#144 Chattanooga Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Chattanooga Mocs
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #144
Conference Rank: #5 SoCon
 Chattanooga Logo
Chattanooga had a pretty good 2020-2021 campaign. In the middle of February, the Mocs were 18-5 and 9-5 in SoCon play. Their season ended with three straight losses though, including a 63-53 loss to East Tennessee State in their opening game of the conference tournament. Coach Lamont Paris will look to recapture some of that earlier success in 2021-2022 and he has the players to do it.
2020-21 Record: 18-8, 9-7
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Lamont Paris
Coach Record: 60-63 at Chattanooga, 60-63 overall
Key Departed Players:
Stefan Kenic, Forward, 11.8 ppg
Prosper Obidiebube, Forward, 3.7 ppg
Trey Doomes, Guard, 9.3 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Malachi Smith, Junior, Guard, 16.8 ppg
David Jean-Baptiste, Senior, Guard, 16.1 ppg
Darius Banks, Senior, Forward, 11.2 ppg
Josh Ayeni, Senior, Forward, 5.5 ppg
KC Hankton, Senior, Forward, 8.7 ppg
A.J. Caldwell, Senior, Guard, 6.4 ppg
Jamaal Walker, Sophomore, Guard, 5.1 ppg
Jaden Frazier, Sophomore, Forward, 1.1 ppg
Grant Ledford, Junior, Forward, 3.0 ppg
Key New Players:
Avery Diggs, Senior, Center, Transfer from UCF
Tada Stricklen, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Randy Brady, Freshman, Guard
Jacob Radaker, Freshman, Forward
Johnny Taylor, Freshman, Guard
Losing Stefan Kenic will hurt the frontcourt, but Chattanooga boasts a superb backcourt duo in Malachi Smith and David Jean-Baptiste. Smith led the team with 16.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game last season. Jean-Baptiste added 16.1 points and 2.5 assists. Those two can carry this team a long way. The experienced A.J. Caldwell will again add quality depth and is a great outside shooter, while Jamaal Walker is coming off a strong freshman campaign. Darius Banks, KC Hankton and Josh Ayeni will likely hold down the other three starting spots. Banks and Hankton both missed significant time last season, but proved to be effective when on the court. Ayeni, a 6-7 senior, is a little bit undersized for the five spot, but he will do some of the dirty work. The addition of Avery Diggs, a transfer from UCF, will help bolster Chattanooga’s toughness. The 6-11, 245 pound Brandon, Florida native did not see a ton of playing time with the Knights, but he finished last season strong and should make an impact with his new team. Most importantly for the Mocs, he will help a team that ranked dead last in the Southern Conference in rebounding margin. As long as this group can find some success on the glass and a third scoring threat behind Smith and Jean-Baptiste, they will be right in the mix for a SoCon title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: None
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.6 (130th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.3 (140, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (182, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.6 (266, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.4 (70, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.9 (72, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 78.3 (14, 1)
Rebound Margin: -1.0 (222, 10)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (232, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.1 (37, 2)