Jack Williams, D1CoachCorner.com September 13, 2016, 4:00pm

Stephen F. Austin has dominated the Southland for the past six (6) years or so. That may not be the case this year. The team has a new coach and is in rebuilding mode. Sam Houston State continues their steady progress in the Southland. Lamar looks very good on paper but does the team have what it takes to push to the top of the Southland? Here is our projection of what the Southland may look like in 2016-2017:

1. Sam Houston State Basketball

Coach: Jason Hooten

Off Roster:
Graduated: Dakarai Henderson, Mitch McCormick, and Paul Baxter
Transfer(s): Jalin Barnes (USC Aiken), Andre Sands (Newman), Marc Fortin, and Ameer Jackson (Winston-Salem State)

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Aurimas Majauskas (PF), Jovante' Spivey (PG), Jamal Williams (SG), Torry Butler (SG), Josh Delaney (PG), and Jesse Lopez (SF)

Sam Houston State will return the majority of its core starters, which includes its top scorer Aurimas Majauskas. The team will have only one (1) freshman on the roster this coming season. The other new comers will be division 1 and JUCO transfers. The problem with Sam Houston is that they’re going to be a very small team.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 18-16 (12-6) CIT 1st round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 15+

2. Lamar Basketball

Coach: Tic Price

Off Roster:
Graduated: LeMon Gregory, Quan Jones, and Dontavious Sears
Transferred: Kevin Booze (Angelo State)

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Dorian Chatman (PF), Marcus Owens (SG), Lincoln Davis (SG) Lincoln Davis (SG), Josh Nzeakor (PF), and Preston Mattingly (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Torrey Noel (Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa, PG), Christian Albright (Lamar State-Port Arthur, SG), Colton Weisbrod (Lamar State-Port Arthur, PF), and Joseph Frenchwood IV (Hill College, PG)
Key Freshmen: Cameron McGee (PG) and Tyrin Atwood (SG)

On paper, Lamar will improve dramatically on both ends of the floor, defensively and offensively. This team scores and rebounds well. They were the 4th best scoring team and the best rebounding team in the Southland last season. Their only problem was defense. Lamar put up, on average, 75.4 points per game last season but allowed their opponents to score on average 77.0 points per game. It looks as if Lamar is seeking to solve their defensive problems with their new additions. JUCO transfer Joseph Frenchwood IV is an excellent defender and ball facilitator. JUCO transfer, Christian Albright is a pretty good rim protector, but is foul prone. JUCO transfer Colton Weisbrod can flat out score. With that said, Lamar should be good enough to compete for the top spot in the Southland. We’ll see though.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 11-19 (3-15) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 15+

3. New Orleans Basketball

Coach: Mark Slessinger

Off Roster:
Graduated: Kevin Hill and Travis Avery

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Christavious Gill (PG), Nate Frye (PG), Erik Thomas (SF), Travin Thibodeaux (PF), Michael Zeno (SF), Cameron Reed (SG), Coleman Edwards (SG), Tevin Broyles (SG), and Danny Cohen (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Makur Puou (Vincennes, PF) and Jorge Rosa (Indian Hills, SG)
Key Freshmen: Bryson Robinson (SG) and A.J. Cheeseman (PF)

New Orleans will return several key players from the 2015-2016 season, including their top three (3) scorers, Christavious Gill, Nate Frye, and Erik Thomas. Hopefully, new comer Makur Puou will help the team with their defensive problems. Puou is a rim protector. He was ranked 17th in the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) in blocked shots and 87th in rebounds. Let’s see if New Orleans finally gets a winning season in the Southland under Coach Mark Slessinger.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 10-20 (6-12) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 13+

4. Southeastern Louisiana Basketball

Coach: Jay Ladner

Off Roster:
Graduated: Daniel Grieves, JaMichael Hawkins, Zay Jackson, and Byron Smith

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Keith Charleston (SG), Jordan Capps (SF), Joshua Filmore (PG), Marlain Veal (PG), and Dominic Nelson (C), James Currington (SF), and Moses Greenwood (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Jabbar Singleton (Oral Roberts, SG), Nick Vazquez (Lincoln Trail, PG), Eddy Polanco (Central Florida, SG), and Davon Hayes (Northeast Mississippi, SF)
Key Freshmen: Michael Corchiani (PG), Chris Mejia (SG), and Brandon Gonzalez (SG)

Southeastern Louisiana will have a good mixture of returning and new players. S.E. Louisiana only had two (2) players who averaged double digits in scoring. The team will need to do more in the scoring department in order to compete for the top spot. The answer may be in JUCO transfer Eddy Polanco from Central Florida College. Polanco is a scorer who averaged 15.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his final season at Central Florida.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 12-21 (9-9) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 12-

5. Houston Baptist Basketball

Coach: Ron Cottrell

Off Roster:
Graduated: Caleb Crayton, Anthony Odunsi, and Jourdan Stickler
Transferred: Trey Patterson, Isaiah Robinson

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Colter Lasher (SF), Josh Ibarra (C), Reveal Chukwujekwu (SG), Cody Stetler (C), Alex Fountain (SF), Asa Cantwell (SG), Stephen O'Suji (PG), and William Gates Jr. (SG)
Key Freshmen: Jalen Weber (PG) and Jalon Gates (SG)

Houston Baptist is returning several key players from their successful 2015-2016 season. The team should get much better offensively and defensively with the addition of JUCO transfer Braxton Bonds. In his last season at Columbia College he averaged 14.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Houston Baptist will also have Pepperdine’s graduate transfer Atif Russell to add depth to the team.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 17-17 (10-8) CBI Tournament 1st round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 10+

6. McNeese State Basketball

Coach: Dave Simmons

Off Roster:
Graduated: Shaun Johnson, Austin Lewis, and Craig McFerrin, and Matthew Moss

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Jamaya Burr (PG), Jarren Greenwood (PG), James Harvey (SG), Tevin Jackson (SF), Lance Potier (SG), Stephen Ugochukwu (SF), Adrian Brown (SF), and Richard Laku (PF)
Key Freshmen: Kelvin Henry, Jr. (PG), Jacob Ledoux (SG), Kalob Ledoux (SG), and Jacob Bonnington (PF)

McNeese State is returning several key players from the 2015-2016 season. However, this team was one of the worst defensive teams in college basketball last season. McNeese State put up, on average, 71.8 points per game last season but allowed their opponents to score, on average, 79.3 point per game. This will have to change in order for McNeese State to compete for the top spot.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 9-20 (7-11) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 9+

7. Nicholls State Basketball

Coach: Richie Riley

Off Roster:
Graduated: T.J. Carpenter and Schane Rillieux, Adam Ward, Kyle Caudill

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Ja'Dante' Frye (SG), Liam Thomas (C), Johnathan Bell (SG), Tre O'Neal (PG), and Luka Kamber (PF)
Key transfer(s): Jahvaughn Powell (Tallahassee, PG), Kamall Richards (Harcum, SF), Zaquavian Smith (South Georgia State, PG), DeAndre Harris (Tyler, SG), and Stevie Repichowski (Tulsa, SG)

New Coach Richie Riley’s first recruiting class at Nicholls State will be without freshmen. There won’t be one (1) freshman recruit on this team for the 2016-2017 season. Instead Nicholls State has added several experience JUCO and Division 1 transfers to give the team an instant boost. However, Nicholls State may be weak in the same category as they were last season- at the point guard position.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 11-23 (6-12) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 9-

8. Northwestern State Basketball

Coach: Mike McConathy

Off Roster:
Graduated: Matt Killian and Ta'Jon Welcome
Transferred: Levi Yancy

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Zeek Woodley (SG), Sabri Thompson (SG), Devonte Hall (SG), Ishmael Lane (PF), Malik Metoyer (SG), Reggie Kissoonlal (PF), Bailey Walker (PG), and Tra'von Joseph (SG)
Key Freshmen: Josh Boyd (PG), Tyree Thompson (SG), Tanner Hamilton (SF), Jordan Bell (PF), and Colby Koontz (PF)

Northwestern will face a lot of issues going into 2016-2017. First, they will be without their star point guard, Jalen West. The second problem is size. The average player on the roster is 6’3”. Northwestern State will be one of the smallest teams in the Southland. This may be another long season for Northwestern State if Jalen West doesn’t play this 2016-2017 season.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 8-20 (5-13) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 8-

9. Abilene Christian Basketball

Coach: Joe Golding

Off Roster:
Graduated: Austin Cooke, Jalen Little, Duran Porter, and Parker Wentz

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Jaylen Franklin (PG), Jaren Lewis (SG), Jovan Crnic (SG), Hayden Howell (PF), Hayden Farquhar (SF), Drake Green (SG), and Isaiah Tripp (PG)
Key Transfer: Diamante Langston (South Plains, PG)
Key Freshmen: B.J. Maxwell (RS), Jalone Friday(RS) and Lonell 'Trey' Lenox

Abilene Christian will get back its star point guard in Jaylen Franklin. The Southland’s freshman of the year averaged 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game last season. However, Franklin was the only player on his team to average in double digit figures. Franklin will need a lot of help if Abilene Christian wishes to move up to the top of the Southland.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 13-18 (8-10) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 7+

10. Incarnate Word Basketball

Coach: Ken Burmeister

Off Roster:
Graduated: Mitchell Badillo and Kyle Hittle
Transferred: Derail Green (North Texas) and Jontrell Walker

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Shawn Johnson (SG), Sam Burmeister (SG), Simi Socks (SF), Tyler Singleton (PG), Phillip Johnson (SG), Jerred Kite (SG), and Jorden Kite (SG)
Key Freshmen: Rade Kukobat( PF), Christian Peevy (SG) and Marek Hulva (PF)

Four (4) out of five (5) of Incarnate word’s starters will be missing from the roster this coming season, due to either graduation or transfer. However, the team has added some quality recruits to fill the void. JUCO transfer Jalin Hart of New Mexico College is a very good ball facilitator. He averaged 11.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5 assists per game in his last season at New Mexico. He was ranked 46th in both assists and steals that season. His Junior college teammate, Devin Wyatt will be joining him on the Incardinate word roster. Wyatt was a good rim protector for New Mexico. He was ranked 4th in block shot his final season at New Mexico.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 17-12 (12-6) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 6-

11. Central Arkansas Basketball

Coach: Russ Pennell

Off Roster:
Graduated: Jordan Howard, Mike Martin, and Zuilhof, Jake
Transferred: Boo Milligan

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Jordan Howard (PG), Derreck Brooks (SG), Mathieu Kamba (SG), Ethan Lee (PF), Tanner Schmit (PF), Jeff Lowery (PG), Albert Christensson (PF), and Otas Iyekekpolor (PF)
Key Freshmen: Darraja Parnell (SF), Brandon Vanover (C), Jared Chatham, and Aaron Weidenaar

Central Arkansas is returning several key players from the 2015-2016 season, which includes their top two (2) scorers, Jordan Howard and Derreck Brooks. With that said, Central Arkansas is going to have to improve tremendously on defense in order to improve their record from last season. Central Arkansas put up on average 75.4 point per game but allowed their opponents to put on average 83.4 points per game. That’s bad!

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 7-21 (6-12) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 6-

12. Stephen F. Austin Basketball

Coach: Kyle Keller

Off Roster:
Graduated: Demetrious Floyd, Clide Geffrard, Jared Johnson, Trey Pinkney, and Thomas Walkup

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Ty Charles (SG), T.J. Holyfield (SF), Dallas Cameron (PG), Jovan Grujic (C), C.J. Williams (SF), and Nathan Bain (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Josh Huntley (San Jacinto, PF), Isaiah Traylor (East Central, SG), Daeshon Francis (Midland, SG), and Leon Gilmore III (Trinity Valley, SF)
Key Freshmen: Aaron Augustin (PG), Kevon Harris (SF), and Samuli Nieminen (PF)

Stephen F. Austin (SFA) has a new head coach Kyle Keller. Their top three (3) scorers have graduated. Coach Keller is practically rebuilding. However, he still has a few good pieces to work with. Starters Ty Charles and T.J. Holyfield are returning. SFA may have to give up the top spot for the first time since 2010.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 28-6 (18-0) NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 5+

13. Texas A&M-CC Basketball

Coach: Willis Wilson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Hameed Ali, Jelani Currie, Bryce Douvier, Dale Francis, Viktor Juricek, T.J. Traylor, and Brandon Pye

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Rashawn Thomas (PF), Ehab Amin (PG), Joe Kilgore (PG), and Jake Kocher (SG)
Key Freshmen: Kyle Brown (PG), Jamell Bradley (SF), Alex Holcombe (PF), Jamell Bradley (SF), Perry Francois (PF), and York Benjamin (PF), Elijah Schmidt (SF)

Texas A&M CC will have their star player, Rashawn Thomas, on the roster for 2016-2017. However, he’ll be surrounded by a bunch of young players. Texas A&M CC is bringing in seven (7) freshman this coming season. The inexperience may set this team back a little.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 25-8 (15-3) CIT First Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 5+

Jack Williams, D1coachcorner.com


*This projection is the sole view of d1coachcorner.com and should be seen as for entertainment purposes only. As for stats, all stats were taken from NCAA statistics via ncaa.com and the from the National Junior College Athletic Association statistic via NJCAA.com.


Southland Conference Basketball 2016-2017 Very Early Projections
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