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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

July 17th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball



Sam Houston State Bearkats


Overall Rank: #117

Conference Rank: #1 Southland


2005-06: 22-9, 11-5, 2nd

2005-06 postseason: none

Sam Houston State is looking to do what Northwestern State did last season; make some noise in the NCAA Tournament with a squad full of seniors.  With only one starter departing and the deepest bench in the Southland, the squad from Huntsville, Texas are the favorites to represent the conference come March.  Watch out Hawkeyes.


Who’s Out: The Bearkats do lose their leading scorer in Chris Jordan.  The 6-4 guard averaged 14.3 points per game.  There are other options in the backcourt, such as point guard Jejuan Plair.  Returning senior starter Shamir McDaniel should benefit the most from the departure of Jordan.  McDaniel, who started 25 games last year, will get the opportunity to take many more shots.


Who’s In: Coach Bob Marlin doesn’t need any of the newcomers to contribute too much, but there are a couple of junior college transfers who are ready to make an impact.  Dominykas Kvedys spent much of his career at Odessa College battling injuries, but when healthy, the 6-10 center can provide another productive big body under the basket.  Small forward James Barrett also missed out on some of his junior college career due to injuries.  The big bodied 6-5, 232 pound Big Spring, TX product is expected to battle for some minutes.  New Orleans native Ashton Mitchell spent some time at Westwood High School in Austin, Texas after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.  For now the 5-10 point guard will learn behind one of the better point guards in the conference in Plair.


Who to Watch: With all the seniors on the squad, it is ironic that junior Ryan Bright will have a lot to say about the success of SHSU.  The 6-6 forward averaged 11.5 points and a team high 7.9 rebounds last season.  The former Southland Conference ‘Freshman of the Year’ started off strong last season in the Bearkat’s impressive Preseason NIT run and never looked back.  Expect even better things this season.  Bright will need some help from his fellow forwards John Gardiner and Aaron Wade.  The duo combined for 13.9 points and 8.2 rebounds last year, but might be asked to do a little more scoring.  If they don’t, there are plenty of other options up front.  Reggie Rawlins, Ryan Griffin and Kelvin Williams all have experience and the ability to see major minutes off the bench. 


Final Projection: SHSU fans have little reason to expect anything less than a great season.  The frontcourt is deep, Bright is a star in the making and Plair is a fine point guard and team leader.  The depth at the guard spots is the only major concern, if we wanted to get picky.  Jeremy Thomas is the only option behind Plair and McDaniel; however, he is a quality replacement. 


Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA


Projected Starting Five:

Jejuan Plair, Senior, Guard, 12.5 points per game

Shamir McDaniel, Junior, Guard, 5.7 points per game

Ryan Bright, Junior, Forward, 11.5 points per game

Aaron Wade, Senior, Forward, 6.1 points per game

John Gardiner, Senior, Forward, 7.8 points per game

118 Providence » Complete List » 116 UALR

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