#130 Northwestern State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Northwestern State Demons

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #130
Conference Rank: #1 Southland

Northwestern State Team Page#130 Northwestern State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Northwestern State Basketball Tickets

The Southland Conference had three very good teams last season as Northwestern State, Stephen F. Austin and Oral Roberts all finished with at least 20 wins. But it was the Demons who slipped past the Lumberjacks in the conference tournament final to reach the NCAA Tournament. The Demons did not perform another tournament miracle, like the first round upset of Iowa in 2006, but they may get another opportunity this time around.

2012-13 Record: 23-9, 15-3
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike McConathy
Coach Record: 223-213 at Northwestern State, 223-213 overall

Who’s Out:
Coach Mike McConathy went ten deep last year with all ten players averaging between 15 and 25 minutes per game. Four of those players are now gone, including floor general Shamir Davis. Davis’ numbers dropped during his senior season, but so did his minutes as Coach McConathy found success with a deeper bench. Davis still was on the floor at the end of close games and had the ball in his hands. On the year he averaged 12.3 points and 2.1 assists. Wing Gary Roberson averaged 6.4 points during his senior season, but never really found his outside shot. The departures in the frontcourt are quite significant too. James Hulbin had a superb senior season, averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds. He was even one of the better three-point shooters on the team and was able to stretch out the defense on a regular basis. O.J. Evans was not the offensive threat that Hulbin was, but the 6-9 center could play some solid defense and do plenty of work on the glass.

Who’s In:
The Demons do not have to go ten deep again, but it is an option if the newcomers are ready to contribute early. Ta’Jon Welcome should be ready to go from day one. Welcome spent some time at Tyler Junior College where the competition is extremely tough and he has been prepared for the rigors of playing at this level. Incoming freshmen Sabri Thompson and Zeke Woodley will hope to make an impact off of the bench. Thompson is an amazing shooter and if he can keep knocking down there-pointers anywhere close to what he did in high school, Thompson will provide a nice offensive spark off of the bench. Woodley is versatile and a pretty good athlete who could at least be a defensive difference maker sooner or later.

Who to Watch:
Jalan West will be the new star of the backcourt. Without Davis, West may have to do more scoring. After averaging 10.2 points and 5.2 assists as a freshman, there is potential for West to turn into a big time scoring point guard. Finding another scorer on the perimeter while West concentrates on making the offense tick would be helpful. Brison White is an experienced senior who should be a consistent scorer, but he is not much of a shooter. Gary Stewart is the most prolific marksman besides West returning, although that is not saying too much. He connected on just 0.8 attempts per game, but that number will increase dramatically if Stewart gets more shots. With Patrick Roberson, who averaged 6.3 points per game last season, and Tyler Washington, a 6-1 junior who missed the 2012-2013 campaign with an injury, also in the mix, Northwestern State can again go ten deep. This will be a deep team, but it will be deep on the perimeter and size will be a concern.

Final Projection:
DeQuan Hicks and Marvin Frazier will have to provide most of the minutes in the frontcourt. Hicks arrived from the junior college ranks prior to the 2012-2013 season and immediately changed the dynamic of the Demons offense. Northwestern State was a guard orientated team, and really still is, but Hicks gave them space to operate on the perimeter since he could actually score in the paint. In the end, Hicks led the squad with 14.0 points and 5.9 rebounds. Center Marvin Frazier is the defensive presence in the frontcourt. The lack of depth in the frontcourt will be the big difference between this year’s team and last year’s team. The Demons are no strangers to playing small, but that is where Stephen F. Austin and Oral Roberts could take advantage and get the best of Northwestern State.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Jalan West, Sophomore, Guard, 10.2 points per game
Brison White, Senior, Guard, 8.0 points per game
Gary Stewart, Senior, Guard, 5.4 points per game
DeQuan Hicks, Senior, Forward, 14.0 points per game
Marvin Frazier, Junior, Center, 4.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.0 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.4 (282, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.8 (52, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (164, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (191, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.4 (258, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (201, 3)
Rebound Margin: -0.1 (177, 4)
Assists Per Game: 15.3 (27, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.0 (228, 8)


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