#99 Ohio Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Ohio Bobcats
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #99
Conference Rank: #3 Mid-American
With all but one player returning from a 23 win season, Ohio has high hopes heading into the 2015-2016 campaign. The Bobcats finished 11-7 in MAC play, which was good enough for second in an extremely balanced conference and made a little bit of a run in the CBI, beating Albany and UNC Greensboro before falling to Morehead State. That postseason experience and the return of Antonio Campbell have fans in Athens hoping for more in 2016-2017. Campbell, who flirted with the NBA Draft, averaged 17.1 points and 10.2 rebounds during a dominating junior campaign. His ability to score inside and out makes him extremely difficult to defend for most opposing big men in the MAC. With Campbell leading the way, the Bobcats have MAC title aspirations.
2015-16 Record: 23-12, 11-7
2015-16 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Saul Phillips
Coach Record: 33-32 at Ohio, 167-116 overall
Who’s Out:
The only player lost is Treg Setty. Setty ranked third on the team with 12.0 points per game and second with 5.1 rebounds. He was one of Campbell’s partners in crime in the paint and the fact that Ohio started three players 6-8 or taller was a big deal in a conference that often has 6-7 centers. Ohio still has size even without Setty, but the rebounding may take a step back without Setty around.
Who’s In:
Ohio brings in three freshmen and on the surface it looks like all three should have plenty of time to develop with so many players returning. However, all three have the potential to make a surprising impact right away. Jason Carter, a 6-8 forward, can stretch the defense and has the size this team needs to help replace Setty. Rodney Culver is a big, athletic guard who can do a lot for this team. It is tough to see where the minutes will come from, but Coach Saul Phillips may not be able to keep him on the bench. Ellis Dozier, who redshirted last season, will try and find minutes in the frontcourt.
Who to Watch:
Campbell is not the only shooter on this team. The Bobcats hit 8.5 three-pointers per game and led the MAC with a 38.6 percent three-point shooting percentage. This team went out to get big guys, and little guys, who could shoot and it all came together last season. Kenny Kaminski, a 6-8 senior forward, led the team with 83 three-pointers last season and averaged 12.6 points on the year. He will likely start at the power forward spot this season with Gavin Block stepping into the starting lineup at the small forward position. Block, a 6-7 sophomore, averaged 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds as a freshman and it will be his rebounding that could be the most important part of his game. Of course, he can knock down shots too. The best shooter of them all though is Jordan Dartis. As a freshman he connected on 47.9 percent of his shots from long range. That is extremely impressive for a freshman. It would be nice if he could add another dynamic to his offensive game, but as long as he is shooting at that high of a percentage, nobody can complain. Jaaron Simmons may not connect on a ton of long balls, but the point guard is a threat to shoot from outside which allows him to get some space to attack the basket. After averaging 15.5 points and 7.9 assists as a sophomore, the sky is the limit for Simmons.
Final Projection:
For much of last season, Ohio basically relied very heavily on just six players. With one of them gone and the other, Block, presumably stepping into a starting role, there are some questions about the depth of this team. The freshmen will help and players like Wadly Mompremier, Mike Laster and Khari Harley are back after seeing some time in the regular rotation, but Coach Phillips did not stray from his six man rotation too much last year and it remains to be seen if a year of experience will garner more trust in the bench in 2016-2017. With everybody back, it seems likely that at least a couple players will step up and make it so Simmons does not have to average 36.5 minutes per game.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Jaaron Simmons, Junior, Guard, 15.5 points per game
Jordan Dartis, Sophomore, Guard, 9.8 points per game
Gavin Block, Sophomore, Forward, 5.1 points per game
Kenny Kaminski, Senior, Forward, 12.6 points per game
Antonio Campbell, Senior, Forward, 17.1 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.5 (50th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.8 (249, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (36, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.4 (164, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.5 (54, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.6 (23, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.9 (13, 1)
Rebound Margin: 1.6 (140, 7)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (130, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (90, 4)