#137 Chattanooga Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Chattanooga Mocs

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #137
Conference Rank: #2 SoCon

#137 Chattanooga Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Chattanooga Team Page


Chattanooga got off to a very rough start last year. The team’s only win over a DI opponent before Christmas came against IUPUI. There were plenty of other winnable games on the slate too; the Mocs just could not win. On December 29th and 30th, Chattanooga beat Grand Canyon and Maine and gave the team some momentum heading into SoCon play; and they took advantage, winning their first eight conference games. It was more up and down after that, but in the end the Mocs went 12-4 in conference and finished behind only Davidson. That is not bad for Coach Will Wade in his first season leading this program.

2013-14 Record: 18-15, 12-4
2013-14 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Will Wade
Coach Record: 18-15 at Chattanooga, 18-15 overall

Who’s Out:
Z. Mason is the big loss. The forward easily led the team with 18.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. No single player is going to replace Mason any time soon. Making matters worse, for the team and for the neatness of their names, Gee McGhee is also gone. The two-year starter opted to transfer to Murray State. He averaged a smooth 10.0 points per game and led the Mocs with 2.7 assists per contest and tied for the team lead with 1.2 steals. T.J. Williams, Anthanee Doyle and Andrew Houts are the only other departures and they all saw very limited minutes.

Who’s In:
Only two impact players are gone, but Coach Wade has brought in seven players who have a realistic chance of making an impact this year. The backcourt adds junior college transfer Jacolby Mobley and freshmen Brandon Maxwell, Shaq Preston and K.J. Bates. Mobley should compete for minutes right away at the point. His experience could even get him the starting job even though Chattanooga returns starting experience from last year’s squad. Maxwell, the son of former Gator and Nugget great Vernon Maxwell, has the speed to thrive in Coach Wade’s up and down attack. There may be a spot in the rotation for Preston’s athleticism too.  Even more experienced newcomers are heading into the frontcourt. And all of them will need to chip in and help replace Mason’s production. Justin Tuoyo spent one year at VCU, averaging just 7.4 minutes per game. After sitting on the bench last year, he is ready to pick up the slack on the defensive end. Duke Ethridge was a junior college All-American last year and will likely join Tuoyo in the starting five. Tre’ McLean is a big wing who can fill in at the three or four spots. He spent last year on the Mocs bench after transferring in from Queens University in Charlotte. Chuck Ester, another junior college transfer, adds even more options for Coach Wade.

Who to Watch:
The impressive group of newcomers will steal some of the thunder away from the returning players, but players like Casey Jones are ready to emerge as leaders of this team. Jones, a 6-5 wing, was second only to Mason in the scoring column and rebounding departments last year. He may be second to none this season. Jones is one of the more efficient scorers around. He will not spend much time floating around the perimeter, but he can finish around the basket with the best of them. Greg Pryor, who started all 33 games as a freshman, will have to hold on to that starting job. Pryor performed admirably and did have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, which is a good thing for a freshman. Combo guard Ronrico White did a better job taking care of the ball and it was when White started playing that Chattanooga started winning. Martynas Bareika and Eric Robertson were both key contributors last year and are the most proven returning three-point shooters. On a team that ranked ninth in the Southern Conference in three-point field-goal percentage, having a couple options for shooters off the bench is a plus.

Final Projection:
The Mocs backcourt is going to be impressive. There is proven depth, some new and talented options, and plenty of offense. The question will be in the frontcourt. Lance Stokes is the only forward or center on the roster who played at all last year. Chattanooga has some new, experienced options and Coach Wade did a superb job filling in the frontcourt with experience. How well it all comes together remains to be seen. If Tuoyo and Ethridge live up to their potential, this is a team that can win the SoCon. That is slightly less impressive this year now that Davidson is off to the A-10. Elon, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State are also moving on for the 2014-2015 campaign, while VMI, East Tennessee State and tournament darlings Mercer are new SoCon members. For now, that all works out well for the Mocs and their NCAA Tournament hopes.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Greg Pryor, Sophomore, Guard, 5.5 points per game
Ronrico White, Senior, Guard, 10.8 points per game
Casey Jones, Junior, Guard, 12.2 points per game
Duke Ethridge, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Justin Tuoyo, Sophomore, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.4 (59th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.9 (271, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.3 (221, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 46.2 (290, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (130, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.2 (215, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.3 (160, 5)
Rebound Margin: 1.8 (125, 1)
Assists Per Game: 11.8 (236, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (276, 9)


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