2. Prairie View A&M Basketball

Coach: Byron Smith

Off Roster:
Graduated: Charleston Dobbs, Karim York, Avery Lomax, and Jacoby Green
Transferred: Malik Amos

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Tevin Bellinger (PG), Jayrn Johnson (SG), Admassu Williams, Zachary Hamilton (SF), Jordan Giddings (PG), and Ja'Donta Blakely (PG)
Key Transfer(s): J.D. Wallace (S. W. Christian, SF), Jade McLendon (S. Georgia Tech.), Dennis Jones (Pratt), and Shay'rone Jett (N.E. Oklahoma A&M)
Key Freshmen: LaJuan 'Lajuan' Hardy(VC)

Coach Byron Smith turned things around for Prairie View after the departure of Coach Byron Rimm II. Prairie View started off 1-6 in the SWAC prior to Coach Smith taking over. They went 6-6 after Coach Byron Smith took over the team. Byron Smith seems to have a better handle on the team. The problem with Prairie View was scoring and Depth. Smith has added a good number of JUCO transfers to the bench. With several core players returning Coach Smith and Prairie View should make a run for the top spot.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 7-24 (7-11) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 12+

3. Texas Southern Basketball

Coach: Mike Davis

Off Roster:
Graduated: Malcolm Riley, Chris Thomas, David Blanks, Jose Rodriguez, Orlando Coleman, Joshua Friar, and Dewayne Washington

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Derrick Griffin (PF) and Damontrae 'Trae' Jefferson (PG)
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Tyree Bynum (PG), Jerron Martin (PG), and Brian Carey
Key transfer(s): Tevon Saddler (UNCG, SF), Zach Lofton (Minnesota, SG) and Jamie Rutherford (DCCC, SF)

Texas Southern is always the team to beat in the SWAC. We’re still waiting to see Damontrae 'Trae' Jefferson play. Jefferson, returning senior Derrick Griffin, and the University of North Carolina Greenboro’s (UNCG) graduate, Tevon Saddler, can be something special. Saddler was UNCG’s top scorer in 2015-2016. He averaged 13.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4 assists per game in his last season there. Also joining the team will be Minnesota transfer guard, Zach Lofton. Lofton didn’t play a single game in Minnesota but in his one season at Illinois State he averaged 11.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. The concern about Lofton is his work ethic.

The concern with Texas Southern as a whole is their height. The average height on the team is just a little over 6 feet.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 18-15 (16-2) NIT first round exit
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 11-

4. Grambling State Basketball

Coach: Shawn Walker

Off Roster:
Graduated: Mark Gray
Transferred: Mike Bethea, Jr.

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Nigel Ribeiro (PG), Ervin Mitchell (SG), Deonte Hearns (SF), Remond Brown (SG), and Ugur Hortum (C)
Key Role Player(s): Chase Cormier (PG), Carlton Lowe (SG), Kyle Williams, and Jack Ocwieja (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Avery Ugba (Richard Bland, PF)
Key Freshmen: Ivy Smith, Jr.(PG) and Travious Fielding(SG)

Grambling was the 2nd best defending team in the SWAC, believe it or not. The team ranked 80th nationally, holding opponents to an average 68.1 points per game. Grambling’s core players are returning and the team’s defense will only get better with the addition of JUCO transfer Avery Ugba- Ubga ranked 38th nationally in blocked shots in his final season at Richard Bland College. He was also a great rebounder in junior college, averaging 10.5 (11th) rebounds per game in his final season. Grambling will be the 2nd biggest team in the SWAC and with many of its core players returning Grambling should continue to be strong defensively. Now all they would need to do is pick up a few points here and there.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 7-24 (4-14) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 10-

5. Southern Basketball

Coach: Roman Banks

Off Roster:
Graduated: Christopher Hyder, Adrian Rodgers and Thomas Pierre-Louis

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Trelun Banks (PG), Shawn Prudhomme (SF), Tony Nunn (C), Rashad Andrew (SF), D'Adrian Allen (PF), Chris Thomas (SG),and Jared Sam (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Josh Robinson (Trinity Valley JUCO, SF)
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Brendon Ganaway (PG), LaQuentin Collins (SG), De'Rias Johnson (SG) and others…
Key Freshmen: Sandro Noel (SF) and Isaiah Fontaine (PF)

Southern won the SWAC in 2016 – not surprising! However, they lost Christopher Hyder and Adrian Rodgers to graduation this year. Other than that, they still have a good number of core players returning to make a run.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 22-13 (11-7) NCAA Tournament 1st Round exit
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 9-

6. Mississippi Valley State Basketball

Coach: Andre Payne

Off Roster:
Graduated: Latrell Love
Transferred: Damian Young and Dwain Whitfield

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Marcus Romain (SG), Isaac Williams (SF), Kylan Phillips (PG), Ta'Jay Henry (PF), Vacha Vaughn (SG), Rashaan Surles (SG), Michael Matlock (SF), and Ronald Strother Jr. (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Arinze Anakwenze (East L.A., PF) and Marquise Williams (Columbia State, PF)
Key Freshmen: James Pierce(PG), Thomas Oglesby(PG), and Vintavious Coppage(SF)

Mississippi Valley State will be getting the majority of their core players back. On top of that they will be adding some quality recruits to the team, in particular Columbia State JUCO transfer, Marquise Williams. Mississippi State will definitely improve in the rebounding department with Williams on the team. Williams ranked 3rd overall in rebounds on the national Junior college level last season. He averaged 13.5 points and a whopping 13.5 rebounds per game last season at Columbia State.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 8-27 (6-12) No appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 9-

7. Alabama State Basketball

Coach: Lewis Jackson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Bobby Brown, Robert Ojeah, Chidozie Omile, and Jamel Waters

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Tony Armstrong (SF), Corvon Butler (SF), Torloft Thomas (PG), Steve Rogers (PG), and Terrance LeFlore (PG)
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Glenn Hollaway (PF) and Nicholas Barnes (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Rodney Simeon (Lawson State, SF), Artis Cleveland (Lawson State ), Lavontae Waldon (Southwest Tennessee, SF), Martavius Robinson (Lewis & Clark, PF), and Amir Warnock(South Georgia, PF)
Key Freshmen: Austin Rogers (SG) and Reginald 'Reggie' Gee II (SG)

Tony Armstrong missed the first eight (8) games of the season but ended up the second best scorer. Alabama State still has a problem at the point guard position. With Jamel Waters gone who’s going to distribute the ball?

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 11-18 (6-12)
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 7-

8. Alcorn State Basketball

Coach: Montez Robinson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Devonte Hampton, Tamarcio Wilson, Patrick Onwenu, Octavius Brown and Tyrel Hunt

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Devonte Hampton (PG), DeAndre Davis (PF), Reginald Johnson (SF) and Marquis Vance (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Avery Patterson (Columbia State, PG) and Anthony 'AJ' Mosby (Chattahoochee Technical, SG)
Key Freshmen: Tyler Carter (SF), Yalen Reed (PF), and Devon Brewer (PF), Kobe Wilson(PF), and Maurice Howard (PG)

This is a pretty good team in the SWAC. The addition of Anthony 'AJ’ Mosby should help improve the team’s scoring a lot. Mosby can flat out score. Alcorn ranked only 296th in the league in scoring last season. In addition, depth in the back court should remain a problem with Alcorn.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 15-15 (13-5) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 6-

9. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Basketball

Coach: George Ivory

Off Roster:
Graduated: Thaddeus Handley Jr., Larry Johnson, JoVaughn Love, Chauncy Parker, and Trent Whiting

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Ghiavonni Robinson (SG), Marcus Wallace (SG),Marquis Cunningham, Jaquan Lynch (PG), Devin Berry (SF), Charles Jackson (SF), and Deshon Bayless (PF)
Key Transfer(s): ) Joe'Randle Toliver (AR State Mid-South, SG), Trent Steen(AR State Mid-South Mid, SF), and Kennedy McKinney (S.W.Tennessee, SG)
Key Freshmen: Artavious McDyess (PF)

Pine Bluff is picking up a pretty good player in, AR State Mid-South JUCO transfer, Joe'Randle Toliver. Toliver is a point guard who can score, distribute the ball, and play defense. Toliver averaged 10.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game in his final season at AR State Mid-South. He ranked 62nd nationally in assists and 97th nationally in steals. Joining Toliver from the same school will be Trent Steen. Steen is also a pretty good all around player. He averaged 12 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while at AR State Mid-South. He ranked 64th nationally is rebounds per game and 42nd in blocked shots. Arkansas Pine Bluff should become a much better defensive team this coming season. The problem with Arkansas is that they will lack depth at the point guard position.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 8-25 (6-12) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 6-

10. Alabama A&M Basketball

Coach: Willie Hayes

Off Roster:
Graduated: Ladarius Tabb, Nicholas West, Jacob Perry, Tyler Davis and Baryn Houston

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Rakiya Battle (PG), Christopher Thomas (SF), Quinterian McConico (PF), Adrian Edwards (SG), Rashawn Green (SG), and Mohamed Sherif (C)
Key Transfer(s): Jesse Johnson(Walter State, SF) and Christian Robertson (Jones County, SG)
Key Freshmen: De'Edrick 'Dooley' Petty (PG)

Alabama A&M loses both of their top scores in Ladarius Tabb and Nicholas West. Alabama’s recruiting class was mediocre at best. Alabama A&M may be fighting for a spot at the bottom of the SWAC.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 11-18 (6-12) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 3-

Jack Williams, D1caochcorner.com
6-14-2016

 

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Jack Williams, D1CoachCorner.com 5:00am June 14, 2016

SWAC Basketball 2016-2017 Very Early Projections

The SWAC improves significantly overall. Texas Southern will always be the team to beat. However, they’ve gotten a lot smaller this year. That could be a problem for Texas Southern down the stretch with the average team in the SWAC getting much bigger in size. Jackson State and Grambling State should remain the best two (2) defensive teams in the SWAC. Prairie View’s Coach Byron Smith will get his first full season in 2016-2017. With its additions, expect Prairie View to compete for the top spot.

1. Jackson State Basketball

Coach: Wayne Brent

Off Roster:
Graduated: Kaven Bernard and Raeford Worsham
Transferred: Troy Stancil

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Paris Collins (SG), Chace Franklin (SG), Yettra Specks (PG), Treshawn Bolden (PF) and Janarius Middleton (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Deshawn Munson (Iowa Western, PG), Charles Taylor (UMBC, SG), and Edric Dennis (Hill, SF)
Key Freshmen: Jeremiah Bozeman (PG) and Demetrice Clopton (PF)

Jackson State has several core players returning. Their team has several seniors who have played together and who will be looking to go out with a bang. Jackson State was the best defensive team in SWAC last season and one of the best in the country- the team ranked 34th in defense overall, holding their opponents to an average 65.4 points per game. However, they had problems capitalizing on it because their offense was so bad. Jackson State had problems moving the ball and scoring. There was not one player on the team who averaged three (3) or more assists per game. Hopefully, we’ll see point guard Deshawn Munson on the floor this season and that all will change.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 20-16 (12-6) CIT - 2nd round
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 14+

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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