#135 North Florida Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

North Florida Ospreys

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #135
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic Sun
#135 North Florida Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

North Florida Team Page


The Atlantic Sun did not produce a dominating team in 2014-2015, but North Florida was close. The Ospreys won the regular season crown with a 12-2 mark and won the conference tournament to reach the NCAAs. Unlike Mercer or Florida Gulf Coast though, UNF went to the 16 seed play-in game and lost to Robert Morris. A very balanced A-Sun left no room for a tournament run since anything higher than a 16 seed was very unlikely. But Coach Matthew Driscoll returns seven of his top eight scorers and will look to give the NCAA Tournament another shot.

2014-15 Record: 23-12, 12-2
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Matthew Driscoll
Coach Record: 96-99 at North Florida, 96-99 overall

Who’s Out:
Jalen Nesbitt is the big loss this season. He was not the team’s most prolific scorer, averaging 10.9 points per game, but his size, defense and versatility will certainly be missed. The 6-6 guard could defend just about anybody and he did it very well. He also worked hard on the glass, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game, and dished out 3.4 assists. The only other departure is Devin Wilson, who averaged 1.6 points during his senior season. Wilson had some nice outings late in the season when his outside shot was falling.

Who’s In:
Coach Driscoll does not have many holes to fill, but six new players will at least give him plenty of options. The need for size up front will be addressed by incoming freshman D’Andre Bernard, Cleveland State transfer Ismaila Dauda and redshirt freshman Karlos Odum. Bernard needs to add strength, but at 6-8, he does have the size to contribute on the defensive end as a freshman. Dauda has higher expectations for this year. The 6-9, 250 pound senior rarely played at Cleveland State, but he can be a defensive difference maker if given the opportunity. Odum is more of a big 6-6 guard who will fill some of the roles lost with Nesbitt. He is not Nesbitt by any means, but if he can handle playing at small forward instead of power forward, it will give UNF a much bigger look. The backcourt adds freshman CJ Fisher and junior college transfers Osborn Blount and Nick Malonga.

Who to Watch:
North Florida has one of the most dynamic and entertaining backcourts in the country. It starts with point guard Dallas Moore. He led the team in scoring last year with 15.8 points per game and did so the year prior with 12.5 points per game. Moore should once again be the Osprey’s top scorer. He is a prolific outside shooter and also does a very good job of getting to the basket and either finishing or finding one of his teammates. Trent Mackey spent last season as a shooter off of the bench, but he has more than enough experience to step into the starting five during his senior season. As a junior, Mackey shot 43.5 percent from beyond the arc and made 81 three-pointers. Almost all of his shots will come from beyond the arc and he does make a perfect shooter off of the bench, but he is also too good to leave on the bench for long. Beau Beech is not as accurate of a shooter as Mackey, but he did knock down a team-high 86 three-pointers last season. But Beech does a lot more than that. A 6-8 wing, Beech has the size to cause nightmares for opposing defenders in the A-Sun. He can shoot over smaller defenders or back them down. And he can attack the basket and run around big defenders who are not used to playing out on the perimeter.

Final Projection:
The UNF frontcourt will work around Chris Davenport and Demarcus Daniels. Davenport averaged 11.3 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds, while Daniels added 9.3 points and 5.9 rebounds. Those two are both power forwards who can stretch out the defense with their three-point shooting ability. Since both are quite productive and experienced, that is enough to beat most teams in the A-Sun, but UNF does need a big body in the paint every once in a while. Romelo Banks has been that guy and will likely fill that role again. The 6-11, 235 pound junior certainly has the size and has shown flashes of potential. If those flashes can be more consistent, and he can beat out Dauda for minutes, Banks could find himself in a starting role more often than not. In either case, North Florida has more frontcourt options than they did a year ago and they can even play big and slide Beech down to the shooting guard spot if it makes sense defensively. As long as the guards keep knocking down shots, this will be the team to beat in the Atlantic Sun.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Dallas Moore, Junior, Guard, 15.8 points per game
Trent Mackey, Senior, Guard, 8.8 points per game
Beau Beech, Senior, Forward, 12.9 points per game
Demarcus Daniels, Senior, Forward, 9.3 points per game
Chris Davenport, Junior, Forward, 11.3 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.7 (22nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.1 (219, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (36, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.2 (186, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.1 (13, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.1 (20, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.3 (70, 2)
Rebound Margin: 0.9 (152, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.5 (51, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.5 (170, 5)


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