#124 Morgan State: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #124
Conference Rank: #1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
2009-10: 27-10, 15-1
2009-10 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Todd Bozeman (85-51 at Morgan State, 145-85 overall)
Morgan State is 42-6 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play over the last three years. This season may not go as well as the previous three due to the absence of most of the backcourt, but the Golden Bears still boast the most talented team in the conference and Coach Todd Bozeman has his team ready to win their fourth straight conference title.
Key Losses: G Joe Davis, G Reggie Holmes, G Troy Smith, G Sean Thomas
Jarrod Denard will have to step into a pretty big role right away. The redshirt freshman will need to turn into a productive player off of the bench since there are few other options on the roster. The 6-2 guard may need some time to ease into things, but by March he should be a productive player. The lone incoming freshman is center Ian Childs. The frontcourt has more talent than the group on the perimeter, but Childs will still be asked to contribute off the bench. Yet, the seven-footer will need some time before he turns into an offensive threat.
Danny Smith started ten games a year ago and should emerge as the starting point guard during his senior campaign. On a team that had Reggie Holmes scoring 21.5 points per game, Smith was never asked to do much scoring, yet he could score a few more points this year. However, his shooting needs to improve if he is going to ever be a major scoring threat. But Smith just needs to take care of the ball, feed the big men and get the rest of the team involved to have a successful season. Ameer Ali, a 6-4 junior, is more of a small forward than a shooting guard due to his lack of outside shooting, but the wing will likely be forced to the two guard spot if Coach Bozeman wants to start his five most talented and experienced players. Ali can do some scoring by attacking the basket and will be a great rebounder for a shooting guard.
Without Holmes on the floor, DeWayne Jackson is suddenly the team’s best outside shooting threat. The 6-8 forward was the conference’s player of the year in 2009-2010 after averaging 10.1 points and 4.3 rebounds. His size ideally makes him a power forward who can stretch out the defense, but on this team he will likely have to at least spend some time at the small forward spot so Kevin Thompson and Rodney Stokes can handle a majority of the minutes at the four and five spots with Childs backing them up. Stokes has never been much of a scorer, but he is a decent rebounder and a fine defender.
Who to Watch:
Thompson will take over this team. He may be the reigning conference defensive player of the year, but Thompson is so much more than a great shot blocker and defender. He was second on the team last year with 12.7 points and led the squad with 11.8 rebounds per contest. Those are some pretty impressive numbers to go along with his stellar defense. Once again the opposition will have a tough time scoring in the paint with Thompson, not to mention Stokes, hanging out under the basket.
The backcourt lacks some firepower and the entire Morgan State squad lacks experienced depth. That may not be much of an issue come March once the newcomers learn their roles, but this could be the year somebody in the MEAC at least has a chance to catch the Golden Bears. But in the end the frontcourt is just way too dominating for anybody to catch Morgan State. And that should lead to the team’s third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Danny Smith, Senior, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Ameer Ali, Junior, Forward, 4.4 ppg
DeWayne Jackson, Sophomore, Forward, 10.1 ppg
Kevin Thompson, Junior, Forward, 12.7 ppg
Rodney Stokes, Senior, Forward, 3.0 ppg
Next Top 144 Teams