#135 Lamar Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Lamar Cardinals
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #135
Conference Rank: #1 Southland
Lamar Logo
Following Lamar’s opening game victory over Oregon State, their season was relatively uneventful. The Cardinals went 10-8 in Southland play, won a game in the conference tournament before being ousted by Stephen F. Austin and got an invite to the CIT. Lamar hit the road for their postseason game and lost 70-60 to Texas State. However, the expectations were much lower than that heading into the season and Coach Tic Price deserves a lot of credit for building a competitive team. This time around the Cardinals could take the next step and seriously compete for a Southland title.
2016-17 Record: 19-15, 10-8
2016-17 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Tic Price
Coach Record: 46-53 at Lamar, 213-176 overall
Who’s Out:
Lamar had ten players who averaged over a dozen minutes per game last season and only three of them are gone. Lincoln Davis did start 15 games, but averaged just 13.3 minutes per game. Starting or not, he was a decent shooter who occasionally provided a nice spark. Marcus Owens was another dangerous outside shooter who started a few games during his final season in Beaumont. With more than enough perimeter depth, Lamar will be able to find more shooters. The biggest departure could be that of Dorian Chatman, a 6-7 forward who is transferring. He averaged 5.8 points and 3.0 rebounds and helped a traditionally undersized Lamar team play much bigger. Terrance Hubby, a little used 6-5 forward, is also transferring.
Who’s In:
Coach Price is mostly bolstering his frontcourt with this group. Incoming freshmen Jordan Foster is a 6-9, 225 pound center who is the tallest player on the roster. It will likely take some time for Foster’s offense to come around, but he can make an impact on the glass and in the shot blocking department right away. Fellow incoming freshman Avery Sullivan is best known for his rebounding ability. This Lamar team has undersized frontcourt players who can score, but now they have larger options in the paint. James Harrison, a 6-5 forward, has a bit more experience. He spent two years at junior college and ended up at Tennessee-Martin where he barely played during the 2015-2016 campaign. Harrison is a versatile defender and capable of consistently knocking down three-pointers. Da’Shawn Robinson is also an experienced transfer who will add size to the perimeter. The 6-3 graduate transfer from Louisiana Tech struggled with injuries during his two years with the Bulldogs, but was a very good player at the junior college level.
Who to Watch:
Robinson will add to a group on the perimeter that played very well last season. Nick Garth connected on 42.7 percent of his 218 attempts from three-point territory. Garth is a one-dimensional scorer, but he is one of the best pure shooters in the Southland. Zjori Bosha has been around the program for four years now. He averaged 6.4 points and 3.8 rebounds last season and could be a very dangerous 6-5 guard if his outside shot starts falling more consistently. Cameron McGee and Tyrin Atwood will add more depth on the wings after seeing limited action in 2016-2017. Atwood ended his season well though, scoring 11 points in just eight minutes in the CIT. The point guard duties will be handled by Joey Frenchwood. He had a great debut season at Lamar following a season in the junior college ranks. Frenchwood dished out 4.2 assists per game and ranked third on the team with 11.9 points. With Torey Noel also more than capable of handling the point, Coach Price has the option of having two ballhandlers on the floor at the same time. Noel, who also came to Lamar as a junior college transfer last season, averaged 5.7 points and dished out 2.8 assists.
Final Projection:
Lamar has proven options on the perimeter and they have starters Colton Weisbrod and Josh Nzeakor back in the frontcourt. Weisbrod is one of those undersized forwards, but the 6-5 senior led the team with 15.1 points and 8.1 rebounds and earned First-Team All-Southland honors during his first season with the Cardinals. With the new depth in the frontcourt, Weisbrod could spend more time at the small forward position this year when Lamar needs to play bigger. Nzeakor, a 6-8 junior, is the starter who can bang around in the paint. He averaged 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds as a junior. Christian Albright provided some of the depth in the post last season, although he could see his minutes decrease if Foster and Sullivan are ready to play as freshmen. This is a group that can again go ten deep, or even more. But this time around there is more experience and more size and now Lamar is ready to be a major contender in what should be another wide open Southland race.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Joey Frenchwood, Senior, Guard, 8.4 points per game
Nick Garth, Junior, Guard, 11.9 points per game
Zjori Bosha, Senior, Guard, 6.4 points per game
Colton Weisbrod, Senior, Forward, 15.1 points per game
Josh Nzeakor, Junior, Forward, 8.2 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.1 (84th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.6 (160, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.9 (91, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 46.1 (285, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (130, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.2 (120, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.8 (281, 11)
Rebound Margin: 0.8 (157, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.1 (125, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (218, 2)