#133 Texas-Arlington Men's Basketball Preview

Texas-Arlington Mavericks

Overall Rank: #133
Conference Rank: #1 Southland

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2010-11: 13-16, 7-9
2010-11 postseason: none
Coach: Scott Cross (79-73 at Texas-Arlington, 79-73 overall)

Texas-Arlington had eight players who started at least a dozen games last year. Six of them are back, including a trio of talented perimeter players. Shaquille White-Miller had a decent freshman campaign, averaging 4.2 points and 3.1 assists per game. He needs to keep the turnovers down and any extra scoring they can get from the pass first point guard would be a bonus, but White-Miller is ready to be the leader of this team after starting 17 games last year. If not, Cameron Catlett can certainly fill that role. Catlett, a 6-3 sophomore, is a much better scorer than White-Miller, but is not really a true point guard. However, he could play some point when White-Miller needs a break or be a secondary ball handler on the floor. Bradley Gay is the more experienced player on the perimeter. The 6-4 senior is a good shooter, but needs to be more aggressive attacking the basket.

Who’s Out:
The backcourt does lose a few contributors. Darius Richardson, at times, was a good long range shooter who would stretch out the defense, but he was rather inconsistent during his freshman campaign and opted to transfer. He had the size to attack the basket and hit the glass though and could have turned into a major contributor with time. Another transfer, Armani Williams pretty much played the same role as Richardson…a shooter who would usually come in off the bench and try to provide a spark. Bryant Smith played quite well when given the opportunity during his freshman campaign, averaging 3.5 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists, but he too left the program.

Who’s In:
Coach Scott Cross needed to add some scorers to this team and he got plenty of them. Kevin Butler, a transfer from TCU, started 20 games for the Horned Frogs as a sophomore during the 2009-2010 campaign. He has a knack for getting offensive rebounds even with his 6-5 frame. His toughness should make Butler an option at the small forward or power forward spot. Karol Gruszecki and Bojan Mihajlovic were two of the best scorers at the junior college level last season, averaging 19.4 and 20.6 points, respectively. Gruszecki is more of a lanky guard with athleticism, while Mihajlovic has a bigger 6-6, 225 pound frame and he can bang around in the paint or step outside. Jorge Redmon was a pretty good scorer in the juco ranks as well, but it is his ability to run the point and play stellar defense that will make him an immediate contributor to the Mavericks.

Who to Watch:
Texas-Arlington has two small forwards who are the best scorers on the team. LaMarcus Reed is a great athlete and averaged 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds during his junior season. Bo Ingram has a little more girth even though he and Reed are both 6-5. Ingram, who was named the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year last season as a junior, averaged 11.2 points and 5.1 rebounds and will likely emerge as the go-to-scorer. Like Reed, Ingram is a quality outside shooter. It is on the defensive end, where Ingram is forced to play at the four spot, where his weakness is exposed. Fortunately, the Mavericks have Jordan Reves waiting in the paint. The 6-10, 240 pound center had a big junior season and turned into a decent rebounder, a capable interior scorer and the best shot blocker on the team. With another year of progression, Reves could have a very productive senior season. Brandon Edwards will give the frontcourt some quality depth and a tad more size when they need it. As a freshman he led the team with 5.4 rebounds per game and once he develops an offensive game, Edwards will be a great power forward in the Southland Conference.

Final Projection:
There are some pieces to replace, but Coach Cross went with experience in this recruiting class. All four newcomers are upperclassmen and there are only three sophomores on the team. Two of those sophomores, White-Miller and Edwards, received plenty of playing time last year and are pretty experienced. The result is an extremely deep team with a ton of potential scoring threats and a heap of experience. That will keep Texas-Arlington right in the mix for a Southland title and give them a big boost come tournament time.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Shaquille White-Miller, Sophomore, Guard, 4.2 points per game
Bradley Gay, Senior, Guard, 7.3 points per game
LaMarcus Reed, Senior, Forward, 12.4 points per game
Bo Ingram, Senior, Forward, 11.2 points per game
Jordan Reves, Junior, Center, 7.5 points per game

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