#133 Sam Houston State Men's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Sam Houston State Bearkats

2012-2013 Overall Rank: #133
Conference Rank: #3 Southland
Sam Houston State Men's College Basketball 2012-13 Team Preview
Sam Houston State Team Page


Sam Houston State took a step back last year, finishing with a 13-19 record. That was pretty much expected during Coach Jason Hooten’s second year leading the program. It was a squad that returned just one starter and was forced to reload with junior college transfers. The junior college market is still hot in Huntsville, Texas, but this time Coach Hooten has a more experienced and deep group to work with.

2011-12 Record: 13-19, 7-9
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Jason Hooten
Coach Record: 31-32 at Sam Houston State, 31-32 overall

Who’s Out:
Yet, there are still some big losses. Konner Tucker averaged a team high 12.0 points per game and helped turn around the Bearkats three-point shooting woes. However, he connected on just 32.6 percent of his attempts from long range and often forced shots. Steven Werner emerged as the team’s best interior scorer and was a decent rebounder, averaging 10.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. He was never much of a threat on the defensive end, but Werner did open up the offense with his ability to score in the paint. Antuan Bootle was supposed to be the leader of the 2011-2012 squad, but he only played in 18 games. Marcus James was another big man who will leave the Bearkats desperately searching for big men. James was the best rebounder on the team in 2011-2012 and was a relatively dynamic scorer.

Who’s In:
Again this is a group loaded with transfers. But it is Erik Williams, a transfer from Marquette, who will likely make the biggest impact. The 6-7 forward not only fills a need, but he is a great talent for the Bearkats. Williams started 11 games during his two seasons at Marquette. For a team that lost their best three rebounders, the addition of Williams is huge. The frontcourt will have to get most of its depth from a trio of junior college transfer. James Thomas is an athletic 6-5 forward who will also help out on the glass. Nathaniel Mason is just 6-4 and is better suited to play the small forward position, but he could spend a little time at the four spot as well. Terrance Motley, at 6-7 and 240 pounds, is the one junior college transfer who can really get in the paint and play some defense. His size is just what this team needs, but Motley is a very balanced player for a 6-7 forward. The transfers from the juco ranks are coming to the backcourt too. Jeremy McKay is a tough 5-10 point guard who can make things happen and Will Bond is a 6-4 shooter who may help this team finally find a consistent long range shooter. Paul Baxter and Dakarai Henderson, the lone incoming freshmen, will add more depth to the backcourt.

Who to Watch:
However, the backcourt may not need that much depth. The Bearkats do return four perimeter players with significant experience. Darius Gatson will again be starting at the point guard position. A year ago, as a junior, he averaged 6.7 points and 4.5 assists per contest. He proved to be a great setup man for the rest of the team and a solid defender as well. That was Gatson’s first year in the program and he took the starting job from day one and ran with it. Year two should be even better and those 2.4 turnovers per contest should dip. Demarcus Gatlin, a 6-4 wing, will be by his side. Gatlin is the team’s best returning scorer, averaging 10.4 points per game in 2011-2012. However, he is not much of a shooter. His ability to help out on the glass will be very important and the Bearkats will need a player who can attack the basket like Gatlin. Aaron Harwell did start three games last season beside Gatson and Gatlin, but he is not a shooter either and he will likely be back on the bench assuming one of the newcomers can knock down some shots. Starting or not, Harwell is a fine ball handler who can take over for Gatson or play beside Gatson, so he can move off the ball and hit some shots. With Gatson being the team’s best returning shooter, it is possible that Harwell could spend more time on the ball, so Gatson is free to look for more shots. Marquel McKinney had a decent freshman campaign and will have to battle it out with the newcomers for minutes this season.

Final Projection:
The next big thing for SHSU could be Michael Holyfield. The 6-11 center had his moments during his freshman campaign. He started 14 contests, but only averaged 15.1 minutes per contest. He is a solid shot blocker and defender, but will need to score more and use his 255 pound frame to hit the boards harder. Holyfield got his feet wet as a freshman, but now he needs to play smarter and take on a bigger role in the frontcourt. He may be overshadowed by Williams for a year, but the Bearkats still need him to play defense, hit the glass and stay out of foul trouble. There are a lot of questions with this Sam Houston State team, but in the new look Southland Conference, they have the talent to compete with the likes of Oral Roberts and could be a very good team by March.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Darius Gatson, Senior, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Will Bond, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Demarcus Gatlin, Junior, Guard, 10.4 points per game
Erik Williams, Senior, Forward, DNP last season
Michael Holyfield, Sophomore, Center, 4.0 points per game