Rank: #1 Southland
22-9, 11-5, 2nd
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Senior, Guard, 12.5 points per game
Junior, Guard, 5.7 points per game
Junior, Forward, 11.5 points per game
Senior, Forward, 6.1 points per game
Senior, Forward, 7.8 points per game