#39 Memphis Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Memphis Tigers

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #3 American

Memphis Team Page#39 Memphis Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Memphis Basketball Tickets

Even by Memphis standards, this is a very young team. But Coach Josh Pastner hopes to build off of last season even though they lost an unprecedented six conference games while transitioning to the American Athletic Conference. The program did reach the NCAA Tournament as an eight seed and beat George Washington in the Round of 64 before falling to top seeded Virginia. Doing better than third in conference play is certainly feasible for this team, but the newcomers in the backcourt better be ready to make a big impact right away if that is going to happen.

2013-14 Record: 24-10, 12-6
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Josh Pastner
Coach Record: 130-44 at Memphis, 130-44 overall

Who’s Out:
The backcourt is decimated with the loss of Joe Jackson, Geron Johnson, Chris Crawford and Michael Dixon. Jackson led the team with 14.1 points per game and was always superb attacking the basket. Johnson, like Jackson, was a solid defender who could score too. Johnson struggled with his shot during his senior season, but still managed to averaged 8.9 points per game. Crawford was the three-point specialist and knocked down a team high 76 pointers and connected on 37.3 percent of his attempts. Dixon was not as prolific from beyond the arc, but he was more efficient than Crawford. Dixon could also score around the basket and averaged 11.8 points per game as the team’s sixth man. Role players David Pellom, Dominic Woodson and Damien Wilson have also wrapped up their careers with Memphis.

Who’s In:
The Tigers have a lot of newcomers and obviously there are a lot of holes to fill in the backcourt. Pookie Powell, Dominic Magee and Kedren Johnson are all capable of running the point this season. Powell sat out last season for academic reasons and is capable of filling a leadership role in the backcourt. Magee is the best of the incoming freshmen and he too could be asked to run the show from day one. It remains to be seen if Johnson will be eligible this season, but last year he led Vanderbilt in scoring and assists. His experience would be massive while Powell and Magee learn the ropes. Like Powell, Markel Crawford missed last season. He is coming off of an ACL injury, but is absolutely brimming with potential. Obviously this team needs shooters and Crawford is certainly capable. Junior college transfers Avery Woodson, Trahson Burrell and Chris Hawkins will add more options on the wing. Woodson can score inside and out, while Burrell is a lanky athlete who can do a little bit of everything. Calvin Godfrey, a transfer from Southern U, is eligible immediately. The 6-8, 233 pound senior averaged 13.1 points and 8.8 rebounds with the Jaguars and will at least provide Memphis with some quality frontcourt depth.

Who to Watch:
While the newcomers come around, Memphis will work around forwards Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols. Goodwin, a 6-9 junior, started all 34 games as a sophomore and averaged 11.5 points and a team high 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Goodwin can get up and down the floor and will always be aggressive around the basket on both ends of the floor. Nichols had a great freshman campaign and the Tigers believe he is ready for a breakout season. Like Goodwin, he is great in the open floor, but he does need be more effective in the half-court offense. But after averaging 9.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks as a freshman, the sky is the limit for Nichols. Once again Nick King will add depth to the frontcourt. The 6-7 small forward showed some potential during his freshman campaign and will certainly get his chance now. The same is true for 6-9 sophomore Kuran Iverson.

Final Projection:
Memphis is used to reloading with talented youngsters, yet this is an extreme example. There is not a returning senior on the roster and last year’s underclassmen will have to emerge as this year’s leaders. But there is talent and Coach Josh Pastner will get the most of them by the time AAC play roles around in January. By then, this will be a team that not only should be in the NCAA Tournament, but a team that can be extremely dangerous.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Dominic Magee, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Markel Crawford, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Trahson Burrell, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Austin Nichols, Sophomore, Forward, 9.3 points per game
Shaq Goodwin, Junior, Forward, 11.5 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.9 (39th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.5 (192, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.7 (21, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.8 (180, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (261, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.0 (222, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.4 (326, 9)
Rebound Margin: 2.2 (112, 5)
Assists Per Game: 17.4 (4, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (256, 8)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#56 Shaq Goodwin
#59 Austin Nichols

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#75 Dominic MaGee


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