#128 Murray State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Murray State Racers

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #128
Conference Rank: #2 Ohio Valley

Murray State Team Page#128 Murray State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Murray State Basketball Tickets

When a program like Murray State loses their coach and the 14th overall pick in the NBA Draft, it is safe to say it will be a transition year. However, while the faces may have changed, the results will likely be the same. Coach Steve Prohm has left for Iowa State after two years that ended in disappointment. This team was left out of the NCAAs twice after dominating the Ohio Valley Conference. Last season the Racers won 25 games in a row and were ranked in the top 25 heading into the OVC Tournament Final. They lost by one to Belmont and ended up as a #3 seed in the NIT. Prohm will not have to put his whole season into one game at Iowa State. Prohm’s former assistant, Matt McMahon, will take over the head coaching duties. He is the next logical choice and is expected to keep the style of play and the winning mentality at Murray State.

2014-15 Record: 29-6, 16-0
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Matt McMahon
Coach Record: 0-0 at Murray State, 0-0 overall

Who’s Out:
Casual observers will notice the difference on the court more than off of the court. Cameron Payne became the first ever Racer to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. The point guard left after his junior season in which he averaged 20.2 points and 6.0 assists. Obviously Payne was a special talent that will not be easily replaced. As if that wasn’t enough, the next two top scorers are also gone. Jarvis Williams, a 6-8 forward, averaged 15.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, while guard T.J. Sapp added 12.4 per contest. With those departures, it is easy to overlook the graduation of Jonathan Fairell. But the big man was a very strong rebounder and started all 35 games during his senior season. Role players Tyler Rambo and Jeff Martin are the other departures.

Who’s In:
With four starters gone, Coach McMahon will be looking for some of the newcomers to step up right away. Fortunately, Murray State was able to get, and keep, four newcomers with experience. Damarcus Croaker, a transfer from Texas, will at least be eligible for the second semester. Once he is able to play, Croaker will be the most athletic player on the team. The 6-4 guard was a regular in the Texas’ rotation as a freshman and is more than capable of taking over games at Murray State. Gee McGhee comes to Murray from Chattanooga. He started 64 games for the Mocs during his two years in the Southern Conference. The 6-5 forward averaged 10.0 points and 4.8 rebounds as a sophomore. Bryce Jones spent two years at Jones County Community College in Mississippi and is expected to take over the starting point guard duties. He is a big time scoring threat from every spot on the floor but, more importantly, will be able to get the rest of his teammates involved. A.J. Patty will look for a starting job right away too. The 6-9, 215 pound forward spent a couple years at Vincennes Junior College and is a proven rebounder. Charles Brown, Chad Culbreath and Brion Sanchious will battle for playing time as freshmen. Sanchious, a 6-8 forward, has the potential to be an impact player right away if he can get used to the speed of the game at this level.

Who to Watch:
Croaker will certainly have something to say about it once he is eligible, but for now this team belongs to Jeffery Moss. The 6-4 forward is the next in line to become Murray State’s go-to-player. As a junior last year, Moss averaged 11.2 points per game and knocked down 42.3 percent of his 130 attempts from beyond the arc. He can score in a variety of ways and there will certainly be more shots to go around this season. He may not be a 20 point per game scorer like Payne, but Moss can do that much scoring if the Racers need him to do so. Justin Seymour is another backcourt player to keep an eye on. As a sophomore last season he was the first player off of the bench and averaged 7.1 points per game. Seymour will do most of his damage beyond the arc, where he connected on 43.5 percent of his attempts, yet he should be a little more balanced this season if he does indeed step into a starting spot instead of just being a shooter off of the bench. Sophomore Kedrick Flomo will get more of an opportunity to contribute after averaging 10.8 minutes per game as a freshman.

Final Projection:
Coach McMahon has a lot of options with this team. They can play small effectively thanks to players like Moss and McGhee who are capable of rebounding effectively from the four spot. But there is size here too. Along with the newcomers, Murray State can rely on senior forwards Wayne Langston and Terron Gilmore. Langston saw more playing time last year, averaging 2.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in about a dozen minutes per game. He will be pushed by the newcomers, but this team can play big when they need to. Maybe a 16-0 mark in OVC play and a top 25 ranking is asking too much this year, but competing for an OVC title and potentially reaching the NCAA Tournament by actually winning the conference tournament is very feasible.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Bryce Jones, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Justin Seymour, Junior, Guard, 7.1 points per game
Jeffery Moss, Senior, Forward, 11.2 points per game
A.J. Patty, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Wayne Langston, Senior, Forward, 2.5 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.0 (8th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.6 (201, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.2 (16, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.0 (83, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (63, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.7 (29, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.7 (150, 5)
Rebound Margin: 3.8 (60, 4)
Assists Per Game: 15.5 (21, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.7 (94, 3)


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