#82 Southern Illinois Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Southern Illinois Salukis

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #82
Conference Rank: #4 Missouri Valley

Southern Illinois Team Page#82 Southern Illinois Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Southern Illinois Basketball Tickets

Southern Illinois had another subpar season in 2013-2014, finishing with a 9-9 record in MVC play and just 14-19 overall. But, despite the loss of three starters, there is good reason to be excited about this team this year and beyond. Anthony Beane built off his successful freshman campaign by averaging 14.7 points per game as a sophomore. He is the team’s most prolific outside shooter, which is not saying too much, but he did knock down 39.4 percent of his attempts from long range. Beane is ready to be the next Saluki perimeter star for the next two years.

2013-14 Record: 14-19, 9-9
2013-14 Postseason: none
Coach: Barry Hinson
Coach Record: 28-36 at Southern Illinois, 233-176 overall

Who’s Out:
Coach Barry Hinson is getting more of his players in the program as he heads into his third year as the head coach. But losing Desmar Jackson is a tough blow. The 6-1 guard led the team with 18.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Also gone are part-time starters Marcus Fillyaw and Davante Drinkard. Fillyaw was never much of a scorer and averaged just 3.7 points per game despite averaging 23.5 minutes. Drinkard was one of the few big bodies on the team and spent about 15 minutes per game on the floor. Mike Balogun and Bronson Verhines averaged about ten minutes each. Jackson is a big loss, but losing three starters is not nearly as bad as it sounds in this case.

Who’s In:
The Salukis need size and they got it with newcomers Ibby Djimde, Jordan Caroline, Deng Leek and Austin Weiher. Djimde, a 6-8 center, spent two years at Illinois where he spent most of his time on the bench. He only played in 11 games as a sophomore back in 2012-2013. But he is big body who can hit the glass and give this group an interior presence. Caroline is the best of the incoming freshmen and he will likely compete with Djimde for the starting power forward spot. He may not be ready to start right away, but eventually Djimde can slide up to the five spot with Caroline filling in at the four. Deng Leek, a junior college transfer, stands at 7-1 and certainly has the size and experience to play quality minutes this season. Armon Fletcher, Deion Lavender, K.C. Goodwin and Chaz Glotta will add depth on the perimeter. Fletcher is the most likely to contribute major minutes. He has a lot of ability and just needs to polish his game. SIU also needs some shooters and all of the new guards are options in that department and Coach Hinson should find it difficult to keep anybody on the bench who is knocking down shots.

Who to Watch:
Tyler Smithpeters and Sean O’Brien figure to start on the perimeter next to Beane. Smithpeters is a good shooter, but just needs to take more shots. He averaged just 4.8 points per game last season despite connecting on over 40 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. O’Brien will get to play more at his natural wing position. The 6-6 sophomore showed plenty of promise as a freshman and is a dynamic scoring threat. Jalen Pendleton was forced to play power forward at times last season despite being a 6-2 guard. He is a tough, tough player who can score around the basket, but now he will get better matchups on the wing. All three of those guards should see their offensive production increase in an effort to replace Jackson’s scoring.

Final Projection:
Despite the lack of size, this was still a very good rebounding team. They could absolutely dominate on the glass with the new big men helping out and the guards crashing the class. But it would be very helpful if somebody could be a true interior scoring threat. Bola Olaniyan and Dawson Verhines are the only returning options. Olaniyan played very well as a freshman, averaging 3.4 points and 4.9 rebounds. It remains to be seen if he can develop into that consistent scoring threat though. The Salukis do not have a scholarship senior on the roster so Coach Hinson should have a couple years with this group. There is talent here, and maybe more than SIU has had in a few years, so any success they can have in 2014-2015 will lead to bigger and better things in 2015-2016.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Anthony Beane, Junior, Guard, 18.6 points per game
Tyler Smithpeters, Sophomore, Guard, 4.8 points per game
Sean O’Brien, Sophomore, Forward, 6.7 points per game
Ibby Djimde, Junior, Center, DNP last season
Bola Olanivan, Sophomore, Forward, 3.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.9 (271st in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.9 (89, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (105, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.8 (182, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.5 (327, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.0 (NR)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.2 (258, 10)
Rebound Margin: 1.9 (121, 2)
Assists Per Game: 10.0 (327, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (174, 7)


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