Jacksonville State Gamecocks
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #129
Conference Rank: #4 Ohio Valley
Jacksonville State Team Page
After winning five games during the 2010-2011 campaign, the expectations were very low for Jacksonville State. A decade of similar disappoint did not help convert many to buying into the program. However, the Gamecocks had a very good, at least by their standards, 2011-2012 campaign, finishing with an 8-8 record in OVC play and then knocking top seed Austin Peay out of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. Due to a poor APR rating, Jacksonville State is not eligible for postseason play in 2013, but they can dash some hopes of others for now.
2011-12 Record: 15-18, 8-8
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: James Green
Coach Record: 42-79 at Jacksonville State, 209-229 overall
So why the big boost for JSU? First of all, they do not lose anybody from last year’s roster. Stephen Hall is gone, but he only played 18 games at the beginning of the season. Thus, what was a bunch of juniors and freshmen are now senior leaders and experienced sophomores. The overall team talent went up a lot more than most expected last season and coupled with that experience, Jacksonville State has a team that can compete with just about anybody in the conference. But the conference is more difficult this season with the addition of Belmont. While JSU may not be able to beat the Bruins or perennial power Murray State, the entire conference will get a nice RPI boost with Belmont in the mix.
The Gamecocks may not need much help, but they do have a couple newcomers who can make an impact. Teraes Clemmons is a big 6-6 wing who can do a little bit of everything. He is a solid defender and can knock down the long ball. Having a 6-6 on the roster will provide Coach James Green with a few more options defensively. Alex Anderson is the lone true freshman on the roster. The 5-10 point guard is a pure team player who can handle the ball and create opportunities for his teammates. While Anderson may have trouble finding opportunities to earn playing time, having a true point guard available is not a bad thing for this team.
Who to Watch:
That is because the current point guard, Brian Williams, is also the best shooter on the team and if he can work off of the ball on occasion, it will help the Gamecocks offense. But it will be hard to take the ball out of the 6-1 junior’s hands and put it into a freshman’s. Williams led the Gamecocks with 13.2 points, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals per contest during his sophomore season. The backcourt also features Ronnie Boggs, Mason Leggett, Grant White, Dion Waiters and super sixth man Darion Rackley. That group has some scorers, most notably Boggs and Rackley, but none of them are shooters. That is one place where Clemmons could come in and make an impact.
The star of the frontcourt is Tarvin Gaines. The 6-6 senior is a dangerous scorer who can do damage inside and out. Although, like most of the team, he probably spent a little too much time beyond the arc. But at least Gaines can score inside as well. He averaged 10.9 points and 4.3 rebounds last season and still has room to improve. Nick Cook will be the likely starter beside Gaines in the frontcourt. Cook is only 6-6 as well, but he is a big-bodied player who can bang in the paint and block shots. Offensively, Cook is pretty limited and will get most of his points from offensive rebounds, but as long as he hits the glass and plays defense, he is doing his job. At 6-7, Rinaldo Mafra is the tallest player on the team. When Gaines and Cook inevitably get into foul trouble, Mafra will get the call. This is a team that lacks a great shooter and a dominating big man, but they are a surprisingly talented group. With the postseason out of the picture, how bad Jacksonville State really wants to win may make a big difference. But with six seniors on the roster, there should not be anybody on the roster who lacks the will to win for their teammates. Coach Green will make sure of that and this team’s postseason will be in the regular season against unsuspecting opponents like Murray State and Belmont.
Projected Postseason Tournament: None
Projected Starting Five:
Brian Williams, Junior, Guard, 13.2 points per game
Ronnie Boggs, Senior, Guard, 7.4 points per game
Mason Leggett, Senior, Guard, 5.3 points per game
Tarvin Gaines, Senior, Forward, 10.9 points per game
Nick Cook, Junior, Forward, 6.0 points per game