#140 Indiana State Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Indiana State Sycamores
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #140
Conference Rank: #5 Missouri Valley
Indiana State struggled through a marginal season in 2015-2016, mostly due to a frontcourt that was not able to get involved on a regular basis. Still, an 8-10 record in Missouri Valley play is not terrible and there were some good moments from the Sycamores. Most of those moments came at home though and Indiana State was pretty awful on the road, winning just two true road games against Saint Louis and Drake. If this team wants to compete in an MVC that is wide open, they have to find ways to win on the road. They also have to find more scorers than just Brenton Scott. The 6-1 junior is the only returning player who averaged over eight points per game last year. He is a great outside shooter who knocked down 38.4 percent of his attempts from long range and he has the ability to average 20 points per game. But if he needs to, Indiana State is probably in trouble.
2015-16 Record: 15-17, 8-10
2015-16 Postseason: none
Coach: Greg Lansing
Coach Record: 109-88 at Indiana State, 109-88 overall
Who’s Out:
The other two reliable scorers from last season, Devonte Brown and Kristian Smith, are gone. Those two were not big time shooters, which rarely stopped them from trying, but they were very effective attacking the basket. Brown went to the charity stripe an impressive 260 times and he knew how to create points for the Sycamores even if shots were not falling. On the year, Brown led the team with 15.5 points per game and added 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Smith totaled 10.0 points per game, with 5.2 rebounds. Brandon Burnett and Grant Prusator, who both averaged fewer than ten minutes per game, are the other departures.
Who’s In:
Coach Greg Lansing loaded up on the backcourt with this recruiting class. There is only one incoming freshman, but two junior college transfers and a redshirt freshman will provide a slew of options on the perimeter. At the least, there is a need for a backup point guard and Jordan Barnes and Trey Knight III will be ready to battle for a starting job. Barnes is the incoming freshman, so there is a lot of work for him to do, especially in the weight room, but he is a superb talent who sooner or later will be running the show for Indiana State. Knight redshirted last season after being a late pickup. After a very successful prep career in Texas, Knight has the potential to develop into something special. Junior college transfers Donovan Franklin and Domnte Ojinnaka are both experienced 6-5 guards who will add size to the perimeter. Franklin, who spent one season at Gulf Coast State, is a prolific and efficient scorer who should push for a starting role from day one. The lone newcomer in the frontcourt is redshirt freshman Bronson Kessinger.  
Who to Watch:
If Indiana State is really going to be seriously competitive in the Missouri Valley Conference, they must get more production out of their frontcourt. Brandon Murphy was a regular starter as sophomore, but the 6-7 big man disappeared for long stretches. On the year he averaged just 4.8 points and 4.2 rebounds and was never much of a shot blocking threat. He does have potential as a scorer. TJ Bell returns after missing last season with an injury, but even if fully recovered, Bell is not much of a scoring threat. At least he is another big body. Yet, it is Emondre Rickman who has the most potential. He showed some flashes during his freshman campaign and even if his offense does not come around, Rickman is unquestionably the best interior defender of the group. Niels Bunschoten is the best fit for the power forward spot. At 6-9 and 220 pounds, he has plenty of size, but the senior can knock down some outside shots too. He will need to better utilize his size on the glass though. Matt Van Scyoc is another forward who can shoot the ball. At 6-6 and 218 pounds, he is more of a small forward than a power forward, but his shooting ability is an asset.
Final Projection:
The key to this season could be the play of Everett Clemons. At least to start the year, Clemons will be the player in charge of running the team. He is not a shooter and has been a little hesitant on offense, but if he can turn into a leader and become more effective attacking the basket, Clemons could turn into a very good point guard during his senior season. Defensively, he is a beast on the glass and averaged a team high 6.3 rebounds last season. That is pretty impressive for a 6-1 guard. The point guard spot is Clemons job to lose, but Barnes and Knight will certainly be breathing down his neck. If the pieces all come together, this is an Indiana State team that can beat anybody in the MVC. Whether or not that leads to consistency and the ability to win away from home remains to be seen though and that will likely keep Indiana State in the middle of the pack.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Everett Clemons, Senior, Guard, 5.4 points per game
Brenton Scott, Junior, Guard, 14.6 points per game
Donovan Franklin, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Niels Bunschoten, Senior, Forward, 4.4 points per game
Brandon Murphy, Junior, Center, 4.8 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.8 (281st in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.4 (110, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 39.2 (335, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (74, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (214, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.3 (324, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.3 (194, 6)
Rebound Margin: 0.6 (167, 4)
Assists Per Game: 10.8 (321, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (228, 7)