2008 NIT Capsule: Alabama State
Southwestern Athletic Conference (20-10, 15-3)
Big Wins: 1/12 Mississippi Valley State (71-55), 2/16 at Alabama A&M (85-70), 3/8 Jackson State (103-83)
Bad Losses: 1/7 at Jackson State (71-81), 2/9at Mississippi Valley State (60-72), 2/23 Alcorn State (69-73)
Coach: Lewis Jackson
Brandon Brooks, Junior, Guard, 9.4 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.2 rpg
Andrew Hayles, Junior, Guard, 14.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Joel Bosh, Senior, Forward, 6.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Brandon Gordon, Senior, Forward, 9.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Chief Kickingstallionsims, Junior, Center, 8.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Jamar Sanders, Freshman, Guard, 5.4 ppg, 1.5 apg
Rashard Provitt, Junior, Guard, 4.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Roland Fitch, Freshman, Forward, 6.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Richard Lott, Senior, Forward, 6.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
If you were a fan of Alabama State last year, but didn’t keep tabs on the Hornets this year, you would not recognize very many faces. And it was because of that huge group of newcomers that Coach Lewis Jackson’s team was expected to finish near the bottom of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Instead, Alabama State ended up on top of the conference and it really was not even close.
Besides the team playing together very well, the frontcourt can take a lot of the credit for the Hornets surprise season. Forwards Brandon Gordon and Joel Bosh will not put up 20 points in a game very often, but they both can stretch the defense with their outside shooting ability. Gordon and Bosh are also the leading rebounders on the team and that is one of the strengths of the Hornets. Having a 7-1 center in Chief Kickingstallionsims to clear space in the paint does not hurt.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The problem is Alabama State is not a great shooting team. Andrew Hayles is the lone threat from beyond the arc and he is also the only player on the team to average double-digit scoring. But Hayles, one of the few holdovers from last season, is not a bad guy to depend on during his junior campaign. He is the most aggressive player on the team and will get to the basket and the charity stripe with consistency. But at the free-throw line is where the Hornets run into more problems. Hayles is fine free-throw shooter and so are most of the other guards, but a few of the forwards have major trouble at the line.
Who To Watch:
Brandon Brooks might not have the shooting ability of Hayless, or come anywhere close, but the point guard is the team’s third leading scorer at 9.4 points per game. But more importantly, Brooks sets the tempo for the offense and plays solid defense. The point guard averages 6.2 assists per game and only turns it over 2.4 times. Brooks does a solid job getting everybody involved, but somebody else has to step up and become a second or third scoring threat.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.6 (123rd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.7 (79, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.1 (69, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.4 (34, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (201, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.5 (150, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.3 (296, 7)
Rebound Margin: 5.7 (23, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (87, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (94, 1)
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