#140 North Carolina Central Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

North Carolina Central Eagles

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #140
Conference Rank: #1 MEAC

NCCU Team Page#140 North Carolina Central Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy NCCU Basketball Tickets

North Carolina Central has been a Division I program for seven years now. Coach LeVelle Moton took over his alma matter’s program before the 2009-10 season with the Eagles coming off back-to-back four win seasons in their first two seasons at the top level. Moton has consistently improved the program over his five years, increasing the Eagles win total every season, from seven in his first year, to 28 last season. Moton also got NCCU to its first ever NCAA Tournament last season, raising the bar for expectations at the Durham school.

2013-14 Record: 28-6, 15-1
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA Tournament
Coach: LeVelle Moton
Coach Record: 89-66 at NCCU (89-66 Overall)

Who’s Out:
NCCU loses seven players from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, including three starters. Jeremy Ingram was the star of last season’s team and he will be sorely missed. Ingram was one of just two players to average double figures in scoring, leading the team at 20.8 points per game. He was at his best in the biggest games, averaging 30.25 points per game against the four teams on the Eagle’s schedule that were in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, including 37 against Wichita State. Ingram’s backcourt mates, Emanuel Chapman and Alonzo Houston, are also gone. Chapman was a do it all man for NCCU, leading the team in assists, 6.4 per game, steals, 2.0 per game, and free throw percentage, 81.8%, while averaging 6.9 points and 4.3 rebounds. Houston featured as the third guard in the starting lineup and averaged 9.5 points per game, good for third highest on the team. Three other senior guards from last season depart, led by Reggie Groves. Groves played in every game last season, earning one start, averaging five points per game and was second on the team in made three pointers with 41. Ebuka Anyaorah, 3.1 points per game, and Antonin Galaya, 1.3 points per game, also depart. The backcourt took an even bigger hit in the offseason, as Juwan Moody transferred out of the program. Moody played in 24 games as a freshman, averaging 1.3 points per game.

Who’s In:
The Eagles are reloaded via the transfer route. Of the seven new faces on this year’s team, six are transfers. Three of those transfers, Jamal Ferguson, Enoch Hood and Nate Maxey, sat out last season after transferring in from Division I schools. Ferguson, a highly touted recruit out of high school, averaged just 4.6 minutes per game in his freshman season at Marquette before transferring to NCCU. While Ferguson could see immediate playing time in the backcourt, Hood, a James Madison transfer, and Maxey, a Texas A&M Corpus Christi transfer, will bolster the frontcourt. Hood averaged 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a freshman at James Madison before seeing his playing time drop in 2012-13. Maxey played two years at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, averaging 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds as a freshman before blocking a school record 57 while averaging 4.5 points per game as a sophomore. Joining them is Nimrod Hilliard, as former Mr. Basketball in the state of Wisconsin who averaged 14.1 points and 4.9 assists per game last season at Lamar. Hilliard is eligible immediately because of Lamar’s APR issues. Moton also brings in two JUCO transfers, guard Rashaun Madison and forward Jeremiah Ingram. Rounding out the group is the lone high school recruit, Nate Allen, who averaged nearly a double-double in high school.

Who to Watch:
NCCU returns just five players off last year’s team. Leading those returnees are a trio of forwards who had key roles on last year’s team. Jay Copeland, 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, and Karamo Jawara, 7.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, return as starters on the frontline that should be the strength of this year’s team. Joining them in the starting lineup should be Jordan Parks, a senior forward who averaged 10.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game off the bench last season. The backcourt is depleted from last season, but there are two returning players there who could see time. Junior Dante Holmes, a 6-foot-4 guard, averaged 3.4 points per game in his first season with the Eagles after transferring from Florida Gulf Coast, while guard Kevin Crawford II saw action in six games as a freshman.

Final Projection:
Despite the losses off last year’s team, the Eagles are still the best team in the MEAC. Coach LeVelle Moton has done a tremendous job replacing the talent off last year’s team and there should be high expectations in Durham. The frontcourt is loaded with three key players returning and a pair of transfers who could have big roles being added to the equation. The backcourt is the main question for NCCU at the moment, but there is plenty of talent there. The trio of Hilliard, Ferguson and Holmes should see the majority of time in the backcourt slots, and if they can put up solid numbers, this team could replicate last season’s success.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Nimrod Hilliard, Senior, Guard, 14.1 points per game at Lamar
Jamal Ferguson, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Jordan Parks, Senior, Forward, 10.1 points per game
Karamo Jawara, Senior, Forward, 7.5 points per game
Jay Copeland, Senior, Forward, 7.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.9 (85th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.5 (10, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.2 (73, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.1 (5, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (253, 7)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.8 (185, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.8 (68, 2)
Rebound Margin: 3.4 (62, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (51, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (91, 1)


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