#70 Memphis Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Memphis Tigers

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #70
Conference Rank: #6 American

Memphis Team Page#70 Memphis Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Memphis Basketball Tickets

It has been a long time since Memphis struggled as much as they did during the 2014-2015 campaign. They failed to win 20 games for the first time since the 1999-2000 season and there are no guarantees that this year will begin a new streak of 20 win seasons. Not seeing the Tigers in the postseason at all was a bit weird and this team does not have much momentum heading into this season either. They lost four of their last five games, including an opening game loss to Temple in the American Athletic Conference tournament.

2014-15 Record: 18-14, 10-8
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Josh Pastner
Coach Record: 148-58 at Memphis, 148-58 overall

Who’s Out:
Calvin Godfrey was the only senior on the roster last year, but a few transfers will have a big effect on this team too. Godfrey, a 6-9 forward, was not nearly as productive during his senior season as expected, averaging 4.5 points and 3.6 rebounds. The big loss is Austin Nichols, a 6-8 forward who was eventually granted a release to transfer. As a sophomore last season, Nichols was one of the few bright spots, averaging 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game. Point guards Pookie Powell and D’Marnier Cunningham were outmatched last season and have opted to transfer. Powell did dish out 2.7 assists per game, but Memphis and Coach Josh Pastner hope to get more production out of the point even without Powell and Cunningham. Nick King is yet another transfer. The 6-7 wing was pretty productive as a sophomore, averaging 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds.  

Who’s In:
Randall Broddie and Jeremiah Martin are both point guards, but they will likely be more potential than production for now. Ricky Tarrant brings a lot more experience to the backcourt. He spent a couple years at Tulane before transferring to Alabama and finally landing in Memphis. Back with the Green Wave, Tarrant was a big time scorer and had 51 double digit scoring outings during his two years in New Orleans. At Alabama last season, Tarrant averaged 13.1 points and 2.0 assists before missing the end of the season with an injury. Tarrant could be the answer at point guard, but he could also be a very dangerous scorer off of the ball too. Incoming freshman Nick Marshall, a 6-10 forward, adds size to the roster, but it is the Lawson brothers who are garnering the most attention. Dedric Lawson, at 6-8 and 195 pounds, is considered the better overall prospect. He is an athletic wing with who can score in bunches, grab plenty of rebounds and block some shots. With the frontcourt looking slim, Coach Pastner could put out a four guard lineup and benefit from Dedric’s size. K.J. Lawson, at 6-7 and 200 pounds, has the size to play the four spot too. K.J. is not as much of a shot blocking threat as his brother, but he is a great scorer and rebounder.

Who to Watch:
The frontcourt will benefit from the Lawson brothers, but Shaq Goodwin is still the star of the team. The 6-9, 231 pound senior was second on the team in scoring with 9.6 points per game and led the Tigers with 7.1 rebounds. He is a decent shot blocker too. The focus will shift to the backcourt, but Memphis can be successful if they remember that they have a talented big guy hanging out in the paint. They just need to remember to use him on the offensive end of the floor. The other place to watch is the logjam of talent on the wings. Trahson Burrell, Avery Woodson, Kedren Johnson and Markel Crawford all started at least 11 games a year ago. Burrell is the big 6-7 guard who, like the Lawson’s, can play at the four spot. With a little improvement on his outside shooting, Burrell could vastly improve on his 9.1 points per game. Woodson is the pure shooter on the team. Last year he knocked down a team high 61 three-pointers and his 37.7 percent three-point percentage was easily the best on the squad. Johnson is more balanced offensively and can attack the basket or knock down the long ball. Crawford finally made his collegiate debut last season after missing a couple years with an injury. Crawford works hard on defense and has the potential to be a much better scorer than his 5.9 points per game last year would indicate.

Final Projection:
Memphis could definitely prove that last year was an anomaly. But there is still a long way to go for this to be an NCAA Tournament team. Coach Pastner lost a lot of talent, yet he has plenty more coming in and the Lawson brothers have the potential to be something special as freshmen. Getting back to 20 wins is a reasonable goal and that will be enough to reach the NIT, but competing for an AAC title and getting back to the NCAA Tournament is probably a year or two away.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Ricky Tarrant, Senior, Guard, DNP last season
Avery Woodson, Junior, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Markel Crawford, Sophomore, Guard, 5.9 points per game
Dedric Lawson, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Shaq Goodwin, Senior, Forward, 9.6 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.3 (176th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.1 (83, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (144, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.7 (40, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.2 (281, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.8 (236, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.6 (258, 7)
Rebound Margin: 4.2 (49, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.4 (52, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (250, 10)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#59 Austin Nichols

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#34 Dedric Lawson
#51 K.J. Lawson
#109 Nick Marshall
#153 Randall Broddie


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