi Emegano being a scoring machine is not a surprise, but he has already made 21 threes on the year after making 29 all of last season.
We knew North Dakota State had to find someone to make up for the loss of scoring from Lawrence Alexander, but Paul Miller averaging 19.6 points per game, after scoring 6.7 per game last season, has been quite the jump through 5 games.
Jake White being healthy for the Mavericks has been like getting an entirely new player. He is 5th in the Summit League in scoring right now at 16.3 points per game through 6 games, while only averaging 21.5 minutes per game.
Marcellus Barksdale did not get a double digit scoring performance until his 7th game. He does not have a history of being a prolific scorer, but you would think the senior leader would be scoring a little more.
Tre’Shawn Thurman and Reed Tellinghuisen have caught up to AJ Jacobson. It is not a huge surprise really. Thurman was expected to get an increased role for the Mavericks as they lost Mike Rostampour, was Jacobson supposed to get more shots from the departure of Lawrence Alexander and the addition of a couple more post players? Tellinghuisen is still not expected to be the main option for the Jackrabbits, but he is an efficient scorer that has added on some muscle. The class of 2018 is a big time class for the Summit League, and there are still some junior college players and transfers that could be huge additions to the class.
John Konchar is what IPFW had been advertising. Jon Coffman stated that Konchar would have been worth 5 more wins for the ‘Dons had he not redshirted last season. He is averaging 11.6 points and 8.1 points per game so far. Watch an IPFW game too, he looks like the most mature player the team has. Coffman was also pretty big on the improvement of Brent Calhoun, but he is only averaging 1.8 points per game and shooting 31% from the field.
Nate Engesser is not starting for Denver. He is leading the Pioneers in scoring with 16.2 points per game, but he has yet to start a game, and he is only playing 22.5 minutes per game. Also Denver, who was thought to be the worst team in the league by many is 5-1 so far. Many had it between Denver and Western Illinois as the two worst teams in the league, and they are both 5-1.
There are 4 freshmen averaging more than 10 points per game so far: Konchar (IPFW), Mike Daum (South Dakota State), Dan Jech (South Dakota), and Joe Rosga (Denver).
Tra-Deon Hollins currently leads all Summit League players in assists and steals. He leads the nation in steals as of right now. He reminds of what it was like to play with Eddie Jones in NBA Live 99…on rookie mode.
I was pretty down on AJ Owens of Oral Roberts before the start of the season, but he is proving me wrong with 12.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, and he even leads the conference in blocks so far. My bad.
If you look up the scores on ESPN before any games are played, and you see South Dakota, ESPN lists Eric Robertson has their must see player. Every time.
I did not go to last night’s game. It is not that I did not want to go, but it seemed impossible for me to convince another human being to go to this game with me, especially with the Chiefs-Broncos going on at the same time. I thought of finding the one person I have a connection with that knows the least about college basketball, but also fills out a bracket each year just because their work forces them to; and I would just convince them that they beat that St. Mary’s team that is always in the bracket and winning a game or two. I ended up not doing that. I watched the game from home.
Gary Sharpe accidentally referred to Zach Jackson as Zachson…this is going to have to become a thing.
Hollins gets in every passing lane. He might get 10 steals this game.
Can hear Sharpe and Grant Nieland talking over the audio of the commercial. They’re thinking Omaha will win by 40 or 60. I love this perk from Mav access.
Tim Smallwood is showing some great hustle so far. Hope he keeps it up.
Jake White picks up his second foul, and Hansen is keeping him on the court; because why not?
The Mavs seem to be giving up some good looks on the perimeter to St. Mary’s, this could get scary when the Mavs are playing the likes of South Dakota State.
Did Tim Smallwood drink some Brawndo?
Devin Newsome had this running floater in the lane, that he missed, but I sat here in amazement at what was happening. I hope he’ll use this aggressiveness in the future.
Hey some skinny blonde lady in a bikini just followed me on twitter. I should give her my social security number.
I love the unintentional college football analysis between Sharpe and Nieland during the half time. Sharpe called Alabama “sick.” I’m not hip enough to use “sick” as a good thing yet. You’re using something negative to describe something in a positive form. I would never say “Alabama is so George Clooney as Batman.”
I’m bummed and happy at the same time about the redshirt to Marcus Tyus. I am scared about this team’s three point shooting. I think it is a legitimate concern. I commented earlier how one injury could hurt any team in the standings from 2nd to 9th…so this could really hurt the Mavericks. I do know that this will be a big help to Tyus’ career and his overall health.
The mouse on my new computer is so annoying. Thank God it has a touch screen.
Daniel Meyer has a number of post moves. It seems like he’s got part A, part B, but just cannot finish on part C of each post move, yet. Can we just throw the ball to him for last 5 minutes of the game to let him work on that?
Sharpe keeps referring to players as a “southpaw” and I have no idea what it means. I am just sitting here smiling and nodding.
I think Sharpe just hit on Bonnie Ryan during the kiss cam…
Kyler Erickson with an amazing steal of an inbound pass. Players work harder when he’s on the court. When my Millard South friends ask me how he is doing, I tell them he is the high energy guard off the bench. He makes everyone else on the court work harder. That’s an important character to have on a team.
Number changes sometimes confuse me. Every time I get a glimpse of Tim Smallwood in his new number, I am just like: what the hell is Rostampour doing?
My wife is in the other room and is taking a break from the research she does on all of her grants, and she is watching Gossip Girl and laughing. I’m just so damn mad right now. By the way, do you realize how much research goes into a grant?
We just gave up 3 offensive rebounds on one play. Need to work on boxing out on defense. Newsome is the Maverick that finally came up with the rebound.
Meyer with a great baseline spin move to get a basket.
Meyer with a three point attempt. I feel like Hansen might ground him for that one. I feel like it’s going to be like Major League when Wesley Snipes makes an unnecessary flashy catch and manager has the best line in the entire trilogy to top off the scene. Actually I am not sure if Major League counts as a trilogy. Major League 2 is a significant drop off, and you would have a hard time picking between Major League 3 and George Clooney as Batman for something to sit around and waste 2 hours with. Plus, ML3 has Scott Bakula, and it is impossible to watch Scott Bakula in a sports movie and not lose concentration wondering when the hell Paul Blake made the transition from a college quarterback in his 30s to transitioning to AAA baseball manager. I would have gone into a coma if Sinbad was cast in ML3.
People are leaving a minute early, so they can beat the traffic from the 100 people at the game.
Mavs went 8-16 on the cursed basket. I really think that Remy Davenport and Ellie Brecht broke the curse.
I wonder if an outsider is going to look at the stats of this game and say something along the lines of: Tre’Shawn Thurman only had 3 points, he’s having a sophomore slump.
Derrin Hansen said he needed to get these three freshmen games, so it was great to get them a game where they could figure game situations out. All three scored in double figures.
This team is deeper than last season. I know it wasn’t a top opponent, but you want your players to be efficient in games like this, and everyone off the bench played incredibly efficient. The Mavericks were missing a high energy bench guy last season. Now they have: JT Gibson, Randy Reed, Kyler Erickson, and possibly Tim Smallwood and Devin Newsome as high energy guys off the bench.
Some random things around The Summit League
I thought Wisconsin was incredibly overrated at 17, but losing to Western Illinois…after leading at halftime? It is incredible to see Western Illinois get this win though. They were picked 8th or 9th by most in The Summit League. I thought they would be tougher outs in games because of their experience, but maybe still struggle. They can be great if Garret Covington has a sidekick.
Denver with 3 games in 3 days. I am still in shock that Marcus Byrd could get 8 assists in one game. Nate Engesser with 26 points in 27 minutes against Lipscomb.
Paul Miller is rapidly rising as a star, as the Bison were expecting. They were thinking that Kory Brown, Carlin Dupree, and Miller would all have to make up for the scoring loss of Lawrence Alexander. Turns out that they just need Paul Miller to do it. Malik Clements is looking pretty good too, the Mavs offered him out of high school.
I watched IPFW’s game on ESPN3 when I got home Friday night. I am still not sold on this team as a team in the top half of the standings in The Summit. Their highly touted newcomers did very little against Valpo. Other than John Konchar, he looks good.
Oral Roberts with a nice win over Missouri State. Former Mav, Jalen Bradley, had a game high of 16 points with 4 threes. AJ Owens had 14 points and 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks to make me look silly. It’s scary to think that the Golden eagles could get a win while Obi Emegano and Brandon Conley did not play very well.
IUPUI with a win at Indiana State…how is that Summit League-Missouri Valley challenge talk looking now?
South Dakota also with 3 games in 3 days. Tre Burnette had 22 points and 16 rebounds against Wright State.
Joe Scott knows his team is young and the Pioneers are a work in progress, but he is preaching maturity to his team.
Jon Coffman is pretty damn excited about college basketball and his team.
Redshirt Freshman John Konchar has apparently put on a ton of muscle, and the ‘Dons are really excited about him and are more prepared to go small ball this year in the Summit
Brent Calhoun is expected to make a big jump for the ‘Dons, he has lost a bunch of weight and is in the best shape of his life.
I have realized that after an entire season that I have been spelling “Mastodons” incorrectly.
Jason Gardner is excited about this program, and thinks his staff will be more comfortable working together this year. He has gained a large amount of respect for the Summit League.
In his opinion, Mason Archie is his team’s best defender and wants to defend the other team’s best player.
Marcellus Barksdale had to play four different positions in just about every single game for the Jaguars, he will not have to do that this year and expects Barksdale to benefit from not having to playing too many different roles.
Barksdale and Archie have both graduated already, and set a great example for the team.
His 4 transfers are really going to help this team.
The new arena has really helped the Jaguars in recruiting.
Dave Richman acknowledges that his team has 11 of his 15 guys as freshman and sophomores, but they are a deeper and more talented team than last year.
Chris Kading had 3 surgeries in the off season, will probably miss the first couple games of the regular season.
Lawrence Alexander carried the Bison on his back, he was the winningst most player in Bison history, it is not going to be easy to replace him. They will have to replace him by committee.
The Bison ended up 12-4 in the league, but many of their games were won by just a possession.
Derrin Hansen (and Brittany Lange) is excited about the new arena, it has been a huge asset to the program, and they know it will help them catch up to the rest of the league in the next few years. Not to mention it is extremely huge for the community.
Hansen is expecting more productivity from Tim Smallwood, Hansen is unclear if Smallwood will start or come off the bench yet. Smallwood has a much better feel for the game right now. He was a huge help when Marcus Tyus missed the last 6 games of the season.
Devin Patterson has become better in his leadership role.
Marcus Tyus is coming off his knee injury very well.
Jake White was only healthy for 2 or 3 games last year, he can have a big year if he is healthy.
Randy Reed is going to have a big role this year.
The players UNO has brought in bring in a winning culture, with all of them playing in their state championship games. Zach Jackson’s team won the state championship.
Hansen thinks his new guys can be immediate impacts for his program, but it sounds like minutes may be an issue at this point.
Scott Sutton says he is excited and optimistic, but he also sounds like he wants to skip the morning and get straight to lunch. He likes his new players, he knows there will be growing pains, but it is a tough group of guys that should be ready by the conference schedule. Their non-conference schedule should really help prepare the Golden Eagles for the Summit League.
Obi Emegano and Brandon Conley have both been injured throughout the summer and had shoulder surgeries, but are doing very well at this point. The staff is doing the best that they can to protect them.
Sutton thinks the rule changes in college basketball are going to benefit a guy like Emegano the most. He already led the league last year in free throws attempted per game and he should get even more attempts at the line this season. Sutton also likes how his team plays with a 30 second shot clock.
Sutton really really likes Jalen Bradley, and will have a hard time keeping him out of the lineup. Bradley got to play a lot on the team’s summer trip, where the team got to play with a 24 second shot clock.
Sutton could have a year where he is starting a couple freshmen. AJ Owens is their post player, but not as consistent as they would like him to be. Owens could have the biggest jump this year in the league.
Craig Smith sounds like he came to party. He thinks it is going to be a heck of a year for the Summit League, and his team will be a work in progress. He is glad that his team set a foundation and a culture last year. They lost a lot of scoring, so they have to figure out a way to score the ball.
Smith really does not know who is going to help take on the scoring yet, but Tre Burnette really caught on toward the end of the season. Casey Kasperbauer is one of the best three point shooters he has ever coached.
The Coyotes have had a lot of injuries. They have 17 players on the roster, but ended a practice with only 10 players recently. It has been hard to get going and figure out lineups and who plays well together.
Dan Jech can score in a lot of different ways and is a great rebounder. Smith sounds really excited about Jech.
Tyler Hagedorn has a great feel for the game and can do a lot of different things.
Tyler Borchers has been a great surprise for the Coyotes, he doesn’t look pretty with everything that he does, but he does great things.
Scott Nagy says his team has taken their time getting ready because of the great experience that they have at the guard position. He thinks the Jackrabbits have a lot of depth, which is going to be needed in college basketball with the rule changes.
He points out that preseason awards mean nothing. No one expected Deondre Parks and George Marshall to be all league picks last year. Some transfers from IUPUI or on other teams could be big time players, and no one knows anything about them yet.
Jake Bittle and George Marshall both have nagging injuries, nothing that would keep them out, but they will be hurting after games.
Nagy thinks his team is smaller than he would like it to be. They could even go very small with no true post player in some games.
Adam Dykman works extremely hard, and down the road will be a tremendous 4 man in the future.
The biggest question mark for the Jackrabbits is: how will they replace Cody Larson? They are looking at 3 guys to replace him…Connor Devine, Ian Theisen, and Mike Daum. He has no idea who will be their starting center at this point.
Nagy just seems displeased by rule changes, doesn’t see the need for them, but they have to play with them. He doesn’t think the rule changes will affect how they play though.
Billy Wright feels his program is headed in the right direction. His team has set a philosophy in how they want to recruit and compete.
Western Illinois returns 85% of their scoring.
His freshman are working hard to compete for starting spots and playing time.
Garret Covington has really worked hard to improve his rebounding
JC Fuller is one of the most underrated players in the league.
De’Angelo Brewster and Brandon Gilbeck will have big breakout years as freshmen.
The Summit League is close in talent, you are an injury or two away from going from the top to the bottom, or a recruit away from going from the bottom to the middle of the pack.
So the Summit League is stacked with guards and wing players this season. College Sports Madness recently came out with a All Summit League 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th team and 16 of the 20 players were guards, 17 if you count South Dakota State’s Reed Tellinghuisen as a guard. The Summit League came out with their preseason 1st and 2nd teams yesterday, and 8 or the 10 players were guards. The teams they selected are fair for the most part, though I do not agree with leaving Tre’Shawn Thurman off the list, but I get that I am biased.
Anyway, there are so many guards on this list, and that is because the Summit League is going to be a very guard heavy league this year. So could one come up with a conclusion that who ever has the best post game is going to set themselves apart from the rest of the conference? So who has the best post players in the conference?
For the sake of argument, I am going to reduce each team’s list to their top 4 post players, because realistically teams hardly ever use more than 4 post players in the Summit League. Hell some players do not use more than two post players.
North Dakota State
Chris Kading, Dexter Werner, AJ Jacobson, and one of the other 3 players that will mix in.
I have kind of had North Dakota State as my team to win the conference this year, but I am growing more and more uncomfortable with that recently the more I am looking things up. Not that I think they are in trouble or anything. Anyway, it is pretty hard to argue that they do not have the best core of post players in the Summit League. I know someone might look at Chris Kading and say he’s only a 5 points and 4 rebounds guy, but he takes smart shots, he led the Summit League in blocks per game, and he would routinely hold the other team’s best post player to a bad game.
Dexter Werner was the Sixth Man of the Year in the Summit League last year, and he completely deserved it. He was a big time force that brought immediate energy to the Bison post game off of the bench, and he shot 51% from the field. He was playing undersized most of the time, but he was still able to get 1 block per game, which is tied with the 2nd most for returning players to the league.
Then the Bison have AJ Jacobson, and while there is no official Summit League Freshman of the Year Award, I am pretty sure it would have been him last season. He appears to be a popular choice for 1st Team All Summit this upcoming year, after coming off averaging 11.6 points per game and 4.2 rebounds, and many people think he is going to take a large load of the shots that Lawrence Alexander was taking. He is probably more of a traditional 3, but he did quite well for the Bison at the 4 position, and the Bison can bring in Werner off the bench and slide Jacobson over to the 3, making for a big lineup.
It is kind of unclear who the 4th post player will be at this point for the Bison. They had Nebraska-native, Spencer Eliason redshirting last season, and they are bringing in two 6’8″ freshmen that they appear to be pretty excited about. With Kading and Werner, you kind of expect one of the two true freshman to redshirt though, right?
Eric Robertson, Tyler Flack, Tyler Hagedorn, Dan Jech
I admit that is pretty difficult to go on from here, so how about South Dakota? The Coyotes might actually have the most talented post players, but there are some questions to it. Can Tyler Flack bounce back from sitting out all of 2014-2015 with an injury, and does Craig Smith even like him? Flack was averaging 8.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg, and shooting 55% from the field as a sophomore in 21 minutes on a pretty bad South Dakota team.
Can Eric Robertson survive as a starter if Smith doesn’t feel comfortable with starting a true freshman? Then there is two freshman, Tyler Hagedorn and Dan Jech. Jech gives the Coyotes a post player and Hagedorn gives the team a stretch four. The Coyotes were able to survive last season with 6’3″ Tyler Larson and 6’5″ Tre Burnette as their primary options in the post last season, so what is going to happen when Smith adds some height to their post game. Oh yeah, and there is also Tre Burnette, who had the highest rebounding average of any player returning to the Summit League.
Jake White, Tre’Shawn Thurman, Daniel Meyer, Zach Pirog (or Randy Reed)
It is kind of a bold move picking the Mavericks that high here. Consider this though, no player 6’7″ or taller that is returning to the league averaged more points per game than Tre’Shawn Thurman last season. Jake White is healthy apparently, while I cannot 100% verify this, but I am pretty sure he had limited minutes in his junior season due to injuries. Even with as many injuries that he had in his junior season, he was probably the fastest post player in the league. So you have to assume he will go from 20 minutes per game to 25-30, his field goal percentage should rise above 40% while he’s healthy, he can probably be a 10 and 8 guy. 10 and 8 should get you Honorable Mention in the Summit.
Daniel Meyer should be getting a minutes increase as well. Statistically, he had about the same statistics that Dexter Werner had in his freshman season at North Dakota State, and he should receive an increased role (maybe even a Werner like role) with Mike Rostampour and Rylan Murry no longer on the team. One game last year, I was sitting near Matt Hagerbaumer, you seriously need to take the opportunity to sit next to Hagerbaumer if you ever get that chance. He’s constantly yelling support to younger players, and he was so excited about Thurman and Meyer as freshman. He at one point said that they needed Meyer to be a banger down low and be the dirty work guy. Basically, the Mavs need him to be Matt Hagerbaumer 2.0, and he is capable of being that. Meyer apparently played very well on the team’s trip to Italy as well.
I am still unsure if Zach Pirog will redshirt. Hansen kind of has a history of redshirting big players, and the team already has White, Thurman, and Meyer; but maybe Pirog is even better than advertised? He should add immediate rim protection to the team, which would be extremely helpful, but how many minutes would be able to get this season? Not to mention, there will probably be a lot teams playing 6’5″ guys at the 4 position for a decent chunk of minutes this season, so wouldn’t you want to play Randy Reed more at the 4 position this season; leaving a lot of the minutes at the 5 to White, Meyer, and even Thurman. Just seems like minutes wise it would be a good idea to redshirt Pirog, but he is someone that can immediately help this team.
South Dakota State
Connor Devine, Ian Theisen, Michael Daum, Adam Dykman
There is a big gaping hole to make up in the loss of Cody Larson for the Jackrabbits, and it is unclear who will fill that role. The Jackrabbits also grew comfortable playing Reed Tellinguisen at the 4 last season, as the team’s 5th best offensive player, they really couldn’t keep him off the floor, even if he was playing undersized at times.
You look at Devine and Theisen and you think two guys that don’t even combine for 5 points per game, but really they were playing behind Cody Larson and sharing that role of backup post player. Then you realize that they both shot over 50 percent from the field, and they both had stretches over the season where they were making big plays. It’s also not like Scott Nagy cannot develop guys at all. Devine as a 40% free throw shooter might get left off the court down the stretch of the few close conference games the Jackrabbits will have.
The Jackrabbits also had Nebraska-native Michael Daum redshirting last season, who seemed like a pretty attractive recruit coming out of high school, so who knows how much he developed under the Jackrabbits staff. The basketball fan in me says “oh wow this guy averaged 25 and 13 as a senior in high school,” but the Nebraskan in me says “I have never even heard of Kimball, how could anyone be good at basketball from there.” The Mavericks offered him a scholarship though, he also held offers from South Dakota, Wyoming, North Dakota, and others, so non-Nebraskans see something in him.
Then there is even another Nebraska-native on the team, 6’7″ Adam Dykman. I am pretty nervous about Dykman, I constantly saw his name in the paper for big games, and I know a few guys hugely into Nebraska high school basketball that were upset that UNO or Nebraska did not give an offer to this kid. I am afraid he’s psycho angry about that.
With such a strong group of starting guards, I don’t think it’s going to come down to the post players for the Jackrabbits. The show Scrubs had a great core of cast with JD, Turk, Kelso, Elliot, and Dr. Cox, would the show have been successful if they threw in a bunch of episodes centered around Ted and made a three episode story arch about Ted? Many people would have turned away. I actually would have watched the crap out of that. So how many times are you going to hear a ESPN3 commentator say: The Jackrabbits are having a great night with Marshall, Bittle, Parks, and Tellinghuisen knocking down all these outside shots and beating their defenders to the rim; but I really think they need to get the ball into Devine to work his magic on Dexter Werner? Probably never.
Nick Osborne, Matt O’Leary, Evan Hall, and Noah Thomas
Nick Osborne and Matt O’Leary were decent players at Loyola and will now have increased roles with the Jaguars. Evan Hall and Noah Thomas are both true freshman, so the hard part for the Jags is throwing in an entirely new core of post players into their lineup. Hall is a 6’7″ freshman that was rated as a 3 star recruit and had offers from Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, and Lipscomb out of high school. Hall is a 6’9 and 235 post from the state of Indiana that averaged a double-double in his senior season. The Jaguars also survived last year on having guards playing as post players, so it’s not like they cannot win without a post game at all. Essentially, the team decided that they didn’t like the cast of the last season of the Power Rangers and went with entirely new ranger squad, and they feel pretty comfortable about how the new cast will go. How many other places are you going to find a Power Rangers reference talking about sports? Actually, I don’t think this my first time on here.
Joe Reed, Brent Calhoun, Andrew Poulter, Racine Talla
You’ve got to feel confident in a 6’8″ guy like Joe Reed that has shot about 55% for his career. Like Jake White and Tre’Shawn Thurman getting more shots because of departures, you’ve got to think that Reed’s shot attempts will go up with the loss of Steve Forbes. Reed is another guy with potential to be a 10 and 8 guy. His other three front court teammates are kind of question marks.
I’ve seen people bragging up Andrew Poulter, and I do not get it. He was a 7 and 5 guy as a sophomore at a junior college, and he also shot 47% from the field. I watched a video of him in high school working on some 1 on 1 moves, he was looking like an All American but he’s 6’11” and 275 going up 1 on 1 against some 6’5″ 175 pound guy. Granted, it is high school and I doubt there were too many guys near his size to work out with, but still, I don’t see how his 1 on 1 skills will ever come into play from the Summit. Then there is sophomore Racine Talla who is 6’9″ but hasn’t played a game of basketball in 3 years. It just seems like a gamble to take them seriously at this point. Maybe Jon Coffman realizes how to use them appropriately though, we will clearly have to wait and see. And many people have them picked as the 4th best team in the conference, so maybe I am just a moron. 95% chance that I am a moron.
Brandon Conley, Tre Vance, AJ Owens, and Darian Harris
Did you know this team led the Summit League in blocks per game last season? They essentially did not need production offensively from their post players as they had Obi Emegano, Kory Billbury, and Bobby Word to take on a bulk of the scoring, so they really just needed their post players to play defense and make great outlet passes. I don’t think people are realizing how important Denell Henderson was to this team. None of these players are huge scoring threats, and a lot of people are high on Owens even though he basically only got minutes when the Golden Eagles were getting killed last season. He shot 40% from the field, and he was basically playing against other teams’ 3rd string most of the time. Darian Harris also seems like he should be a shooting guard, but the ORU had to use him at the 4 position several times last season due to lack of a post.
I am nervous for Scott Sutton this season, but not in a way that I think he’s going to get fired or anything. I really do not think he has a great roster this season, but it is Sutton and Obi Emegano. I love hearing rumors every off season about schools looking at Sutton as a head coaching hire, but we may not get that this April and May. If Sutton can come in top three of the league this season, I really think he deserves coach of the year, but I don’t think he’ll get it.
Marcus Byrd, Daniel Amigo, Christian Mackey, and 1 of 2 freshman.
I am scared for Denver this season. A few have selected them to finish in last this season, CBS Sports rated them as the 3rd best team in the Summit League but it was pointless. It is really hard to look at Denver and say they have the best players in anything, not because of a lack of talent, but because of the offense that Joe Scott runs. Marcus Byrd averaged 8.5 points per game as a junior, 8.5 at Denver is like averaging 13 any place else. Byrd can also step out and take the three, he actually has the highest three point field goal percentage of any player returning to the Summit League this season, and he makes nearly 2 threes a game.
Daniel Amigo was also giving the Pioneers pretty good minutes as a freshman, but his season ended early due to injury. The Pioneers also have a 6’7″ freshman named Abiola Akintola from Australia, who was not widely recruited, but he averaged 17.8 ppg and 6 rebounds per game in the U18 Australian Junior Championships, whatever the heck that is. I know there are a lot of question marks for international players, and it could be difficult to figure out if he is even the right fit for Denver, but it could be something amazing watching him develop.
Tate Stensgaard, Jalen Chapman, Mike Miklusak, and the mystery man
All are average guys that on any other team in the Summit League would be role players, and really they are just role players for Western Illinois, but they give a lot of minutes to the Leathernecks when they are available. They many lost the last 13 of 14 games of the season because they had no Stensgaard or Chapman for that time, but still, could they have made the difference. The team has 4 freshman post players that will mix in. I wonder how they will work out.