#142 Norfolk State Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Norfolk State Spartans
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #142
Conference Rank: #1 MEAC
 Norfolk State Logo
Norfolk State has been a consistent contender in the MEAC since Robert Jones took over prior to the 2013-2014 campaign. Last season the Spartans won the regular season title, but fell to North Carolina Central in the conference tournament and had to settle for a trip to the NIT. But NSU made the most of that opportunity, knocking off top seeded Alabama before falling to Colorado. Coach Jones has a lot of key players to replace, but as long as this group can continue to play tough defense, they will be among the top tier in the MEAC.
2018-19 Record: 22-14, 14-2
2018-19 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Robert Jones
Coach Record: 109-96 at Norfolk State, 109-96 overall
Key Departed Players:
Nic Thomas, Guard, 14.3 ppg
Derrik Jamerson, Guard, 10.4 ppg
Mastadi Pitt, Guard, 9.8 ppg
Alex Long, Forward, 8.6 ppg
Jordan Butler, Forward, 8.1 ppg
C.J. Kelly, Guard, 4.5 ppg
Armani Branch, Forward, 4.4 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Steven Whitley, Senior, Guard, 9.6 ppg
Kyonze Chavis, Junior, Guard, 3.5 ppg
Joe Bryant, Sophomore, Guard, 2.4 ppg
Key New Players:
Jermaine Bishop, Junior, Guard, Transfer, St. Louis
Spirit Ricks, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Kashaun Hicks, Junior, Guard, Transfer, Central Connecticut State
Efstratios Kalogerias, Junior, Center, JC Transfer
Tyrese Jenkins, Freshman, Forward
Daryl Anderson, Freshman, Forward
Nyzaiah Chambers, Freshman, Forward
Yoro Sidibe, Freshman, Forward
Senior Steven Whitley started 22 games last year and will be the new leader of this team. The 6-3 guard averaged 9.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Whitley is the type of player that can carry this team and he has all the talent to do it. He will get some help from fellow returnees Kyonze Chavis and Joe Bryant, but it will be up to a large group of newcomers to help Whitley take this team to the NCAA Tournament. Jermaine Bishop should make the biggest impact. The 6-1 guard had a superb freshman campaign with Saint Louis back in 2015-2016. He got injured early the next season and spent the next two years redshirting. If back to his old form, Bishop is in for a big season. Junior college transfers Spirit Ricks and Efstratios Kalogerias and Central Connecticut State transfer Kashaun Hicks all add experience to this roster. It is a talented group, but Coach Jones will have to put a lot of new pieces together. By the time conference play rolls around though, this could be a very dangerous team.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.7 (139th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.5 (125, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.3 (235, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.9 (35, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (163, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.6 (67, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.0 (164, 5)
Rebound Margin: 0.3 (185, 4)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (232, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.5 (306, 6)