#140 Jackson St: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #140
Conference Rank: #1 Southwestern Athletic Conference
2009-10: 19-13, 17-1
2009-10 postseason: NIT
Coach: Tevester Anderson (114-113 at Jackson State, 217-165 overall)
Jackson State dominated the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2009-2010 with a 17-1 record. Yet the team failed to show up when it mattered the most, and fell in the first round of the conference tournament. That left the Tigers in the NIT instead of the NCAA Tournament. But all of that work was done mostly without preseason conference player of the year Grant Maxey who played in just two games before suffering a season ending ankle injury. The young team has grown up and should be able to cruise through the SWAC yet again.
Key Losses: G Garrison Johnson
Kelsey Howard will probably end up being the star of this recruiting class. The 6-4 guard is a pure scorer and has enough size to attack the basket when he is not knocking down an outside shot. In a conference like the SWAC most pure scorers are strictly shooters, but because of Howard’s size he has the ability to be a multi-dimensional scorer and that will make him a good player sooner or later. Fellow freshman guard Scottie Sterling will not do nearly as much scoring, but he is a solid defender and ball handler. Derrell Taylor, a 6-7, 175 pound forward, needs to bulk up a bit, but he will eventually provide some depth to the frontcourt. Wing Jeniro Bush and 7-2 center Jamarious Sykes sat out last season and will look for minutes this time around.
Without Maxey around a lot of players stepped up to fill the scoring void. The now departed Garrison Johnson did the most scoring, but Tyrone Hanson, De’Suan Dixon, Cason Burk and Phillip Williams all played their part too. Hanson was second on the team in scoring with 11.4 points per game and proved to be a very consistent outside shooter. While he may play his best basketball as a shooter off the bench, he may be too talented to not start. Dixon, a 6-5 senior, is not a shooter, but he did average 10.6 points and a team high 6.7 rebounds last year. Speaking of rebounding guards, Burk fits into that category as well after tallying 6.5 boards per contest. With Burk and Dixon being 6-5 and Hanson at 6-7, Jackson State has a ton of size on the perimeter. Williams does not have the size, but he could turn into a decent scorer off the bench if given the opportunity.
Maxey is 6-7 as well, but he usually plays the power forward position. Two years ago Maxey led the team with 16.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He also added 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals. Maxey’s ability to attack the basket and stretch out the defense with his outside shooting ability will make this team even more difficult to stop than they were last season. Getting somebody back with his kind of talent would make any team better. The Tigers will be a perimeter orientated team again, but Raymond Gregory and Gertavian Blake will need to manage the center position and spend some time at the four spot. Both earned some starts last season, but finding a consistent interior scorer would be beneficial.
Who to Watch:
Rod Melvin is the player who makes this team go…and they like to go fast. Melvin is unlikely to take over much of the scoring load left behind by Johnson, but he is the catalyst of the offense and he will find the scorers. He is barely a threat to shoot, but as long as he continues to find his teammates and play stellar defense, Jackson State will win plenty of conference games.
Melvin is now an upperclassman and a leader and a bulk of the responsibility to get last year’s disappointment behind the team will fall on his shoulders. This is a team that should win the conference again, but they may not soon forget what Grambling did to them in the first round of the conference tournament. By March Jackson State had better put 2009-2010 behind them and not allow the loss last season to beat them again.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Rod Melvin, Junior, Guard, 5.4 ppg
De’Suan Dixon, Senior, Guard, 10.6 ppg
Tyrone Hanson, Senior, Guard, 11.4 ppg
Grant Maxey, Senior, Forward, 6.5 ppg
Gertavian Blake, Senior, Center, 2.3 ppg
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