#142 South Alabama Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

South Alabama Jaguars
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #142
Conference Rank: #5 Sun Belt
South Alabama Logo
After another disappointing season, South Alabama parted ways with Coach Matthew Graves. They will look to rebuild under Richie Riley. Coach Riley spent the last two seasons at Nicholls State and he quickly turned that program around with a conference title last season. With the top five scorers returning, there are high hopes that the Jaguars can compete for a Sun Belt title.
2017-18 Record: 14-18, 7-11
2017-18 Postseason: None
Coach: Richie Riley
Coach Record: 0-0 at South Alabama, 35-28 overall
Key Departed Players:
Nick Davis, Forward, 5.6 ppg
Dederick Lee, Guard, 3.5 ppg
Joe Thompson, Forward, 2.7 ppg
Rozelle Nix, Forward, 2.3 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Rodrick Sikes, Senior, Guard, 18.7 ppg
Josh Ajayi, Junior, Forward, 12.9 ppg
Herb McGee, Junior, Guard, 8.3 ppg
Trhae Mitchell, Junior, Forward, 7.0 ppg
Jordan Andrews, Junior, Guard, 6.2 ppg
Kevin Morris, Junior, Forward, 3.4 ppg
John Pettway, Sophomore, Guard, 3.2 ppg
Ethan Haslam, Junior, Guard, 0.1 ppg
Key New Players:
R.J. Kelly, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Savannah State
Kory Holden, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from South Carolina
Tashombe Riley, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from South Carolina State
Don Coleman, Senior, Guard, Transfer from California, not eligible
Andre Fox, Senior, Guard, Transfer from High Point, not eligible
Rodrick Sikes and Herb McGee form a potent backcourt duo. Sikes led South Alabama last year with 18.7 points per game and he is a threat to score from anywhere on the floor. McGee will facilitate the offense and dished out 3.0 assists per game on top of his 8.3 points. The backcourt also gets some help from Kory Holden. The 6-1 point guard began his career at Delaware where he had two superb seasons. He then transferred to South Carolina where an injury limited him to just 14 games. He will make a big impact during his final collegiate campaign. In the frontcourt, Josh Ajayi is the star. He averaged 12.9 points and a team high 6.7 rebounds. Fellow returning starter Trhae Mitchell added 7.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and a team high 1.4 blocks. Like on the perimeter, a couple transfers will make an impact in the frontcourt. Two years ago R.J. Kelly averaged 9.7 points and 6.0 rebounds as a freshman at Savannah State. At the least he will provide quality depth and intensity on the glass. Tashombe Riley spent three seasons at South Carolina State and was a regular starter. Two years ago before an injury ended his first senior season Riley averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. The expectations are not too high for South Alabama, but a postseason trip of any sort will start out the Coach Riley era on a high note.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.6 (273rd in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.3 (97, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.1 (301, 12)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.7 (22, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (150, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.3 (310, 11)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.0 (235, 6)
Rebound Margin: -1.0 (239, 9)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (266, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.0 (324, 11)