A look at who the Summit League is losing

College sports graduates teams every year, players transfer, and teams are affected by that from year to year…duh.  Some top teams get worse because of what they are losing, and other teams get better with what they have coming back.

Here is who Summit League men’s basketball is losing this year, and the list is in order of what teams will be affected most by their losses.


South Dakota

It feels uncommon to see the team that finished 8th in a conference to be losing so many players.  Seems like these teams are typically youthful and at least have a lot to look forward to in the future as they develop their team.  South Dakota will graduate 4 players on scholarship and one walk on player; as well as lose three players to transfer.

The Yotes will have a new look with three transfers coming aboard, and could potentially have the deepest core of post players as most of their post players this season were freshmen and sophomores.

From 2014-2015 to 2015-2016, the Coyotes were losing the most scoring off their team at 57% and they fell from 4th in the conference to 8th.  Going into next season, they will again be the team that loses the most scoring at nearly 80 freaking percent of their scoring.

Graduates

Tre Burnette, 6’5″ guard/forward

Played in 32 games and started 23 in 2015-2016.  Averaged 13.2 points; 6.6 rebounds (4th in the Summit League), shot 44% from the field; 51% from the free throw line; and, 32% on threes.  Finished his senior season with 8 double-doubles.

Burnette played the 2, 3, and 4 for the Coyotes at different times.  His production and hustle will be missed by the Coyotes, but he could be being replaced by more efficient players.

Casey Kasperbauer, 6’1″ guard

Started in all 32 games for the Yotes in his senior season.  Averaged 12.1 points; 2.5 rebounds; 2.1 assists; and 1 steal per game.  Shot 41% from the field; 95% (led the Summit) from the free throw line; and 41% on threes.

Craig Smith once called Kasperbauer the best shooter that he had ever coached, and that will be missed by the Coyotes.  The transfer guards coming in for South Dakota appear to be slightly more versatile than Kasperbauer and be more productive over the 34 minutes a game that Kasperbauer was playing.

Trey Norris, 6’0″ guard

Played in all 32 games for the Yotes, and was moved into the starting rotation after Shy McClelland left the team, which was weird because Norris seemed to be the better point guard on the court for the team.  Ended the year averaging 7.5 points and 4.3 assists per game, but was averaging 12 points 5.4 assists in February and March.

Eric Robertson, 6’8″ forward/center

Started in all 32 games for South Dakota as a senior.  Not much of a rebounder for a big man averaging 3.2 per game.  Robertson scored 8.3 points per game on 47% from the floor.

I thought that Tyler Hagedorn or Dan Jech should have been playing more time than Robertson, and I may be more bias for Hagedorn being that he is from Nebraska, but both true freshmen seemed that they could have been more productive over Robertson.

Duol Mayot, 6’5″ guard/foward

Played in 17 games in his senior season as a walk on.

Departures

Dejon Davis, 6’4″ sophomore – Transferred to Indianapolis (D2)

Considered to be one of the most improved players in the Summit League after seeing his scoring go from 1.9 points per game in his freshman season to 9.3 as a sophomore.  Davis’ playing time was increased as well going from a seldom used guard his freshman season at 9.3 minutes per game to starting in 31 of 32 games in his sophomore season and averaging nearly 30 minutes per game.  He was 6th in the Summit League in field goal percentage shooting 55.1% from the field.  He was likely to see a reduction in minutes with Matt Mooney and Carlton Hurst becoming eligible, but Davis still would have been a contributor to the team.

Shy McClelland, 6’0″ junior – Left team in early February

McClelland averaged 11.5 points on 49% from the field in his time with South Dakota, but he shot 51% from the free throw line attempting over 4 free throws a game.  He was pretty inconsistent in his time on the team, but could have been a contributor to the Coyotes in 2016-2017.

Zach Dickerson, 6’4″ sophomore – Left team in early February

A transfer from Eastern Illinois that was not seeing much playing time for South Dakota, and probably was not going to see much of an increase in minutes in 2016-2017.


South Dakota State

The Jackrabbits are losing nearly half of their scoring, and they will working with a new head coach in 2016-2017.  Teams in the Summit League may not have the same fear that they’ve had going up against the Jackrabbits that they have had over the last few years.

Graduates

George Marshall, 6’0″ guard

Marshall ended the year struggling when it mattered most.  The Jacks had to survive through his 15% shooting in the conference tournament to move on to face Maryland in the big dance.  Marshall ended the regular season as a 1st Team All Summit League player with his 14.9 points per game, which was 10th in the league.

Marshall has potential to play basketball overseas or in the new NBLA.

Deondre Parks, 6’1″ guard

Parks played in 33 of the team’s 34 games and also averaged 14.9 points per game, and he was a good rebounder at his size with 4.6 per game.  He was shockingly pushed down to the Honorable Mention Team for the Summit after being named to the preseason 1st team.

Like his back court teammate, Parks also has potential to play basketball overseas or in the new NBLA.

Jake Bittle, 6’4″ guard

Bittle did not receive any post season awards after being named to the preseason 1st Team for the Summit League.  He was forced out and also played through some injuries, which may have led to some slightly inconsistent play for himself and the Jackrabbits.  Bittle led the Jackrabbits with 25 points in their win at Minnesota.

Losing Bittle as the guy to actually run the Jackrabbits offense is what could hurt the team the most.

Cory Jacobsen, 6’1″ guard

Never really saw much playing time as a walk on for the Coyotes.  Scored 2 points his senior season.

Departures

Connor Devine, 6’10” junior – Transferred to Alaska-Anchorage (D2)

Never truly broke into the rotation at South Dakota State playing behind a number of quality post players in three years.  Devine did average 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds as a junior, and shot 64% from the field in 8 minutes per game.  Could have been potentially a starter or the 1st post player off the bench in 2016-2017 with the Jacks currently with a lack of big men.

Logan Doyle, 6’8″ sophomore – Transferred to Northern State (D2)

Basically the exact same situation as Devine.  Only played in 7 games as a sophomore, but could have been one of the first guys off the bench in 2016-2017.


Omaha

Graduating four contributors is really hard to make up in college basketball, but the Mavericks will get to reload some of their roster with transfers and players returning from injuries.  The Mavericks will also literally be blessed with a 6th year of eligibility to Kyler Erickson.

Graduates

Devin Patterson, 5’11” guard

Patterson was the fastest player in the league, and that speed is what kept the Mavericks in a few games and gave the team a few victories.  Making up 18 points per game (3rd in the Summit) will be difficult, making up for his speed and his ability to get to the free throw line with be more difficult to overcome.

Patterson has potential to play basketball overseas or in the NBLA.

Jake White, 6’8″ forward

Even though White seemed to constantly be in foul trouble, he finished his senior season 5th in scoring in the conference with 17.3 points per game; as well as 6th in the Summit in rebounding at 6.2 rebounds per game.  It is hard to find a big man like White that can score from anywhere on the court as well draw as many fouls as he did.  As much as White did commit fouls, he was also able to tie for 3rd in the Summit for free throws attempted per game behind Obi Emegano and Devin Patterson.  White also shot 81% from the free throw line as a senior, which was 2nd in the league among forwards.

White has potential to play basketball overseas or in the NBLA.

Randy Reed, 6’6″ forward

Reed may have only averaged 6 points and 3 rebounds per game in his senior season, but the energy and hustle that he brought off the bench for the Mavericks was priceless and will be incredibly difficult to replace.  His 21 points and 5 rebounds off the bench on senior night was one of the most fun performances by a Mav to watch in person since the Mavericks made the transition to division one.

Tim Smallwood, 6’2″ guard

Smallwood was a little inconsistent, but he was able to improve on his shooting from his junior season to his senior season.  As a junior he shot 26% on threes, and he ended up shooting 37% on threes in his senior season.  I personally thought Smallwood was an underrated one-on-one defender.

Departure

Devin Newsome, 5’9″ sophomore

This appears to be unofficial at the moment.  Per the Omaha World Herald, Newsome is looking for a school to transfer to, but there has not been an official statement from anyone.  Newsome was rarely used in his freshman and sophomore seasons, and was unlikely to see an increase in minutes with the guards expected to be on the 2016-2017 roster.


IPFW

Graduates

Max Landis, 6’2″ guard

The ‘Dons are losing the Summit League player of the year that averaged 10 points a game on just three point field goals.  This is not something that is just easy to make up, but it can be done with a few players taking over the load of scoring and shooting.  After Mo Evans was forced off the team in the second semester, Landis stepped up as a passer and averaged over 4 assists without Evans on the roster.  IPFW has Purdue transfer, Bryson Scott to help take over the scoring load but he shot 29% in his two years on threes at Purdue while Landis just shot 45.6% on threes as a senior, which was 30th in division one.

Landis has recently had workouts with the Indiana Pacers and has potential to play in the NBDL.

Joe Reed, 6’8″ forward

The ‘Dons may end up missing Joe Reed more than they think.  He averaged 10.5 points and nearly 5 rebounds a game, but he was always ready to take a clutch shot.  The ‘Dons loved their small ball style in 2015-2016, and Reed was perfect to play at the 5 for that style.  Their core of post players in 2016-2017 may not be the best players for that type of system the coaching staff seemed to fall in love with.

Michael Calder, 6’2″ guard

Calder was fantastic making up for the loss of Mo Evans in the second half of the season.  He was a bit of a one dimensional guard in his junior season when he averaged 4.7 points, and he was able to step that up to 10 points per game overall as a senior.  Calder averaged 14.4 points in Summit League games after Evans was forced out for the 2nd half of the season.

Departure

Andrew Poulter, 6’11” junior

When Poulter signed with the ‘Dons, I was under the impression that Jon Coffman was going to start and play Poulter at the 5.  Poulter was overweight, shot terribly in junior college, was quite slow, and the ‘Dons wanted to go to a new small ball style.  I thought we were going to have to get Coffman checked into some sort of rehab, but instead Poulter hardly got any playing time at IPFW and decided to leave.  Just didn’t seem like the right fit from the beginning.


Oral Roberts

Graduates

Obi Emegano, 6’3″ guard

So I read somewhere that NBA scouts thought that Emegano was a junior and they were not taking his stock into the draft very seriously.  This seems like a really bitter end for the conference scoring champion after a bulk of his teammates leaving Oral Roberts over the last few years, a shoulder injury in the summer, a mid-season concussion, and being surrounded by an incredibly inconsistent youthful squad with zero chemistry.  Though a year from now we could be talking about how the 2016-2017 Summit League scoring champion, Garret Covington, was only a part of 40 wins in his entire collegiate basketball career.

Emegano has potential to be in the NBDL as he appears to be too short to play the shooting guard position in the NBA, nor really enough speed to be in the NBA…but people said the exact same things about Steph Curry.  The loss of Emegano is obviously huge for the Golden Eagles, and they may be classically bad in 2017.

Brandon Conley, 6’6″ forward

The undersized big man suffered through little injuries his entire senior year at Oral Roberts, which led to inconsistent play.  Conley did shoot 56.2% from the field, which was 4th in the Summit League.  His averages of 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds are something that can be easily made up with Oral Roberts’ youth.  They seem to routinely have a guy that goes from averaging 2 points a game to getting 8 to 10 points each game the following year.

Departures

DaQuan Jeffries, 6’5 freshman

Jeffries looked like a guard that loved playing against faster paced teams like Omaha and IPFW, and he even looked pretty good for what Oral Roberts liked to do…yet he transferred away from the team.  His versatility as being a 6’5″ guard who was actually probably better as a forward made it difficult to figure out where to play him in each and every game.  His 6.7 points per game was going to be 4th among returning players to the team.

Tre Vance, 6’9″ junior

Vance averaged less than one point and one rebound in his time at Oral Roberts.  Not really sure what to say here…  I’ve lost 17 pounds in the last 2 months…I’ve been working out a lot and eating really well.  It’s cool and all, but I have to buy a bunch of new clothes because I look like a little kid wearing a bunch of hand me downs from his big brother.


Western Illinois

I want to say it really couldn’t get any worse for the Leathernecks, but it doesn’t seem like it will get much better.

Graduates

JC Fuller, 6’3″ guard

Fuller started the year off pretty hot, and then his shooting dropped off toward the end of the conference season.  Fuller averaged 12.7 points a game, but I doubt Billy Wright will miss his shot selection.  The Leathernecks won two games in a row over Omaha and Denver when they decided to play freshman De’Angelo Bruster more than Fuller…then they went back to giving more minutes to Fuller and lost 4 of their last 5.

I will still remember Fuller as the guy that was absolutely on fire in the first half at Baxter Arena and talking shit to the Maverick bench, then put his forearm into Kyler Erickson’s chest right in front of a referee to push off to miss a 30 foot jump shot.  Then Fuller went missing the second half and the Mavericks came back from a big deficit to win the game.

Tate Stensgaard 6’9″ forward

I feel like Stensgaard was injured throughout his entire career.  He always appeared as if he was playing with a pulled hamstring.  Stensgaard could hit 15 foot jump shots consistently, and could put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket and draw fouls, he shot 60% from the field and averaged 8.6 points as a senior.  Western Illinois just boggles my mind.

Jalen Chapman, 6’8″ forward

Chapman started at center for the Leathernecks and averaged 17 minutes a game in each of his 2 seasons at Western Illinois.  I’m not really sure where else in the Summit League that he would have averaged 17 minutes a game.

Jamie Batish, 6’4″ guard

Batish was a really good shooter that had his career affected by nagging injuries.  The Leathernecks may have picked up a few more wins with the shooter being able to play more as a senior.


North Dakota State

Graduates

Kory Brown, 6’4″ guard

Brown is going to be hard to make up for the Bison, but they pride themselves on their Next One Up philosophy.  It’s not easy to lose a guy that was a part of 2 NCAA tournament teams and went to the conference championship every year he was a member of the team.  He was second on the team in rebounds and was arguably their best perimeter defender.  Brown was also that guy that you forgot was in the game when they’re down by 10 and then all of a sudden he makes a handful of defensive stops and scores on 4 straight possessions to get the Bison right back in the game.  They may not have that guy that can just create a 10 point swing in 2 minutes completely by himself next season.

Chris Kading, 6’9″ center

Normally, you wouldn’t think the loss of a guy that averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds is a big deal, but it is actually a little bit of a big deal for the Bison to lose Kading.  His senior year was slowed down with surgeries before the start of the season, which is what led to a reduction in playing time, but he was still effective for the Bison on the court with his smart play and defense.

In the game at Baxter Arena, AJ Jacobson couldn’t guard Jake White or Tre’Shawn Thurman and Jacobson got into foul trouble so David Richman called on Kading.  Kading grabbed some big boards, drew some fouls on Jake White, hit a big three in the first half, and helped spark a little run to keep the game close.  Thurman and Randy Reed were both bothered by Kading and couldn’t really score on him.  The second half, Jacobson got more playing time before ultimately fouling out, and the Bison probably could have won that game if Kading was fully healthy and could have gotten 35 minutes.

Departures

Trey Miller, 6’7″ freshman

Miller played 5 minutes for the Bison and just decided to say “eff this” and left the team.

Brian Ishola, 6’5″ sophomore

I’m not sure who Ishola was.  I think he was just a player that EA Sports made up when there weren’t enough players in the game anymore.


IUPUI

The Jaguars are graduating two seniors, but they are going to have the most returning to their roster in 2016.  They also added two senior transfers that will be eligible immediately and could have the most depth in the Summit League in 2016-2017.

Marcellus Barksdale, 6’5″ guard

One of the best perimeter defenders in the Summit League, and Barksdale had to play every position at some point in his career with the Jaguars as they just about didn’t have anyone else on the team in his first 3 years in the program.  If James Gardner had not come along for IUPUI and brought in a bunch of transfers with him, Barksdale may have been a part of 8 wins in his entire year with the IUPUI.

The stats for Barksdale won’t be hard to make up for the Jaguars, but his defensive presence that allowed the Jaguars to start most of their fast breaks may hurt them to a degree.  They really didn’t win games with their amazing offensive efficiency, they won 9 conference games with their scrappy defense that Barksdale was a major catalyst for.

Mason Archie, 6’5″ guard

The Jaguars considered Archie to be their best perimeter defender, yet that seemed like a ploy to have teams forget about Barksdale somehow.  His length may have bothered some of the smaller shooting guards in the league a bit, but it’s not like that is something teams couldn’t overcome.

The Jaguars are going to be the most experienced team in 2016-2017, if that wasn’t the case, I may have said the losses of Barksdale and Archie were more detrimental to the team.  They return 80% of their scoring from their 9-7 team, and are adding two graduate transfers and a transfer from Syracuse to the roster.  They’ll be fine.

 

 

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I think the Mavs played St. Marys, so I made some inane comments

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.

 

2015-2016 opponent preview, Game 2: Kansas City

This is where I could have done a preview of the Mavericks’ second opponent, St. Mary’s from Minnesota, but they play in Division 3 and on top of that St. Mary’s lists the game as an exhibition.  What fun would that be?  It does feel good to actually have 100% confidence in these games though, it is not like in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 when you just were not really sure what UNO would do against these teams.

So we move on looking at the UMKC Kangaroos.

Last year I heavily debated of going to Kansas City to watch this game.  I do not recall why I did not go, but it was more than likely because I had no one that wanted to brave the exhausting three hour drive with me.  Seriously, you have to drive through Iowa for part of it.  I listened to the game on the radio, but found myself screaming like I was Krusty the Klown screaming at the Washington Generals for just watching the Harlem Globetrotters spin the ball on their fingers.

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The Mavs were getting Jake White back into the lineup after being injured in their home opener against Central Arkansas.  UMKC was playing without probably their best post player, former Bradley Brave, Shayok Shayok.  I was not feeling like it would be an easy win, but I was still expecting a win that day.  The Mavs ended up losing to the ‘Roos with a 20 point performance from CJ Carter and a 19 point and 8 rebound performance from Tre’Shawn Thurman.  You can pretty much completely attribute the loss to a season high 26 turnovers.  26!  That is scary!  That is sick, and not the good kind of sick that all the kids are throwing around now a days.  The kind of sick you feel when you find out that person you hate at work is getting their cubicle moved right next to you.  That Mavs even outrebounded UMKC by 14 on the day.  This is still the one game of the 2014-2015 season that I look back most and say, if they replayed that game, UNO wins the game.

This loss, in my opinion, was more embarrassing than any other Mav loss on the year.  More embarrassing than Chicago State.  Even though the Kangaroos beat Missouri earlier in the season, the Mavs were a superior team but could not handle the ball.  The game was right there.  UMKC took their decent back court and attacked UNO’s poor perimeter defense.  Martez Harrison, who became the first D-1 All American (Honorable Mention) that UMKC has ever had, dropped 25 on the Mavericks.  Frank Williams Jr, doubled his season average with 16, these 6’4″ to 6’6″ wing players always seemed to have out of body experiences against the Mavs last season.

Martez Harrison was also the 2015-2016 WAC player of the year.
Martez Harrison was also the 2014-2015 WAC player of the year.

The obvious hope this upcoming season is that this will not be a glaring issue anymore.  Tra-Deon Hollins is expected to help with this perimeter defensive issues, and in my opinion, Randy Reed should hopefully get a little more playing time to guard against those 6’4″ to 6’6″ wing players that gave the Mavs fits last season.

In that wing position, the ‘Roos have sophomore Darius Austin, who averaged 4.4 ppg and 4.2 rpg in 20 minutes per game.  He did have 9 points and 8 rebounds against the Mavs last season.  There is also junior Broderick Newbill, who averaged 4.2 ppg and 2.1 rebounds per game in about 12 minutes a game last season.  He had 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals against the Mavericks last season.  UMKC will also be adding a 6’3″ junior college transfer, Deshawn King, who averaged about 12 points per game, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.  King was not a tremendous threat from long range being that he made 33% of his threes in in his sophomore season, but he only attempted about one three point shot a game.  He also only shot 60% from the field.

My perception (actually this blog is pretty much 100% about my perceptions) is that one of the Mavs top two strengths this upcoming season will be their post game.  The Mavs lost crazy inside force Mike Rostampour, and that will hurt, but how good can the post look with a hopefully healthy Jake White and a stronger and more experienced Tre’Shawn Thurman?  Not to mention, Daniel Meyer is sounding as if he has improved his game a tremendous amount, based on the Mavs Euroblog.  The Mavs have a good three headed monster down low, and maybe even a 4 headed monster if freshman Zach Pirog is ready to play.  But if the Mavs have 26 turnovers again, or hell, even 25 turnovers, it is not like they are going to have enough opportunities to get the ball down low to the triple dragon.

With that in mind, the Kangaroos do not have much of a post game.  Can Shayok play this year?  He is basically their entire post game, but only played in 8 games last season.  UMKC will also be adding former Youngstown State forward, 6’7″ Kyle Steward, to their post game.  Steward spent his sophomore season at Butler Community College, who is pretty much good all the time (they went 29-4 last season), where he averaged about 13 points per game and 5 rebounds per game.  Steward can also step out and hit the three, so he can really help open things up for UMKC.

UMKC is a team the Mavs are kind of used to.  The proximity and somewhat equal size which has made this a little bit of a rivalry, it seemed like UNO-UMKC was going to create a nice little rivalry as Summit League members.  It would make sense for UMKC to come back to the Summit League and make it an even 10 teams, especially since UMKC does not have one conference opponent in the WAC that they do not have to fly to play.  Until they man up and face the reality that they have to come back to the Summit League, it will probably be a regular thing to play UMKC once a year.

The Kangaroos were the first team that UNO got a Summit League regular season win over, and the first team that the Mavericks swept in the regular season.  Okay, maybe that is why they do not want to come back.

It is definitely a good thing that this game will be played in Omaha.  Last season, for their conference schedule, the Kangaroos were 6-1 at home and only 2-5 on the road, so they are not that great away from the state of Missouri…but they did pick up a win in double overtime at Indiana State in their non conference schedule.  The Mavericks will have two games under their shorts at the Baxter Arena, and things are starting to look pretty good in Mavtown as it is, so hopefully a good crowd can make it out to this Tuesday game.

One difference with the Mavs as compared to last season is that when the Mavericks traveled to Kansas City, they were really still trying to figure things out.  The team was already trying to figure out where the additions of Tre’Shawn Thurman, Randy Reed, Tim Smallwood, Rylan Murry, Daniel Meyer, Kyler Erickson, and Devin Newsome were going to fit into a rotation.  That is even with trying to figure out what to do with Jake White, who was coming back with an injury at that point.  This season, there is not going to be a lot of process trying to figure those things out, and the Mavs will be trying to figure out how to add just three or four players into the mix (Gibson, Hollins, Pirog, and Jackson).  The team has had a trip to Italy and more practice to figure out rotations, so it will not take as long for the Mavericks to figure out who everyone is.  The team is going to be slightly deeper this season, which makes since now that they are a full fledged member of division one now.

So how are the Mavs’ chances against the Kangaroos this November?  The Mavs can hopefully take better care of the ball and be able to edge out UMKC this season.  Really, how could they not take better care of the ball this time around?  This is not the same Kangaroos team that Omaha swept in their first year in the Summit, really either are the Mavericks…the only player they still have from that team is Marcus Tyus.  This game can still be as close as last season, but with better defense the Mavericks will look to better contain Martez Harrison.

 

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.


 

 

Meet future Mav Tra-Deon Hollins

So March Madness has officially began, the Mavs still cannot attend the dance, so it is not too early to look at what the Mavs will have for next season.  I am already convinced that my bracket is ruined.

You should have finally accepted the fact that the NCAA will not just let CJ Carter and Mike Rostampour get another year of eligibility for the chance to play in the Summit League and NCAA Tournaments, but hey wouldn’t be cool if Jason Mims just kind of let Carter play on the soccer team for the opportunity for post season?  Or if Bob Herold let Carter play as a pinch runner for the baseball team for his 5th year of eligibility?  I have no idea if Carter is even capable of doing those things, but you would be interested to see what it would be like.

So Tra-Deon Hollins, a 6’2″ guard coming to UNO from the Junior College ranks, played high school basketball at Omaha Central, where he was a part of four state titles, with the likes of Tre’Shawn Thurman and Georgetown/Louisville forward Akoy Agau.  Is it Tra-Deon, or is it TraDeon?  I have seen both.  I am going to need help from Dale Doback on this whole Pan/Pam situation.  That is a Step Brothers reference.  Anyway, Hollins has the chance to be an immediate impact on this basketball team, as most junior college transfers do coming into mid-major teams.

Whenever I present my wife with a good news/bad news situation she always wants the bad news first, so I will throw the bad at you before the good.  It is not really all that bad, but as a sports fan you have the have a small amount of worry.  Hollins only played 9 games at Chipola College this past season before he was dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons.

That raises your eyebrow with a small amount of concern as a sports fan.  You see it a lot in college sports, or even in professional sports, of someone getting in a small amount of trouble, but it keeps escalating into more and more until that player never plays.  You obviously hope it is nothing, and it is something that the player can learn from and become a stronger person and player.  Sports give that opportunity for some people to find redemption a little faster.

Here is a quote from the Omaha World Herald from Hollins:  It just made me a better man today.  It opened my eyes and made me more wise, and it taught me a lot about decisions and how much that can take a toll on you.

I do not know what happened with Hollins, nor do I really care as it is not really any of my business, but I think that is a great quote from him.  Someone gets in a little trouble and you ask for them to own up to it.  I hate when I hear someone get in trouble and their immediate go to comment it “yeah, but it was all some bullshit.”  Sports (and life) is all about decision making, you know aside from athleticism and whatnot, so to have that character on the team that knows how important decision making is, that is a great addition to the team.  If you had a “yeah, but it was all some bullshit” guy on the team, you would need to worry a little more.  He could become a distraction by doing stupid crap, like accidentally stealing seafood from a supermarket.  I know a guy was a “yeah, but was all some bullshit” guy.  He got in trouble, went on to play junior college basketball, quit basketball after getting in trouble a few more times, and the last I heard he is a drug dealer.  So yeah, do not be that guy, learn, move on, and grow.

Okay, so now onto the good.  13.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg (that is not role playing games), 6.6 apg, 61.5 FG%, 42.9 3pt%, 75 FT%, and 4.6 steals per game in those 9 games.  The season before at Central Community College:  17.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.3 apg, 47.8 FG%, 37.2 3pt%, 69.9 FT%, and 4.1 steals per game.  Certainly sounds like a guy that can do a little bit of everything.

What is more shocking is that in the Omaha World Herald, he said that he was a defensive player.  Okay, yeah, now I do not know what to do with myself.  UNO’s defense was not very good last year, last in the league in points allowed, and near the bottom in defensive shooting percentage.  The offense was like Oregon football, but the defense was like Omaha Northwest football.  Are they still bad?  There were not very good when I was in high school.  So when you have a guy that sounds like a great scorer on paper, but out loud is completely committed to defense, you are completely freaking excited.  I am just imagining a team coming down the court and trying to get the ball past Hollins and Devin Patterson.  Then when they do, they have to deal with Thurman’s length and shot blocking ability, and then if they can get a shot up they have to deal with Jake White’s rebounding ability.  You just got like super pumped about that, right?

One thing that worries me though is the dying of the hair to blonde?  I remember seeing a bunch of pictures in the Omaha World Herald in 2013 of the Omaha Central basketball team and it seemed like a bulk of the team dyed their hair blonde.  It is cool to have a little unity like that.  Like when a football team all shaves their heads, or when the Boston Celtics starters in 2007-2008 all shaved their heads at the beginning of the season.  But I hope this blonde head thing does not catch on for the UNO Mavericks basketball team.  I do not know if I could concentrate on a game if Jake White, Rylan Murry, and Kyler Erickson went all Slim Shady.

So we are going to add Hollins to a back court of Patterson, Marcus Tyus, Tim Smallwood, Kyler Erickson, Devin Newsome, and incoming freshman JT Gibson.  Sounds like a good back court committee.  The back court is going to need to come up huge with South Dakota State returning Deondre Parks, Jake Bittle, and George Marshall.  That is a back court that is going to be dangerous.

I remember watching the 2013 Nebraska high school state championship game on television.  I was watching to see what Nick Billingsley was like, who was at the time committed to UNO.  I remember thinking that Hollins was incredibly fast and a big piece of energy for the Eagles.  Was he the best player?  I do not know, that team was freaking stacked.  I said a few times throughout the 2014-2015 season that the Mavericks lacked a high energy guard off the bench.  Tyus was that high energy guy off the bench in 2013-2014, and Alex Phillips and Caleb Steffensmeier both had their moments in that role, but no one was really doing that for the Mavs this past season.  Not saying that Tim Smallwood, Devin Newsome, or Kyler Erickson were bad, but not of them were that unstoppable piece of energy off the bench.  Erickson became that toward the end of the season, but none of them were that Nate Robinson or Jamal Crawford type of energy.  Hollins seems to have what it takes to be that much needed chess piece.

Hollins is (clearly) an Omaha guy, and he seems to have a sense of pride to represent the city.  You want those guys mixed in on your team.  Even Kansas finds a few dudes from Lawrence for that representation.  I was reading something yesterday, I already forgot the subject of the article, but it was basically stating that teams cannot get by with the one trick ponies anymore.  The guys who just stand in the corner and take threes are not very important.  Teams need the guys that can do a little bit of everything, and we totally got that in Hollins.

Welcome to MavNation.

Meet future Maverick J.T. Gibson

With just a few weeks left in the basketball season, and with an 8-15 record, Mav fans may begin looking to UNO’s first full fledged season as a Division 1 institution.  It’s okay to admit it, we have been looking forward to the 2015-2016 season for quite some time now.

Let’s add some more hype to next season by taking a minute to discuss future guard J.T. Gibson.  I have stated before that it seems somewhat pointless to talk about recruiting, you do not really know what you have in a player until he is actually in a uniform on the court in a game.  But hey, let’s try it.

Just looking at a few things, the commitment of Gibson already seems like a win for the Mavericks.  The Mavs have wanted to recruit out of the state of Minnesota for a while now, even before transition, it was a great place to go on recruiting trips.  With only one division one basketball team in the state of Minnesota, which is a Power 5 team that can recruit nationally, it leaves a lot of room open for “the other guy” to come and try and sell brake pads.  That’s a Tommy Boy reference, a poor one, but still a Tommy Boy reference.

studentathletes
J.T. Gibson signed with the University of Nebraska at Omaha for basketball.

 

If you look at Gibson’s Yahoo profile, he held offers from Illinois State, La Salle, North Dakota, Northern Colorado, South Dakota, Western Kentucky, and the top dogs of the Summit League North Dakota State and South Dakota State.  He also visited NDSU and SDSU.  UNO has not gotten a commitment out of a guy yet that has had that many offers.  A goal of the basketball program was to grow into the next North Dakota State and South Dakota State, so to pick up a commitment from a guy that visited those two schools, shows us that UNO picked up a win.

Let’s not get crazy though, he still has to get on campus and play.  By that I mean, please don’t jinx it and go get in a fight with a Bison or Jackrabbit fan about how we’re better than them now, don’t be that dude.  Players have committed to UNO and vanished before, so let’s just appreciate what it’s worth for now.  The Minnesota High School Basketball bloggers and writers have referred to UNO picking up JT Gibson as a “steal”.  Some of them seem to think he could be at a bigger school, maybe not as an immediate impact like he would be in the Summit League, but an impact for sure at some point down the road.

Assuming and praying that Gibson is in uniform next season for UNO, he has the chance to contribute right away. UNO still has room for one more commitment and current players could still potentially transfer out, so there is still time for a lot of things to happen.  I have seen Gibson listed anywhere between 6’2″ and 6’4″, and he’s been scouted as being able to play the point guard or shooting guard.  So on paper it sounds like we have a special wing player that can do a lot.

One thing I would like to put a random disclaimer on.  I mention this kid’s height like it is an awesome thing, but height and athletic frame do not automatically equate to success.  I never want to refer to a player as “a kid with a great body.”  I was watching a Creighton game with some friends one time.  It was P’Allen Stinnett’ s first game at Creighton, also the first game for Kaleb Korver and Casey Harriman (among several others).  Biggest Douche in the Universe Nominee Travis Justice, that’s a South Park reference, kept referring to Casey Harriman as having a great body to the point that it became creepy.  It created four years of my friends and I passing jokes on Casey “the body” Harriman.  “The Body” faced many injuries over his career, and he was a classy dude, it was tough to watch him not turn into much at Creighton by his senior year.  I do not think we should ever tout someone as a great player because their body looks awesome.  The last thing I want to hear Gary Sharp say is “look at the body on Daniel Meyer.”  Just say it out loud, it’s seriously creepy.  The one take away you should take away from this is that Travis Justice is a freakin’ loser.  I met the guy once when I was in high school, I tried to be nice to him because hey, it was Mr. Channel 10.  Now I would just be a jerk to him.  Hey Travis, I am really sorry you lost out to John Edward.  The committee should have really given the award to you.  That’s back to the South Park reference.

Gibson’s high school team is undefeated (as of the 7th) and he has the most points in school history.  He is even up for Mr. Basketball in the state of Minnesota.  You are thinking of him on the floor with Tre’Shawn Thurman right now, aren’t you?  Gibson also comes from the same AAU team that some guy named Doug McDermott spent time on.

Here is a little video of him:

It looks as if he can shoot, and shoot well.  He also appears to be a good ball handler and passer, but I believe those skills get a little harder to showcase in the next level when you are facing tougher defenses, so we have to obviously wait and see if those skills will translate.  Would you compare him to any current and former Mavs?  Maybe the height of Justin Simmons, the shooting and ball handling of Marcus Tyus, the speed and penetration of CJ Carter?  Mavenstein!

Looking at the Mavs future, there will be J.T. Gibson along with (assuming these guys do not leave) Daniel Meyer, Tre’Shawn Thurman, Rylan Murry, and Devin Newsome as well as other signees C Zach Pirog and G Zach Jackson.  A decent crew it seems.  It certainly does seem attractive to think of those guys as a seniors with J.T. Gibson in the mix as a junior (along with the Zachs).

North Dakota State is a young team this year, they only lose Lawrence Alexander, who is the best player in the conference in my opinion.  They also have four decent commitments coming in, which includes a JuCo player named Malik Clements who once held a scholarship offer from UNO and they also have native Nebraskan Spencer Eliason, brother of Minnesota Gopher Elliott Eliason.

Oh, look who wanted this kid...
Oh, look who wanted this kid…

The other head honcho in the conference, South Dakota State, does not have any commitments yet, but they are also a somewhat young team that only loses two players to graduation.  South Dakota State could also land a transfer from a bigger school, or a juco player, they just have the power to do that.  They also have Nebraskan native Michael Daum, who also held a scholarship offer from UNO at one point, redshirting this season.

That’s not to say no one else in the conference has anything else sitting there for future purposes.  South Dakota picked up a commitment from Norfolk’s Tyler Hagedorn, another player UNO offered a scholarship.  You are also just sitting there thinking that Craig Smith is going to do something.  He’s waiting, he’s a sleeping giant that has already made South Dakota better, and will continue to make them better, until he probably gets a bigger and better job.  Denver picked up a commitment from a 6’5″ McDonald’s All American nominee (Rylan Murry was also a nominee, just sayin’).

On paper, it seems that the Mavs are inching closer to being comparable to North Dakota State and South Dakota State, and Gibson is one of the puzzle pieces to hopefully get us there.