Houston has experience, quick guards, and several players who are good in more than one category. Most of their players can either score and rebound well or score and handle the ball well. Houston will have four (4) point guards on the roster who have the potential to average over three (3) assists per game. This team may be small but they know how to rebound.

Coach Penny Hardaway and Memphis clearly has one of the best rosters in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), but nobody knows what type of coach he’s going to be.

UCF is loaded! But will they stay healthy and is there someone on this team who can score? UCF was one of the worst scoring teams in the nation last season.

Watch out for SMU! This is one of those sneaky teams that could possibly take the top spot in the conference standings if they catch you slipping. SMU may make up for their scoring woes with their new additions. Expect this team to improve in all categories.

Tulsa should have several very good transfers on their roster this coming season. This is another team that could possibly be a threat for the top of the American Standings

Connecticut will start the 2018-2019 season with a new coach in Dan Hurley. Everyone will be looking to see if he could lead this team back to the glory days.

Cincinnati and Wichita State won’t have the same type of the team it had last season. But both of these teams have very good coaches who know how to make a dollar out of fifteen cent, so don’t count them out.

As for the rest of the American Conference, we may see the same as usual.

With that said, here is what we predict the 2018-2019 American Conference would like once the season ends:

1. Houston Basketball

Coach: Kelvin Sampson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Rob Gray, Devin Davis, Wes VanBeck, and Nura Zanna
Transferred: Gabe Grant

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Corey Davis Jr. (PG), Galen Robinson Jr. (PG), Breaon Brady (PF), Armoni Brooks (SG), Fabian White Jr. (PF), Chris Harris Jr. (C ), and Cedrick Alley, Jr. (PF)
Key Transfer(s) added: Dejon Jarreau (PG, UMASS) and Brison Gresham (PF, UMASS)
Key Freshmen added: Nate Hinton (PG) and Antoine Davis (PG)

Even though Houston lost Rob Gray and Devin Davis to graduation, this team has a lot of quality players returning from their successful 2017-2018 season.

Corey Davis Jr., the team’s 2nd best point producer; point guard Galen Robinson Jr., who started in 32 games and who was 2nd on the team in assists per game; Forward Breaon Brady, who was 2nd on the team in total rebounds per game, are all returning.

Don’t forget that this team was the 18th best defensive team in the nation and the 2nd best scoring team in the AAC.

To make things better, Houston will also have two (2) quality UMass transfers on the roster come 2018-2019 in Dejon Jarreau and Brison Gresham. Jarreau was the 4th best scorer, 2nd best rebounder, and top assist man, on the 2016-2017 Umass team. He averaged 9.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game in his final season at UMass. Gresham averaged 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in his final season at UMass.

In addition, Houston has added a top 150 freshman recruit, Nate Hinton, to the roster for the 2018-2019 season.

This team is guard heavy so expect them to run this coming season.

2017-2018 Record: 27-8 (14-4) NCAA 2nd Round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 15+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit or greater

2. Memphis Basketball

Coach: Penny Hardaway

Off Roster:
Graduated: Jimario Rivers
Transferred: Jamal Johnson and David Nickelberry

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jeremiah Martin (PG), Kyvon Davenport (PF), Mike Parks Jr. (PF), Raynere Thornton (SF) , Kareem Brewton Jr. (SG), Victor Enoh (PF), David Wingett (SF), and Karim Sameh Azab (C, RS)
Key Transfer(s) added: Isaiah Maurice (C , South Plains)
Key Freshmen added: Tyler Harris (PG), Antwann Jones (SG), Alex Lomax (PG), and David Wingett (SF)

Memphis should get back three (3) starters from the 2017-2018 season in Jeremiah Martin, Kyvon Davenport, and Mike Parks Jr. Both Davenport and Martin were the only two (2) players on the team to average double digits in scoring. For this reason, Memphis had problems putting points on the boards. This team was ranked 252nd nationally in scoring last season.

Coach Hardaway is looking to solve this problem by adding a few nationally ranked guards to the roster in Antwann Jones, Tyler Harris, and Alex Lomax. Jones is a pretty fast shooting guard who is very athletic and who has a very smooth shooting stroke. Lomax is also a pretty fast combo guard who can score and handle the ball. Harris is a 5’ 10” point guard who plays big. He also has hops so don’t underestimate his size.

Memphis isn’t going to be a very big team but look for this team to run.

2017-2018 Record: 21-13 (10-8) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 14+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit or greater

3. UCF Basketball

Coach: Johnny Dawkins

Off Roster:
Graduated: Nathan Laing, Djordjije Mumin, and A.J. Davis

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: B.J. Taylor (PG), Tacko Fall (C), Terrell Allen (PG), Ceasar DeJesus (SG), Chad Brown (PF), Dayon GriffiN (PG), Rokas Ulvydas (PF), Chance McSpadden (SG), Myles Douglas (SF), and Aubrey Dawkins (SG)
Key Transfer(s) added: Aubrey Dawkins (SG, Michigan) and Kani Coles (SF, Pensacola State)
Key Freshmen added: Andreas Fuller (SG)

UCF was en route to a great season in 2017-2018. That was until the injury demons attacked the team. The 7 foot 6 Tacko Fall injured his shoulder during the summer of 2017. The injury began to affect him greatly during the Cincinnati game at home on January 16, 2018. Chance McSpadden played in only 18 games last season due to an ACL injury. B.J. Taylor sat out sixteen games at the beginning of the season due to a foot injury. And Aubrey Dawkins, the son of coach Jonny Dawkins sat out the entire season due an earlier shoulder injury.

If the four (4) of these players are 100% in 2018-2019, watch out for UCF! As long as Tacko Fall is in the middle, UCF should remain a very good defensive team. UCF had the 3rd best defense in the nation last season. In comparison, they had the worst offense in AAC and one of the worst in the nation. This team is going to need Dawkins, McSpadden and Dayon Griffin to put up some points in order for them to compete for the top spot in the AAC.


2017-2018 Record:
19-13 (9-9) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 12+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 1st round exit or greater

4. SMU Basketball

Coach: Tim Jankovich

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Shake Milton
Graduated: Akoy Agau and Ben Emelogu II

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jahmal McMurray (SG), Jarrey Foster (SF), Jimmy Whitt (SG), Ethan Chargois (PF), Elijah Landrum (PG), William Douglas (SG), Everett Ray (SG), and James Pyle (SG)
Key Transfer(s) added: Nat Dixon (SG, Chattanooga) and Isiaha Mike (PF, Duquesne)
Key Freshmen added: Feron Hunt and Jahmar Young

Judging from the 2018-2018 AAC Conference standings it is hard to imagine that the 12th best defensive team in the nation placed only 9th in the conference. The good thing about this team is that the majority of their players from 2017-2018 are returning, which includes their top two (2) scorers Jahmal McMurray (SG) and Jarrey Foster (SF).

Even though SMU’s defense was good, their offense was totally opposite. SMU was ranked 270th nationally in offense last season. However, SMU will get a lot of help in the scoring category from two (2) very good transfers, Nat Dixon and Isiaha Mike. Dixon averaged 13.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in his final season at Chattanooga. Mike averaged 11.3 points, 58 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game in his final season at Duquesne. Both of these players double digit scoring ability should make SMU a pretty evened out team.

2017-2018 Record: 17-16 (6-12) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 11+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or greater

5. Tulsa Basketball

Coach: Frank Haith

Off Roster:
Graduated: Junior Etou, Corey Henderson Jr., and Jaleel Wheeler
Transferred: Geno Artison

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Sterling Taplin (PG), Lawson Korita (SG), Martins Igbanu (PF), DaQuan Jeffries (SF), Elijah Joiner (PG), Curran Scott (SG), Alex Foree (SF) and Darien Jackson (SG)
Key Transfer(s) added: Simon Falokun (PF, Dawson), Jeriah Horne (PF, Nebraska), Peter Hewitt (PF, Las Positas), Zeke Moore (SG, Saint Louis), Chris Barnes (SG, Angelina)

Tulsa is heavily depending on transfers to make a run this season. Along with several transfers will be three (3) starters returning in Sterling Taplin, Lawson Korita, and Martins Igbanu. With these three (3) returning Tulsa should continue to be a pretty good scoring team.

Al l we need now is for this team to pick it up on defense.

2017-2018 Record: 19-12 (12-6) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 11+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or greater

6. Connecticut Basketball

Coach: Dan Hurley

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Terry Larrier
Graduated: Antwoine Anderson, David Onuorah, Christian Foxen, and Mike Noyes

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jalen Adams (SG), Christian Vital (SF), Josh Carlton (C ), Isaiah Whaley (PF), Tyler Polley (PF) , Mamadou Diarra (PF), Alterique Gilbert (PG), and Kwintin Williams (SF)
Key Transfer(s) added: Tarin Smith (PG, Duquesne), Kassoum Yakwe (PF, st. John's), and Sidney 'Sid' Wilson, Jr. (SF, St. John's)
Key Freshmen added: Brendan Adams (PG)

Connecticut will start the season with a new head coach in Dan Hurley. Coach Hurley is going to have to do a lot of fixing to get this team where it needs to be. Connecticut was absolutely terrible in offense and pretty bad in all other categories last season. If Coach Hurley could turn this team around he definitely will be a candidate for the American Athletics Conference (AAC) coach of the year award.

Coach Hurley will have two (2) out of three (3) of its top scorers from last season, Jalen Adams and Christian Vital, returning. The two (2) should get plenty of help in the scoring category from Duquesne’s graduate transfer, Tarin Smith. And if point guard Alterique Gilbert is healthy, Connecticut could possibly be tournament bound.

2017-2018 Record: 14-18 (7-11) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 10+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or greater

7. Cincinnati Basketball

Coach: Mick Cronin

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Jacob Evans
Graduated: Gary Clark and Kyle Washington

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jarron Cumberland (SG), Justin Jenifer (PG), Tre Scott (PF), Nysier Brooks (C), Trevor Moore (SG), Cane Broome (PG), Keith Williams (SG), Eliel Nsoseme (C), and Mamoudou Diarra (PF)
Key Transfer(s) added: Rashawn Fredericks (SG, Motlow State)
Key Freshmen added: Logan Johnson (PG) and LaQuill Hardnett (PF)

Cincinnati was one of the soundest defensive teams in the nation in 2017-2018. The team was ranked 2nd nationally in points allowed by the opponent, holding each opponent to an average 57.5 points per game. However, Cincinnati had some problems on the offensive end, which resulted in a 2nd round exit in the NCAA tournament.

Cincinnati will be missing three (3) important pieces to their roster next season in Jacob Evans, Gary Clark, and Kyle Washington. However, there are several players on the roster who have the ability to step up and fill in the gaps such as Tre Scott, Nysier Brooks, Trevor Moore, Cane Broome, Keith Williams, and Mamoudou Diarra. Most of these players had low averages due to limited minutes last season.

Cincinnati should do well as usual next season.

2017-2018 Record: 31-5 (16-2) NCAA 2nd round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 9+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

8. Wichita State Basketball

Coach: Gregg Marshall

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Landry Shamet
Graduated: Zach Brown, Conner Frankamp, Rashard Kelly, Shaquille Morris, Rauno Nurger, and Darral Willis Jr.
Transferred: Austin Reaves

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Markis McDuffie (SF), Samajae Haynes-Jones (PG), Asbjorn Midtgaard (PG), and Rodgerick Brown (SG)
Key Transfer(s) added: Ricky Torres (PG, Missouri State-West Plains) and Jaime Echenique (C, Trinity Valley)
Key Freshmen added: Jamarius Burton (PG), Erik Stevenson (SG), Isaiah Poor Bear Chandler (PF), Morris Udeze (C), Dexter Dennis (SF), and Chance Moore (SG)

Over 60% of Wichita States’ players are going to be new comers in 2018-2019. This team seems to be in rebuild mode. The entire starting five (5) from the 2017-2018 team are gone. Coach Gregg Marshall is a great coach and seems to find a way to win though. But it may be an uphill battle.

2017-2018 Record: 25-8 (14-4) NCAA 1st Round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 7-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

9. Temple Basketball

Coach: Aaron McKie

Off Roster:
Graduated: Josh Brown, Obi Enechionyia and Steve Leonard

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Shizz Alston Jr. (SG), Quinton Rose (SG), Ernest Aflakpui (C ), Alani Moore II (PG), J.P. Moorman II (SF), De'Vondre Perry (SF), Nate Pierre-Louis (PG), Damion Moore ( C), Trey Lowe (SF) and Justyn Hamilton (PF)
Key Transfer(s) added: Quentin Jackson (PG, Tallahassee)
Key Freshmen added: Arashma Parks (C)

No major changes to this Temple team, with the exception that there will be a new head coach in charge. Temple will probably have a healthy Trey Lowe on the roster for the 2018-2019 season. Other than that, Temple is going to have to look for someone to add more points to the boards. Who’s going to do that?

Rebounding may also remain a problem for this team next season.

2017-2018 Record: 17-16 (8-10) NIT 1st round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 6-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

10. Tulane Basketball

Coach: Mike Dunleavy Sr.

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Melvin Frazier
Transferred: Colin Slater
Graduated: Cameron Reynolds

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Samir Sehic (PF), Ray Ona Embo (SG), Jordan Cornish (SG), Blake Paul (PF), Caleb Daniels (PG), Bul Ajang (C ), Shakwon Barrett (PG), and Buay Koka (C )
Key Freshmen added: Connor Crabtree(SG), Moses Wood (SF) and Kevin Zhang (PF)

Tulane is a team that has some very good guards on the roster. Guards Ray Ona Embo and Jordan Cornish both started in over 28 games and averaged over 3 assists per game. Tulane ranked 3rd in the American Conference in assists per game last season. Unfortunately, Tulane ended the 2017-2018 season with a negative scoring margin due to the fact that they allowed their opponents to put up more points per game than they did.

In order to move up in the American Conference standings next season Tulane needs to find a way to improve on the defensive end of the floor.

2017-2018 Record: 14-17 (5-13) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 6-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

11. East Carolina Basketball

Coach: Joe Dooley

Off Roster:
Graduated: Jabari Craig, Aaron Jackson, and B.J. Tyson

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Isaac Fleming (PG), Shawn Williams (PG), Dimitri Spasojevic (PF), Usman Haruna (C ), K.J. Davis (SG), and Justin Whatley (PF)
Transfer(s): Seth LeDay (SF, Northwest Mississippi)
Key Freshmen added: Rico Quinton (C ) and Tae Hardy (PG)

East Carolina will start the 2018-2019 season off with a new coach in Joe Dooley. Coach Dooley will have several players from the previous season to start the season. Unfortunately, this team was either the worst or near the worst in every statistical category in college basketball. Let’s hope things get better from here.

2017-2018 Record: 10-22 (3-15) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 5-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

12. South Florida Basketball

Coach: Brian Gregory

Off Roster:
Graduated: Payton Banks, Stephan Jiggetts, Isaiah Manderson, Stephan Jiggetts, and Terrence Samuel
Transferred: Tulio Da Silva, Malik Martin (Tennessee Tech)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: David Collins (SG), Nikola Scekic ( C), Alexis Yetna (PF), Justin Brown (SF), and Joey Coffaro (PG)
Transfer(s): Laquincy Rideau (PG, Gardner-Webb ), Antun Maričević (C, Casper), and TJ Lang (SG, Auburn)
Key Freshmen added: Rashun 'Rashaun' Williams (SG), Michael Durr (C ), and Xavier Castañeda (PG)

South Florida loses several key players to either graduation or transfer. However, South Florida will bring in several good additions to help the team stay competitive in American.

With several teams in the American getting better, getting to the top may be an uphill battle.

2017-2018 Record: 10-22 (3-15) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 4+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

 

Jack Williams, D1CoachCorner.com May 22, 2018, 3:00am
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AAC 2018-2019 Very Early College Basketball Predictions

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel