#88 South Alabama Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

South Alabama Jaguars
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #88
Conference Rank: #1 Sun Belt
 South Alabama Logo
South Alabama had a bit of a disappointing 2018-2019 campaign. The expectations were relatively high with the hiring of former Nicholls coach Richie Riley, but the Jaguars limped to a 17-17 overall record and 8-10 in Sun Belt play. Despite the loss of a handful of regular contributors, South Alabama returns three double-digit scorers and brings in four eligible transfers with Division I experience. And that has expectations growing very quickly in Mobile.
2018-19 Record: 17-17, 8-10
2018-19 Postseason: None
Coach: Richie Riley
Coach Record: 17-17 at South Alabama, 52-45 overall
Key Departed Players:
Rodrick Sikes, Guard, 12.1 ppg
R.J. Kelly, Forward, 4.4 ppg
Kory Holden, Guard, 10.4 ppg
Jordan Andrews, Guard, 4.1 ppg
Abdul Dial, Guard, 2.6 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Josh Ajayi, Senior, Forward, 16.4 ppg
Trhae Mitchell, Senior, Forward, 13.6 ppg
Herb McGee, Senior, Guard, 10.0 ppg
John Pettway, Junior, Guard, 4.3 ppg
Kevin Morris, Senior, Forward, 1.4 ppg
Key New Players:
Josh Ayeni, Junior, Forward, Transfer from St. Bonaventure
Don Coleman, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Cal
KK Curry, Freshman, Forward
Andre Fox, Senior, Guard, Transfer from High Point
A.C. Kelly, Freshman, Guard
Tyreke Locure, Freshman, Guard
Chad Lott, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Howard
Adam Sizere, Freshman, Guard
Deaundrae Ballard, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Florida, not eligible
Sam Iorio, Junior, Forward, Transfer from American, not eligible
Josh Ajayi and Trhae Mitchell form a superb frontcourt duo. Ajayi led the team with 16.4 points and added 7.4 rebounds, while Mitchell averaged 13.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.1 blocks. Both are at least a threat to take the occasional three-pointer and Mitchell has emerged as one of the best versatile players in the conference. At 6-7 and 6-6, respectively, their size is not overwhelming, but both are still tough rebounders who can play bigger than they are. Herb McGee is the other returning double-digit scorer. The senior guard tallied 10.0 points and 3.1 assists per game last season and is another dangerous shooter on a team with a lot of shooters. Don Coleman is the biggest name among the newcomers. The 6-2 senior averaged 14.2 points per game with Cal as a junior back in 2017-2018. He has had some huge scoring output during his two years with the Golden Bears and do not be surprised if he has a few 30+ point efforts for the Jaguars too. Andre Fox earned second-team All-Big South honors two years ago when he averaged 15.7 points and 4.8 rebounds for High Point. Chad Lott averaged 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season with Howard. Lott is not a great shooter, but the graduate transfer will do plenty of scoring by attacking the basket. Josh Ayeni will add a much needed option in the frontcourt. The 6-8 junior was a part-time starter for St. Bonaventure for two seasons and should be a more consistent threat with South Alabama. Even with all of the new faces, this is suddenly a very deep and experienced team. And it is talented enough to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.9 (160th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.5 (207, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.0 (73, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.9 (245, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.4 (103, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.5 (40, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (248, 9)
Rebound Margin: -3.2 (304, 11)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (136, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (226, 6)