#139 Norfolk State Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Norfolk State Spartans
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #139
Conference Rank: #1 MEAC
 Norfolk State Logo
Norfolk State has recorded at least a .500 record in six of the seven seasons Coach Robert Jones has led the program. Last season the Spartans did not have much success in non-conference play, with their only Division I victory coming in overtime against Bowling Green, but the team was well prepared for MEAC play. Norfolk State finished tied for second with a solid 12-4 record. With nearly the entire roster returning, Coach Jones has a very experienced team that should compete for their second conference title in the last three years.
2019-20 Record: 16-15, 12-4
Coach: Robert Jones
Coach Record: 126-111 at Norfolk State, 126-111 overall
Key Departed Players:
Steven Whitley, Guard, 10.1 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Jermaine Bishop, Senior, Guard, 15.6 ppg (pending NCAA review)
Joe Bryant Jr, Junior, Guard, 12.0 ppg
Spirit Ricks, Senior, Guard/Forward, 3.7 ppg
Devante Carter, Senior, Guard, 9.7 ppg
Kashaun Hicks, Senior, Guard/Forward, 4.9 ppg
Tyrese Jenkins, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 4.5 ppg
Chris Ford, Junior, Forward, 3.6 ppg
Key New Players:
If the NCAA grants a sixth year to Jermaine Bishop, which seems likely, the rest of the MEAC will be in trouble. Bishop led the Spartans with 15.6 points and added 2.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals. Bishop is an amazing outside shooter and connected on 98 three-pointers last season. Joe Bryant is the other shooter on the team and ranked second on the squad with 12.0 points per game. Devante Carter is one of the more interesting players in the conference. He is not a great scorer, but still managed to average 9.7 points per game. More impressively, Carter led the team with 5.6 rebounds and added 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals. Some of the bigger players on the roster will need to step up in the scoring column and the rebounding department. Spirit Ricks, Kashaun Hicks, Tyrese Jenkins, Chris Ford and Estratios Kalogerias were all solid role-players last season and Coach Jones had the luxury of mixing and matching his wings and forwards depending on the situation. That is not a bad position for Norfolk State, but it would be beneficial if somebody could emerge as another consistent scoring threat. If that happens, Norfolk State will not just be the favorites in the MEAC, but they could beat some decent non-conference opponents as well.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.5 (198th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.9 (52, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.4 (292, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.0 (35, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (116, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.3 (228, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.2 (168, 2)
Rebound Margin: 1.8 (129, 3)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (179, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.1 (261, 1)