#105 Kent State: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #105
Conference Rank: #3 Mid-American Conference
2009-10: 24-10, 13-3
2009-10 postseason: NIT
Coach: Geno Ford (43-25 at Kent State, 94-57 overall)
After finishing with an impressive 24-10 overall record in Coach Geno Ford’s second year at the helm of Kent State, the Golden Flashes have some rebuilding to do. However, despite the loss of a bulk of their production last year, this is not a team that should fall too far. Another conference championship may be asking too much, but a postseason berth is not.
Key Losses: G Tyree Evans, F Frank Henry-Ala, G Mike McKee, F Anthony Simpson, G Chris Singletary
The four junior college transfers will have the biggest impact on the team this year, but four freshmen will also be competing for serious playing time. Perhaps the most intriguing prospect is 6-6 forward Robert Johnson. He could stretch out the defense with his outside shooting ability from the four spot or do a little bit of everything at the small forward position. His lack of experience may keep him on the bench at the beginning of the year, but he may be too talented to keep there by the time the conference season heats up. Mark Henninger and Darius Leonard will add some more depth to the frontcourt, while Eric Gaines will battle with an already talented backcourt for playing time during his freshman campaign.
Kent State returns a proven scorer and a player with plenty of promise to the perimeter. Rodriguez Sherman is not the greatest shooter around, which is a problem that plagued KSU all of last year, but he is a good all-around scorer. Sherman can attack the basket with ease and even dished out 3.0 assists and grabbed 4.0 rebounds per game last season. As the only senior on the roster, Sherman will have to become the leader on and off the floor. Randal Holt was hindered during his freshman campaign with injuries, but the 6-1 guard showed plenty of potential. Ideally, Holt will be able to run the point and Sherman can work at his more comfortable two guard position. Even if Holt is not running the show, he is a capable player who should at least begin the season in the starting lineup as long as he is healthy.
If Kent State could return one player from the team, they would probably pick Justin Greene. The 6-8, 225 pound junior is coming off of a superb season in which he led the team in points, rebounds and blocks. Greene has developed into a great big man who stays under the basket and works hard to create shots for himself. Greene is even a superb free-throw shooter and connected on a smooth 80.0 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe. For a big guy who many opponents have no choice but to foul, that is a big plus. Unless an outside shooter steps up, the opposing defense will be able to key in on Greene, so it is important that the Golden Flashes find a shooter, not to mention another forward, to keep the pressure off of Greene.
Who to Watch:
Most of the holes will be filled by the junior college transfers. DeAndre Nealy, a 6-6 forward out of Mott Community College in Michigan, could step into a starting position right away. He may be a little undersized for a power forward, but he will throw his 230 pound frame around and grab his fair share of rebounds. Nealy is also surprisingly athletic and a superb shot blocker. While Greene did lead the team in blocked shots a year ago, he is not that much of a defensive threat. Nealy could fix that issue. Justin Manns, a 6-11 center who redshirted last season, will add more depth to the frontcourt. The backcourt gets a couple impact players as well. Michael Porrini could be running the point from day one if Holt is best utilized elsewhere and Carlton Guyton might just be the best newcomer on the team. Guyton is a superb athlete who is already a proven scorer from anywhere on the floor. At 6-4, Guyton has the size to play the small forward position where he can help out on the glass and knock down some long balls.
It may take some time for this group to come together and be a team. With so many new faces that is bound to happen. However, there are plenty of options for Coach Ford and having Sherman and Greene to build around is not a bad place to start. This will be a dangerous team by March, but their early growing pains will likely keep them out of MAC title consideration. But just wait until 2011-2012 if you want to see a great Kent State team and this year should be a building block to the perceived future success.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Randal Holt, Sophomore, Guard, 3.9 ppg
Rodriquez Sherman, Senior, Guard, 10.6 ppg
Carlton Guyton, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
DeAndre Nealy, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Justin Greene, Junior, Forward, 13.6 ppg
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