For the past two (2) seasons, Alcorn State has finished just three (3) games behind the SWAC power house, Texas Southern. Could this be the year that Alcorn State finally catches up to Texas Southern? There may be a battle between these two (2) teams for the top of the SWAC.

With that said, here what the SWAC is projected to look like by the end of the 2017-2018 season:

1. Alcorn State Basketball

Coach: Montez Robinson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Marquis Vance, Denzel Dulin and DeAndré Davis,

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: A.J. Mosby (SG), Reginal Johnson Jr. (SF), Avery Patterson (PG), Tyler Carter (SF), Maurice Howard (PG), Devon Brewer (PF), Juwan Henderson (PG), and Yalen Reed (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Jabriel Allen (SG, Napa), Dante' Sterling (SG, Northwest Mississippi), and Harold Givens (SF, Pearl River)
Key Freshmen: Relando Rodgers (PF) and Troymain Crosby (SG)

Alcorn will return two (2) of their top three (3) scorers in Reginal Johnson Jr. and A.J. Mosby. Alcorn was the 2nd best defensive teams in the SWAC behind Jackson State last season. Their defense will only get better with the additions of JUCO transfers Jabriel Allen and Harold Givens. Allen was one of the best defenders in the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA). Givens had a total of 45 blocks in his final season at Pearl River. He was ranked 56th in the National Junior College Athletic Association last season.

2016-2017 Record: 18-14 Overall (13-5 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 14+

2. Texas Southern Basketball

Coach: Mike Davis

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Derrick Griffin
Graduated: Marvin Jones, Dulani Robinson, Tyree Bynum, and Stephan Hawkins
Transferred: Zach Lofton (New Mexico State) and Jamie Rutherford (Arkansas Tech)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Demontrae Jefferson (PG), Kevin Scott (SG), Lamont Walker (SF), Brian Carey (PG), and Josh Friar (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Jerry Perry (PG, Bossier Parish), Nick Smiley (SF, Northeastern), Marc Moon (SG, Neosho County), Trayvon Reed (C, Auburn), Divonte Lumpkin (PG, Redland), Kevin Granger. Jr. (SF, Red Shirt) and Cainan McClelland (PG, Red Shirt)

Texas Southern loses Derrick Griffin to the pros and Zach Lofton to New Mexico State. However, starters Demontrae Jefferson and Kevin Scott are set to return.

Texas Southern has ruled the SWAC since Mike Davis took over in 2012. Texas Southern has added two (2) pretty good JUCO transfers to the roster in Jerry Perry and Marc Moon. The both of them are very good defenders. Both were ranked amongst the top 100 in their last season of their junior college careers. Perry averaged 19.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.6 assists in his final season at Bossier Parish Community College. Moon averaged 12.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in his final season at Neosho County.

2016-2017 Record: 23-12 Overall (16-2 Conference) NCAA Tournament Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 14+

3. Baton Rouge Basketball

Coach: Roman Banks

Off Roster:
Graduated: Tre'lun Banks, Shawn Prudhomme, JaMarcus Weatherspoon

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: LaQuentin Collins (SG), Rashad Andrews (SF), Emanual Shepherd (PF), Chris Thomas (SG), Brendon Ganaway (PG), Jared Sam (PF), and Patrick Smith (PF),
Key Transfer(s): Eddie Reese (PG, Northwest Kansas Tech), Willie Jimerson (SG, State Fair), Jamar Sandifer (SG, KILGORE), and Shaquille Benson (C, East Central (MS)

Baton Rouge had troubles at the point guard position last season. Tre'lun Banks was the only player on the team to average more than one (1) assist per game. However, they added a couple of JUCO transfers to combat that problem in Eddie Reese and Willie Jimerson. Reese averaged 19.5 points, 3.2 rebounds , and 2 assists per game in his final season at Northwest Kansas Tech. Jimerson averagd 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in his final season at State Fair. The addition of the two (2) should be enough to keep Baton Rouge competitive in the SWAC

2016-2017 Record: 15-18 Overall (10-8 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 10+

4. Alabama State Basketball

Coach: Lewis Jackson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Torloft Thomas, Tony Armstrong, and Corvon Butler,

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Reginald Gee (SG), Rodney Simeon (SF), Demetrius Houston (SF), Amir Warnock (PF), Terrance LeFlore (PG), Steve Rogers (PG), Glenn Hollaway (PF) and Mikel Tyson (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Fausto Pichardo (PF, Niagara County) Tobi Ewuosho (SF, Lewis & Clark), Mehdy Ngouama (PG, Chipola), and Ed Jones (PF, South Georgia Technical College)
Key Freshmen: Jacoby Ross (PG) and Micah Johnson (PG)

Demetrius Houston should be ready to go this entire season. With Reginald Gee, Rodney Simeon, and Amir Warnock returning, Alabama State should do ok. Hopefully, we can get some scoring out of this team. Alabama State only put up, on average, 65.9 points per game. They allowed their opponents to put up, on average, 74.4 points per game.

2016-2017 Record: 8-23 Overall (6-12 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 8+

5. Jackson State Basketball

Coach: Wayne Brent

Off Roster:
Graduated: Yettra Specks, Janarius Middleton, Dontaveon Robinson, and Javeres Brent
Transferred: Edric Dennis and Montreal Nabors

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Paris Collins (SG), Maurice Rivers (SF), Derek Roscoe (PF), Jesse Love (PG), Sherron Wilson (SF), Anfernee Felton (PG), and Demetrice Clopton (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Julian Daughtry (SG, Southwest Tennessee) and Kenny Williams (PF, North Michigan)
Key Freshmen: Jayveous McKinnis (PF)

Jackson State’s best opportunity to win the SWAC came in 2016-2017 but injuries early in the season changed all of that. Jackson State will have three key players, Paris Collins, Maurice Rivers and Derek Roscoe returning for the 2017-2018 season. The three (3) of them were instrumental in making this team the best defensive team in the SWAC last season.

However, Jackson State’s problem was scoring and the question is have they done enough to address this problem?

2016-2017 Record: 14-18 Overall (Conference 10-8)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 8+

6. Prairie View A&M Basketball

Coach: Byron Smith

Off Roster:
Graduated: Ja'Donta Blakley, Tevin Bellinger, Avery Lomax, Jordan Giddings, Daquan Cook, and Admassu Williams
Transferred: L.J. Westbrook

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Zachary Hamilton (SF), Troy Thompson (SG), Shay'rone Jett (PF), Shaq Preston (SG), JD Wallace (PF), and Lavonne Davis (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Dennis Jones (PG, Pratt), Gary Blackston (PG, Angelina), Jamil Hood, Jr. (PG, Milwaukee Area Tech), and Devin Campbell (SG, Midland)

Prairie View A&M has added a very good JUCO transfer to the roster in Dennis Jones. In his final season at Pratt Community college, Jones averaged 14.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Jones’ defense and ball handling skills should help Prarie View improve in the defense and assist categories.

In addition, three (3) starters from the 2016-2017, Zachary Hamilton (SF), Troy Thompson (SG), and Shay'rone Jett (PF) should all be returning for the 2017-2018 season.

2016-2017 Record: 14-18 Overall (Conference 10-8)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 7-

7. Arkansas Pine Bluff Basketball

Coach: George Ivory

Off Roster:
Graduated: Ghiavonni Robinson, Devin Berry, Jaquan Lynch, Marquis Cunningham, and Deshon Bayless

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Trent Steen (SF), Joe'Randle Toliver (SG), Travon Harper (PF), Kennedy McKinney (SG), Charles Jackson (SF), Artavious McDyess (PF), Marcus Wallace (SG), and Khalid Campbell (PG), David Tillman (C)
Key Transfer(s): Christian Robertson (PG, Jones County)

Pine Bluff did ok defensively last season. They were the third best defensive team in the SWAC. However, they had one of the worst offenses in the nation. Pine Bluff averaged only 61.8 points per game in 2016-2017. It doesn’t seem that the team made any moves to combat the problem.

2016-2017 Record: 7-25 Overall (7-11 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018:

8. Grambling Basketball

Coach: Donte Jackson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Remond Brown, Chase Cormier, Ervin Mitchell and Carlton Lowe

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Averyl Ugba (PF), Nigel Ribeiro (PG), Marcel Thompson (SG), Drake Wilks (SF), Ivy Smith Jr. (PG), Diontae Jones (SF), Xairius Larry (PF), and Anthony Gaston (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Jason Perry-Murray (C , Genesee), Axel Mpoyo (PF, Northeastern), and Jason Perry-Murray (C , Genesee)

Grambling didn’t do as bad last season. They will return two (2) starters in Averyl Ugba and Nigel Ribeiro. Ugba was the third best scorer behind Ervin Mitchell and Remond Brown. He was also the team’s best rebounder with an average 9.7 rebounds per game.

Grambling’s defense should improve with the addition of JUCO transfer Jason Perry-Murray. While at Genesee community college, Perry-Murray was a very good shot blocker. In 2014, he had a total of 50 blocked shots.

2016-2017 Record: 16-17 Overall (Conference 10-8)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 5-

9. Mississippi Valley State Basketball

Coach: Andre Payne

Off Roster:
Graduated: Rashaan Surles, Ta'Jay Henry, Isaac Williams, Michael Matlock, Marcus Romain, and Amos Given,
Transferred: Ronald Strother Jr. (Trevecca Nazareene),

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Kylan Phillips (PG), Darrell Riley (SG), Jamal Watson (PF) and Lorenzo Hunt (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Tereke Eckwood (PG, Paris), Danté Scott (SG, Howard ), Emmanuel Ejeh (C, Bossier Parish), and Arinze Anakwenze (East L.A.)

Mississippi Valley State had, literally, one of the worst defenses in the nation. However, defense should improve slightly with the additions JUCO transfers, Tereke Eckwood (PG, Paris) and Emmanuel Ejeh. In the 30 games that he played at Bossier Parish Ejeh had a total of 23 blocked shots. Eckwood averaged nearly 1 steal a game per game in his final season at Paris Community college.

2016-2017 Record: 7-25 Overall (7-11 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 4+

10. Alabama A&M Basketball

Coach: Donnie Marsh

Off Roster:
Graduated: Rakiya Battle, Quinterian McConico, Adrian Edwards, Marcus Merriweather and Matthew Cotton

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: De'Ederick Petty (PG), Tracey Burnett (SF), Evan Wiley (PF), Eugene Jones Jr. (SG), Mohamed Sherif (C), Ariston Johnson (PG), and Reginald Miller (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Jalen Reeder (SG, Western Oklahoma State)

With the exception of a new coach on the team, there is not much going on with this team right now.

2016-2017 Record: 2-27 Overall (2-16 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 2+


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SWAC Basketball: 2017-2018 Very Early Predictions
Jack Williams, August 10, 2017, 1:30pm