Coppin State Eagles 2009 NCAA Mens Basketball Preview

By Joel Welser


Coppin State Eagles


Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference


2008-09: 13-19, 9-7

2008-09 postseason: none

Coach: Ron “Fang” Mitchell (371-321 at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Coppin State, 598-366 overall)


It will take some time for Coppin State to adjust to life without Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year Tywain McKee. He was the only player on the team to average over ten points per game and now the rest of the Eagles have to step up and fill the void. While this group does have talent, it will take some time for this young team to grow up.


Key Losses: F Brian Chesnut, G Chuka Iloegbu, G Jordan Lee, G Tywain McKee


Key Newcomers:

This recruiting class addresses some of the team’s biggest needs, most notably depth on the perimeter. Point guard George Jackson will need to provide a few minutes off the bench right away, but it is shooting guards Kareem Brown and Reggins Quinston who can make the biggest impact. Those two are both junior college transfers who can score in a variety of ways. Small forward Jonathan Landry will have trouble finding minutes unless Coach Ron Mitchell wants a little more size on the wing.



Everybody is going to have to help fill the scoring void left behind by McKee, but Michael Harper and Lenny Young are a couple players who are coming off of successful freshmen campaigns. Harper emerged as a consistent scoring threat and the most consistent outside shooter on the team. Harper knocked down 1.6 three-pointers per game and connected on 41.4 percent of his attempts. At 6-4, Harper has the size to play at the small forward position while one of the junior college transfers steps into the shooting guard spot, but he needs to get tougher on the glass in that scenario. Young is not the scorer that Harper is, but he is a solid defender and should play a bigger role during the 2009-2010 campaign.



Sam Coleman is the star of the frontcourt. He averaged 8.2 points per game as a sophomore and is a true post player. He is not a bad rebounder either and his presence on the defensive end is improving. Coleman, who only started ten games a year ago, has the potential to be a dominating force under the basket. Eddie Hayden does all the dirty work while Coleman does the scoring. Hayden will rarely put up big numbers, but he does what the team needs him to do. Mike Buckley is a little better scorer, but at 6-5 he is undersized for a power forward. His ability to hit the outside shot makes him an ideal candidate to start at the three spot, but he will likely share minutes between both forward positions.


Who to Watch:

While everybody else worries about replacing the scoring and rebounding of McKee, it will be up to Vince Goldsberry to take over the point guard duties. Goldsberry started six games beside McKee last year, but he did not prove that he can run a team efficiently. He had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio last year and the 6-0 junior needs to show this young team that he can become a leader. Goldsberry is certainly a capable scorer who can use his speed to get to the basket, but it will be his decision making that makes the difference.


Final Projection:

By the time conference play rolls around, Coppin State will be a well tested team that can win quite a few MEAC games and maybe even stick around in the title chase. However, the beginning of the season could be pretty ugly while the Eagles battle it out with much better competition while they try to adjust to ways to run their offense without McKee. The good news is this is a team without a senior on the roster and they should be competing for a conference crown in 2010-2011.


Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA


Projected Starting Five:

Vince Goldsberry, Junior, Guard, 7.1 points per game

Michael Harper, Sophomore, Guard, 9.3 points per game

Mike Buckley, Junior, Forward, 7.0 points per game

Eddie Hayden, Junior, Forward, 3.3 points per game

Sam Coleman, Junior, Center, 8.2 points per game