#114 IUPUI Men's Basketball Preview

IUPUI Jaguars

Overall Rank: #114
Conference Rank: #3 Summit

IUPUI Team Page

2010-11: 19-14, 12-6
2010-11 postseason: none
Coach: Todd Howard (First year at IUPUI, 0-0 overall)

Few coaches in the nation are more prepared to take over a particular program than Todd Howard at IUPUI. Coach Howard spent 17 years under the tutelage of Ron Hunter, who has moved on to Georgia State. That will provide a seamless transition from one staff to the next. And despite the loss of some talented players, the Jaguars should be right back where they have been for the better part of a decade, near the top of the league standings.

Who’s Out:
The big loss is Leroy Nobles, who averaged 18.3 points and 4.0 rebounds during his last season at IUPUI. Those are some big numbers, but the Jaguars have three other proven scorers and some youngsters who are ready to step up. However, Nobles was a proven commodity who could shoot over small defenders and drive right past bigger defenders. Starting point guard John Ashworth is also gone after averaging 4.4 points and 2.9 assists per game. He did a fine job finding the scorers on the team. Anthony Williams, who saw limited playing last season, has also wrapped up his career at IUPUI.

Who’s In:
This group needs some help on the perimeter and they got it with this recruiting class. Point guard Jordan Shanklin will likely be the backup from day one. Small forwards Lyonell Gaines and Marcellus Barksdale are both capable of earning some quality minutes. Barksdale is a tough 6-5 wing who can handle the ball a little bit and attack the basket. If the Jaguars opt to play a smaller lineup like they did much of last season, Barksdale’s minutes will be significant. However, his development will be a major factor in whether or not the team has the depth to play small. Barksdale played on the Kentucky All-Star Team which has churned out a ton of talent. Ian Chiles could step into a starting role right away. The 6-1 junior college transfer fills a huge need at the shooting guard position. If he can hit some long balls, Chiles should earn a starting role sooner or later.

Who to Watch:
The backcourt does return a couple players. Stephen Thomas will be the new star on the perimeter. Senior Stephen Thomas had a superb season during his first year in Indianapolis after transferring from Dayton. The 6-1 guard averaged 11.0 points, 2.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds. Thomas was pretty much a second point guard on the floor and now he will have to turn into the team’s primary ball handler. That may affect his scoring output a little bit, but he has proven that he can run a team and score. With Thomas at the point, the offense should really open up since he is a dangerous scorer and shooter. Sean Esposito started ten games during his sophomore season and is a candidate to take over the starting shooting guard spot that Thomas held a year ago. The newcomers will give him a run for his money and so could returnees Greg Rice and P.J. Hubert.

Final Projection:
A year ago Alex Young spent most of his time at the four spot. It really does not matter where he plays. The 6-6 wing will put up big numbers either way. After averaging 19.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals as a junior, big things are expected out of Young for his senior season. If he does spend more time at the three spot he will be a match-up nightmare for most opposing small forwards. Christian Siakam has a starting spot all wrapped up too. The 6-7 senior is a wide-bodied big man who is a beast on the glass and has emerged as a consistent scorer under the basket. He can certainly play at the four or five spot and Young and Siakam’s versatility leaves Coach Howard with plenty of options. If Mitchell Patton or Donovan Gibbs are ready to play a bigger role in the frontcourt, IUPUI can start off with a big lineup on the floor. If not, one of the newcomers will be ready on the perimeter and Young and Siakam can man the four and five spots with Patton and Gibbs again spelling them off of the bench.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Stephen Thomas, Senior, Guard, 11.0 points per game
Ian Chiles, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Sean Esposito, Junior, Guard, 3.3 points per game
Alex Young, Senior, Forward, 19.7 points per game
Christian Siakam, Senior, Forward, 9.3 points per game

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