#114 Stephen F. Austin Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #114
Conference Rank: #1 Southland
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Like many teams, Stephen F. Austin was feeling good about their 2019-2020 campaign and never got the opportunity to see where it would take them. The Lumberjacks went 28-3 last season and that included a massive upset at Duke in November. That was the first time Duke lost at home to a non-conference opponent since 2000. The Lumberjacks missing out a likely NCAA Tournament bid in 2020 only got tougher to swallow after the NCAA vacated 117 wins from 2014 to 2019 and banned the program from the postseason for the 2021-2022 campaign. That gives the Lumberjacks this season to make some noise before things may quiet down a little bit.
2019-20 Record: 28-3, 19-1
Coach: Kyle Keller
Coach Record: 88-41 at Stephen F. Austin, 88-41 overall
Key Departed Players:
Kevon Harris, Guard, 17.5 ppg
John Comeaux, Guard, 8.1 ppg
Nathan Bain, Forward, 5.8 ppg
Oddyst Walker, Guard, 3.2 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Gavin Kensmil, Senior, Forward, 11.8 ppg
Roti Ware, Senior, Guard, 9.5 ppg
Cameron Johnson, Senior, Guard, 11.4 ppg
David Kachelries, Senior, Guard, 5.2 ppg
Charlie Daniels, Senior, Forward, 4.0 ppg
Sama’Zha Hart, Sophomore, Forward, 3.2 ppg
Calvin Solomon, Sophomore, Forward, 3.0 ppg
Key New Players:
DeAndre Heckard, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Jaylin Jackson-Posey, Freshman, Guard
Nigel Hawkins, Junior, Guard, Transfer from UTEP, not eligible
Kharee McDaniel, RS Freshman, Guard
Nana Antwi-Boasiako, Freshman, Center
Demiere Brown, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Coach Kyle Keller runs a very interesting system. The Lumberjacks want to score quickly and often. However, they will not do that by hoisting up forced three-pointers. They do it by relentlessly attacking the basket. Only three teams took more free-throws than SFA last season. That intensity goes to the other side of the floor too where the Lumberjacks led the nation in forced turnovers. They will turn the ball over themselves quite a bit too, but the overall turnover margin is still very good. That style of play will cause many Southland teams problems no matter who is on the floor. As long as the players buy into the system, SFA will have some success. With that said, losing leading scorer Kevon Harris hurts. The pressure will be on Roti Ware, Cameron Johnson and Gavin Kensmil to pick up the slack and be the leaders of this team. Ware will likely be the only player on the team with a green light to shoot from long range. He only made 30 three-pointers last season, but hit 42.9 percent of his attempts. Johnson tallied 11.4 points per game and is a big guard who can attack the basket and help out on the glass just like Harris did last season. Kensmil will man the frontcourt after averaging 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 2019-2020. Those three seniors will lead the way, but there are more seniors on this team like David Kachelries and Charlie Daniels who will play a big role. Coach Keller does need depth to run this system and he will hope to get it from a bunch of underclassmen and a couple junior college transfers. If the inexperienced players can provide defensive intensity and at least be a threat to score on occasion, the Lumberjacks will get another shot at the NCAA Tournament and raise a banner at Johnson Coliseum that will, hopefully, get to stay there.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.6 (8th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.0 (112, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.1 (7, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.3 (146, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.8 (298, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.2 (43, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.1 (240, 12)
Rebound Margin: 7.6 (9, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.0 (32, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 17.7 (349, 12)