#115 Chattanooga Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Chattanooga Mocs

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #115
Conference Rank: #2 SoCon

Chattanooga Team Page#115 Chattanooga Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Chattanooga Basketball Tickets

Chattanooga once again brings in a new coach. Will Wade spent two years with the Mocs before heading to VCU. And once again the program should be in fine shape with a different young coach leading the way. Matt McCall spent the last four seasons as an assistant to Billy Donovan at Florida and ten total years on Donovan’s staff. Coach McCall will have success at Chattanooga this season in large part due to Casey Jones. The 6-5 guard led the team with 14.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last season. Jones can explode for 20 or more points and last year made a habit of doing that in back-to-back games. Four times Jones had back-to-back games with at least 20 points. For a 6-5 guard, Jones does a lot of work on the other end of the floor. On top of his impressive 7.0 rebounds per game, he also blocked 1.2 shots per game.

2014-15 Record: 22-10, 15-3
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Matt McCall
Coach Record: 0-0 at Chattanooga, 0-0 overall

Who’s Out:
Ronrico White is the big loss for UTC. He led the team with 3.3 assists per game and added 11.1 points. White was not always the most consistent shooter around, connecting on 35.4 percent of his attempts from long range, but he took a lot of three’s and usually at least made a couple per game. Martynas Bareika, a 6-5 guard, saw his minutes decrease quite drastically for his senior season. He averaged just 7.6 minutes per game and scored 3.6 points. The story was the same for Lance Stokes, a 6-7 forward. He averaged fewer than half of the minutes he totaled during his junior season and ended up averaging 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds as a senior. All of that means that younger players took those minutes away last year and those younger players are back to help the Mocs take the next step.

Who’s In:
Johnathan Burroughs-Cook will help ease the loss of White on the perimeter. In fact, Burroughs-Cook will join his former high school teammate Greg Pryor in the Mocs backcourt. Burroughs-Cook comes from the junior college ranks, but he did play at Charleston as a freshman, earning six starts in 24 games. Basically a combo guard who can run the point as needed and knock down some shots, Burroughs-Cook will find a spot in the regular rotation. Incoming freshman ZaQwaun Matthews will battle for minutes on the perimeter too. His length and defense will be what earns him minutes for now, but Matthews has the potential to boost his offensive game sooner or later. Peyton Woods and Dee Oldham will also be looking for playing time in the backcourt. Oldham, a transfer from Tennessee-Martin, won’t be eligible until after the first semester. Once he is eligible, the 6-4 senior will give the defense a spark and use his strength to attack the basket. A very versatile player, Oldham can play just about anywhere on the floor. On this team he will likely see most of his time on the wing at the two or three spots. The new size will have to come from Trey Kalina and Jackson White. Kalina is an interesting seven-footer who can alter shots this season and maybe grab a few rebounds too. It will take time to get his game polished though.

Who to Watch:
Jones will likely be Chattanooga’s top scorer, but two returning players also averaged in double figures. Greg Pryor, a 6-1 junior, averaged 11.3 points per game and dished out 2.5 assists. There are other options now, but Pryor can run the show as needed. It looks likely that the Mocs will throw two combo guards on the floor at a time for long stretches and having that extra ball handler out there is never a bad thing. The other proven scorer is big man Justin Tuoyo. The 6-10, 235 pound forward averaged 10.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.3 blocks as a sophomore; and that was just his first season with Chattanooga after transferring in from VCU. His presence on the defensive end was not a surprise, but Tuoyo proved to be a very efficient and effective interior scorer as well. Eric Robertson deserves a mention here too as a player who could easily join Jones, Pryor and Tuoyo as a double-digit scorer. Robertson averaged 8.8 points as a junior and knocked down an amazing 46.8 percent of his 139 attempts from long range. Robertson and White were the shooters on this team and now that White is gone, Robertson could be asked to take even more shots. At 6-4 and 200 pounds, it is not like Robinson completely struggles to get to the basket. If he wants to be more than a great shooter off of the bench, Robertson will need to be more aggressive attacking the basket on occasion.

Final Projection:
Filling in the four spot will be the job of Tre’ McLean, Duke Ethridge and Chuck Ester again this season. McLean saw the most playing time last year, averaging 4.3 points and 3.0 rebounds, but Ethridge was more effective in fewer minutes, averaging 5.3 points and 3.2 rebounds. Ester, at 6-7, is the tallest option and he did play pretty well during his limited minutes. As long as Tuoyo keeps improving, UTC just needs somebody to do the dirty work and help compliment their developing star in the frontcourt. Last year this team suffered a tough loss to last place Furman in the SoCon tournament. They went into the tournament with a six game winning streak before heading back home after just one game. There was no postseason either to attempt to alleviate that pain. But this group will remember what happened last year and they will be ready to make a run in the conference tournament and, perhaps, get to the NCAA Tournament. Even if they fall short there, this is another 20-win type of team.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Greg Pryor, Junior, Guard, 11.3 points per game
Eric Robertson, Senior, Guard, 8.8 points per game
Casey Jones, Senior, Guard, 14.2 points per game
Tre’ McLean, Junior, Forward, 4.3 points per game
Justin Tuoyo, Junior, Forward, 10.2 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.7 (49th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.9 (177, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.2 (83, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.7 (165, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (120, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.0 (142, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.5 (203, 6)
Rebound Margin: 1.3 (137, 2)
Assists Per Game: 12.0 (215, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (230, 6)


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