#136 Long Beach State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Long Beach State 49ers

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #136
Conference Rank: #3 Big West

Long Beach State Team Page#136 Long Beach State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Long Beach State Basketball Tickets

Long Beach State had a rough start to last season. After opening the year with a win, the 49ers dropped nine straight games and never recovered, finishing 15-17 on the season. The team was much better in conference play though, finishing third in the Big West with a 10-6 record. With the return of the backcourt duo of Mike Caffey and Tyler Lamb, those numbers could significantly improve this season. Caffey, who led the team in scoring, 16.2 points per game, and assists, 4.3 per game, will be back at point guard, while Lamb, who averaged 15.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in his first season after transferring in from UCLA last season, will join him in the backcourt. With those two back in the backcourt, the 49ers will have some increased expectations this season.

2013-14 Record: 15-17, 10-6
2013-14 Postseason: None
Coach: Dan Monson
Coach Record: 119-108 at Long Beach State (289-231 Overall)

Who’s Out:
The 49ers have a big hole to fill in the frontcourt with the graduation of Dan Jennings. The 6-foot-9 forward led the team in rebounding last season, averaging 8.3 per game, and was third on the team in scoring at 9.9 points per game. Jennings was big for Long Beach State on the offensive glass, where he grabbed 104 rebounds over the course of the season, helping the 49ers finish in the top 25 nationally in offensive rebounds per game. In addition to the loss of Jennings, four players transferred out of the program, led by forwards Kris Gulley and Nick Shepherd. Gulley played in all 32 games last season, averaging 3.3 points and 2.2 rebounds per game, while Shepherd averaged just over a point per game in his junior season. Also gone are a pair of freshmen guards off last year’s team, Desmond Ross and Javion Watson, who played in 15 and 11 games respectively in their lone season playing for the 49ers.

Who’s In:
Long Beach State brings in a four man recruiting class this season, led by 5-foot-8 point guard Justin Bibbins. Bibbins earned a three star rating from ESPN while averaging 21.3 points, 5.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. He was named as one of the Wooden Award winners in the state of California, an award given to the top player in each division of the California Interscholastic Federation. Also receiving a Wooden Award was 6-foot-7 forward Jack Williams, who averaged a double-double as a senior, putting up 16.8 points and grabbing 11.7 rebounds per game. The 49ers also bring in two other two star recruits in guard Deontae North and center Temidayo Yussuf.

Who to Watch:
Long Beach State has the dynamic backcourt duo, but they will need some players to step up as a supporting cast. The 49ers return two sophomore guards who made solid contributions last season in Branford Jones, who played in all 32 games, including eight starts, and averaged 5.8 points per game, and Travis Hammonds, who averaged 6.5 points per game while appearing in 20 contests. Five JUCO players are back for their second season on campus and will look for bigger roles. Two of the JUCO players, 6-foot-3 guard A.J. Spencer and 6-foot-7 forward David Samuels are returning starters. Spencer averaged 9.1 points per game last season, while Samuels is the leading returning rebounder, having averaged 5.4 rebounds per game last season. McKay LaSalle, 6-foot-3 guard, and 6-foot-7 forward Christian Griggs-Williams both saw action in at least 28 games last year, but both received 10 minutes per game or less. The fifth JUCO transfer is Charles Lovett, a 6-foot-6 forward that saw no playing time last season.

Final Projection:
The 49ers have a lot of production back from last year’s team and should be able to produce better results. With Caffey and Lamb in the backcourt, the 49ers will have a chance to win a lot of games. Whether they do or not will likely be determined by how the supporting cast performs. Someone, or a few players, will need to step up to help replace the lost production of Jennings. Samuels should see improvement in his game and if Griggs-Williams or Williams can post solid numbers, the 49ers should be in good shape.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Mike Caffey, Senior, Guard, 16.2 points per game
Tyler Lamb, Sophomore, Guard, 15.4 points per game
A.J. Spencer, Senior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
David Samuels, Junior, Forward, 6.1 points per game
Jack Williams, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.9 (200 in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.5 (190, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.2 (226, )
Field-Goal Defense: 43.7 (177, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (190, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.2 (279, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.1 (292, 7)
Rebound Margin: 1.4 (143, 5)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (168, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (163, 6)


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