Murray State Racers
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #1 Ohio Valley
Murray State Team Page
Coach Steve Prohm stepped into a great situation at Murray State last season. He led a talented and experienced squad to a one loss regular season and to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. This group may not be as experienced or talented as the team last year, but the Racers recent success has paid off on the recruiting front. Replacing three starters will not be as difficult as it sounds and Murray State should again cruise through the Ohio Valley Conference without too much trouble. However, the addition of Belmont to the conference does provide a little more intrigue.
2011-12 Record: 31-2, 15-1
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Steve Prohm
Coach Record: 31-2 at Murray State, 31-2 overall
The Racers will have to replace their second, third and fourth leading scorers from last season. Guards Donte Poole and Jewuan Long both started all 33 games during the 2011-2012 campaign. Poole was a dynamic scorer who knocked down over two three-pointers per game and could use his strong 6-3 frame to attack the basket. Poole was also a superb defender and a quality rebounder and it is not just his 14.0 points per game that will be missed. Long did not look to score as often as Poole, but the shooting guard was very efficient when he did opt to shoot. Ivan Aska is the other starter who has run out of eligibility. The 6-7 forward was the interior scoring threat and the best rebounder for the Racers last year.
Having talented freshmen is nice, but picking up an experienced transfer like Dexter Fields will keep this squad in the mix for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Fields spent two seasons at UAB and watched last season’s magical run unfold from the Racers bench. Fields was a part-time starter with the Blazers as a sophomore and he should help replace the shooting lost by Poole. Point guard C.J. Ford and small forwards Tyler Rambo and Jeffery Moss will battle for playing time off of the bench, but Murray State has high hopes for Erik McCree. Ford’s ability to defend and play off the ball should earn him minutes from day one and Moss is an athletic wing brimming with potential. At 6-7 and 215 pounds, McCree is a versatile forward who can play on the wing or in the frontcourt if Coach Prohm wants a little more athletic lineup. Terron Gilmore and Zay Henderson will add depth up front. Both have the potential to be major contributors as freshmen and Murray State will likely need at least one of them to step up and play some quality minutes.
Who to Watch:
Murray State would already be fondly looking back on the 2011-2012 campaign instead of eyeing bigger and better things in 2012-2013 if it were not for the return of Isaiah Canaan. The 6-1 senior could have split early for the NBA after averaging 19.0 points, 3.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals last season. Instead he is back to lead the Racers to another NCAA Tournament berth. Canaan is an incredible shooter who also has a knack for getting to the free-throw line. He can flat out score from anywhere on the floor. When he is not scoring, Canaan is setting up his teammates and getting them involved. That is a skill that was taken for granted last year, but will be much more important now that MSU is breaking in a few new starters. Wing Latreze Mushatt would be in line for a starting job if he can recover from a summer injury. At 6-5 and with a decent outside shot, Mushatt looks like a small forward, but he can play at the four spot as well. In fact he replaced Aska last season when he was out with a hand injury and did a superb job on the glass. Mushatt will be a tough player to defend no matter where he plays. Zay Jackson had a fine freshman campaign and played very well in the approximately 20 minutes per game he played. On a team that was so loaded on the perimeter, finding that many minutes per game was pretty impressive for a freshman. He is ready to step up his production, but a summer arrest currently has Jackson in the doghouse. If Mushatt and Jackson spend too much time out of the lineup, Murray State will have to rely very heavily on freshmen and that is never a good thing.
Ed Daniel is pretty much a cult hero in Murray, Kentucky. On the court the 6-7 senior will have some lofty expectations to live up to. As the only other returning starter besides Canaan, the pressure is on Daniel to emerge as a leader and an interior scorer. Daniel is a very strong rebounder and will definitely take over the lead in that department, but he averaged just 6.8 points per game last season. Daniel was extremely efficient with his scoring, but now he needs to look for a few more shots. Brandon Garrett, at 6-9 and 200 pounds, has the size to start at the five spot. Daniel can play there against most OVC opponents, but having an experienced big man like Garrett to play beside Daniel will be beneficial in certain situations. Stacy Wilson is an undersized forward at 6-3, but he will again see quality minutes off of the bench. The talent and depth is there, but Murray State will need Mushatt to be healthy and Jackson to stay out of trouble. If those two are gone in November and December, the Racers may be out of the running for an at-large bid by the time conference play begins. Of course they will still be the favorite to win the conference tournament title and reach the NCAA Tournament, but relying on a few games in March will not be as simple with Belmont in the mix.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Isaiah Canaan, Senior, Guard, 19.0 points per game
Dexter Fields, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Latreze Mushatt, Senior, Forward, 4.3 points per game
Edward Daniel, Senior, Forward, 6.8 points per game
Brandon Garrett, Senior, Forward, 2.3 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#30 Isaiah Canaan