#128 UC Davis Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

UC Davis Aggies
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #128
Conference Rank: #2 Big West
UC Davis Logo
After a couple of very successful seasons, which culminated in a win over North Carolina Central in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament, UC Davis will attempt to continue their winning ways despite quite a bit of roster turnover. In a wide open Big West though that has had an offseason full of unexpected turnover, Coach Jim Les has the weapons to compete for a Big West title. Senior Chima Moneke will be the leader of the team. The 6-6 senior averaged 14.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks last season. He is a major presence in the paint and can put up some huge numbers. However, the Aggies will need others to step up and if Moneke has to score 20 points every night, he is not getting enough help.
2016-17 Record: 23-13, 11-5
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jim Les
Coach Record: 87-104 at UC Davis, 241-244 overall
Who’s Out:
UC Davis must replace a lot of experienced, athletic players that were a huge part of the team’s success over the last two years. Brynton Lemar averaged a team high 16.1 points per game during his senior season. He hit over two three-pointers per game and was extremely efficient shooting the basketball. Lawrence White was very effective at the small forward position. He was not a great shooter, but averaged 7.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Point guard Darius Graham and forward J.T. Adenrele were regular starters too. Graham averaged 7.3 points and 3.1 rebounds, while Adenrele added 5.6 points and 5.2 rebounds and proved to be a great complimentary piece to Moneke in the paint. Little used Georgi Funtarov rounds out the talented group of seniors. The transfer of Mikey Henn, who averaged 4.1 points and 1.6 rebounds as a freshman, could put more pressure on Moneke in the paint.
Who’s In:
This is an important group of newcomers for UC Davis. They have to get some production from there group and there should be the talent and experience to pull it off. Of the three incoming freshmen, it is 6-6 wing Delveion Jackson who shoulders the biggest expectations. The Aggies need a big guard to replace White and Jackson is the best option. The Boise, Idaho product can do it all. He is a good scorer from anywhere on the floor, can pass the ball and will use his size to help out on the glass. Gio Nelson is another big guard. Nelson can at least provide some more size on the perimeter and knock down some three-pointers. The other incoming freshman is 6-8 forward Logan Strom. Despite the need for frontcourt bodies, Strom will likely have time to develop thanks to the addition of AJ John and Colin Russel. John comes from Pepperdine where he spent two seasons. He was never a scoring threat for the Waves, but he is a big body who can grab some rebounds. Russell spent one season at Portland before heading to the junior college ranks where he averaged 9.1 points and 4.8 rebounds with Casper College. TJ Shorts II will give Coach Les an experienced option at point guard. He spent two seasons at Saddleback College and is a proven passer and defender.
Who to Watch:
While the newcomers will provide depth, UC Davis returns some talent that will fill in around Moneke. The development of the backcourt will be key. Arell Hennings is an experienced senior, but he averaged just 8.3 minutes per game. If UC Davis is going to contend for a Big West title, Hennings must emerge as a steady and efficient point guard. Siler Schneider is by far the most experienced player returning to the backcourt. He was the team’s sixth man last year and averaged 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Especially early in the year, expect Schneider to pick up much of the scoring slack. Rogers Printup will battle for minutes off the bench with the newcomers. He missed last year with an injury and averaged 1.1 points per game as a freshman in 2015-2016. Sophomore Joe Mooney could turn into a decent contributor if his outside shot starts falling.
Final Projection:
The focus of UC Davis will shift to the frontcourt where Moneke has the potential to dominate game in and game out. He does need some help though. John and Russell are capable frontcourt options, but Garrison Goode has been in the program for a couple years and is ready for a larger role during his junior campaign. Last year the 6-7 forward averaged 2.6 points and 3.9 rebounds. He does not need to be a major scoring threat, but he does need to help take some of the attention away from Moneke. With Moneke scoring in the paint, the backcourt has to take advantage of their open looks. If Schneider is knocking down shots and Jackson can live up to his potential right away, UC Davis will be looking for another trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Arell Hennings
Siler Schneider
Delveion Jackson
Chima Moneke
Garrison Goode
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.1 (246th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.6 (105, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.5 (231, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (109, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (290, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (184, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.4 (270, 8)
Rebound Margin: 1.1 (147, 3)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (223, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.3 (281, 7)