#142 Alabama State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Alabama State Hornets

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #142
Conference Rank: #1 SWAC

Alabama State Team Page#142 Alabama State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Alabama State Basketball Tickets

The expectations for Alabama State were quite low heading into the 2013-2014 campaign. This was a team that had lost their two best players and nobody knew if anybody was ready to step up and take over the team. Point guard Jamel Waters proved more than capable of filling that role. He averaged 14.1 points and 6.1 assists and led the Hornets to a second place finish in the SWAC. With four other starters back to join Waters, Alabama State has the depth and experience to win a conference title.

2013-14 Record: 19-13, 12-6
2013-14 Postseason: none
Coach: Lewis Jackson
Coach Record: 138-146 at Alabama State, 138-146 overall

Who’s Out:
At this point, Coach Lewis Jackson returns everybody who played significant minutes last season. The youth and inexperience is long gone.

Who’s In:
Steve Rogers is the lone newcomer this year. The 5-11 point guard will be stuck behind Waters for the next two years, but that is a great place to learn the game. Rogers may not work his way into the regular rotation right away, but he is capable of filling in on those rare occasions when Waters is on the bench.

Who to Watch:
As amazing as Waters was last year, the other four regular starters played their part in Alabama State’s success as well. DeMarcus Robinson was the squad’s second best scorer, averaging 11.5 per contest. At 5-10, Robinson is undersized, but he does do a decent job finishing around the basket. However, he prefers to hang out on the perimeter and is not afraid to jack up a three-pointer. He connected on just 26.9 percent of his team high 167 three-point attempts and something has to change there. Maurice Strong, Luther Page and Brandon Graham are the starting forwards. While nobody is that big, this is a strong rebounding group by SWAC standards. Strong led the squad with 6.7 rebounds per contest and added 8.6 points and 1.0 block per game. Page does much of the unappreciated dirty work. He is efficient offensively when he does look to score, but Page will spend most of his time freeing up space for his teammates. Graham is the tallest of the starting forwards at 6-7 and is also the most dynamic offensively. He is the one who can step outside and stretch out the defense with his long-range shooting ability.

Final Projection:
Alabama State should feel good with five starters returning, but they also have some talent returning that are proven players. Bobby Brown was the sixth man last year and should reprise that role in 2014-2015. The big 6-7 wing averaged 9.5 points and 4.9 rebounds and was easily the most consistent outside shooter on the team. His versatility is a great asset for Coach Jackson and his ability to spark the offense off of the bench makes Brown an even more attractive option. Brown did start a couple games last year and whether or not he starts this year will be Coach Jackson’s prerogative. Either way, Brown will play at least 25 minutes per game. Guard Terrance LeFlore and forward Tony Armstrong both showed flashes as freshmen. They both should be better with a year of experience under their belt and now this is a team that will be able to go eight deep without much of a drop off in production.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Jamel Waters, Junior, Guard, 14.1 points per game
DeMarcus Robinson, Senior, Guard, 11.5 points per game
Maurice Strong, Senior, Forward, 8.6 points per game
Luther Page, Senior, Forward, 6.9 points per game
Brandon Graham, Senior, Forward, 9.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.8 (185th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.5 (158, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.9 (289, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.4 (207, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (249, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 28.6 (296, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.6 (248, 3)
Rebound Margin: -0.8 (213, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (148, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (178, 2)


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