#127 Old Dominion Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Old Dominion Monarchs
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #127
Conference Rank: #6 C-USA
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Following a very disappointing 2019-2020 campaign, Old Dominion was back amongst the best teams in Conference USA last season. Coach Jeff Jones has done a great job during his eight years leading the program, but that has resulted in just one NCAA Tournament during that span. This year the Monarchs may fall short yet again. Three starters are gone, including leading scorer Malik Curry, who is off to West Virginia, but Coach Jones has enough talent on this roster to stay very competitive in Conference USA.
2020-21 Record: 15-8, 11-5
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Jeff Jones
Coach Record: 167-92 at Old Dominion, 524-379 overall
Key Departed Players:
Malik Curry, Guard, 15.7 ppg
Joe Reece, Forward, 7.8 ppg
Xavier Green, Guard, 6.7 ppg
David Strother, Guard, 1.8 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Kalu Ezikpe, Senior, Forward, 10.3 ppg
A.J. Oliver II, Senior, Guard, 9.7 ppg
Austin Trice, Senior, Forward, 8.9 ppg
Jaylin Hunter, Junior, Guard, 6.6 ppg
Mekhi Long, Junior, Guard, 4.7 ppg
Brady O’Connell, Sophomore, Guard, 0.3 ppg
John Shanu, Sophomore, Forward, 0.2 ppg
Jason Wade, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Key New Players:
Imo Essien, Freshman, Guard
Jadin Johnson, Freshman, Guard
Stephan Morris, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Charles Smith IV, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from SMU
D’Angelo Stines, Freshman, Guard
CJ Keyser, Transfer from North Carolina Central
Forward Kalu Ezikpe and guard A.J. Oliver will be the senior leaders on this team. Ezikpe started all 23 games last season and averaged 10.3 points and a team high 6.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. With Ezikpe on the inside, Oliver will be one of the main scoring threats on the perimeter. This is not a team that wants to take a bunch of three-pointers, but Oliver is a threat from long range and a good scorer inside the arc too. Jaylin Hunter and Mekhi Long were part of the regular rotation last season and both should continue to play an important role in 2020-2021. ODU also welcomes back Jason Wade, who missed all of 2020-2021 and part of 2019-2020 with an injury. Before the injury two years ago, Wade was averaging 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 steals. Charles Smith IV transfers in from SMU, where he averaged 5.2 points as a sophomore last year. Smith IV was a highly regarded recruit and will look to reignite his collegiate career in Norfolk. CJ Keyser is a more proven transfer. He averaged 16.4 points and shot 46.8 percent from the floor with North Carolina Central last season. Old Dominion has a lot of talent in the backcourt and they should be able to get enough depth in the frontcourt with Austin Trice and junior college transfer Stephan Morris.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.3 (248th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.7 (95, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.8 (120, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.9 (88, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.9 (333, 14)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 28.8 (330, 14)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.2 (223, 9)
Rebound Margin: 2.0 (119, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.1 (242, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (133, 5)