#132 Cleveland St: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #132
Conference Rank: #4 Horizon League
2009-10: 16-17, 10-8
2009-10 postseason: none
Coach: Gary Waters (69-57 at Cleveland State, 228-179 overall)
Few teams in the nation, nonetheless the Horizon League, have as many experienced weapons on the perimeter than Cleveland State. The good news is the backcourt returns intact after finishing with nearly a .500 record a year ago. The bad news is the frontcourt still has some major holes and Coach Gary Waters needs to find a way to stop opposing big men from having such an easy time scoring on the Vikings.
Key Losses: F Nigel Ajere, F Jared Cunningham
Devon Long and Ludovic Ndaye will do what they can to help the frontcourt, but it is asking a little much to rely heavily on freshmen. At the least those two need to be able to come in off the bench and grab some rebounds and play solid defense. If they can do that, this is a team that has more than enough talent to reach the postseason. The Vikings also add Davis Ware and point guards Sebastian Douglas and Keith Mackie to the roster.
The amount of talent in the backcourt is simply amazing. Norris Cole, Jeremy Montgomery, Trevon Harmon and D’Aundray Brown all averaged at least 28 minutes per game and were the team’s top four scorers a year ago. Cole is the do-it-all point guard. The 6-2 senior is coming off a season in which he led the Vikings with 16.3 points and 4.4 assists. Montgomery is the best shooter of the group and connected on 40.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Harmon struggled at times with his outside shooting in 2009-2010, but the 6-1 junior can score in other ways when his shot is not falling. Brown may be the most important guard on the team because of his ability to hit the glass. Despite being just 6-4, Brown spent a lot of time at the power forward spot and led the squad with 5.6 rebounds per game. As if those four are not enough, Anthony Wells showed some potential during his freshman campaign and could develop into a solid contributor.
Last season the four guards started a majority of the games with Aaron Pogue manning the paint. At 6-9 and 275 pounds, Pogue has the size to clog the paint, but he needs to have a much better junior campaign if CSU hopes to be much better than they were last season. Pogue is not much of a scorer and most of his points will come off of offensive rebounds or when the defense is too worried about the guys on the perimeter. Pogue is also not much of a shot blocking threat and that has really hurt the overall defense of the team. There is hope that 6-11 junior Joe Latas can live up to his potential and start playing some real minutes, but last year he averaged less than five per game. Tim Kamczyc and Charlie Woods both showed some promise as freshmen, but probably not enough to unseat one of the guards in the starting lineup.
Who to Watch:
And finding a real power forward or center may be the key to this season. Cleveland State can win some games with their backcourt, but they can only carry this team so far. Not only does somebody have to step up and be a consistent scoring threat in the paint, but somebody has to start blocking some shots as well. Pogue can handle some of the scoring, but Kamczyc, Woods, Latas or one of the newcomers needs to emerge as a solid defender and rebounder or this team will get beat on the glass and on the defensive end again this year.
There is potential for this to be a good team, but it is pretty much the same group that could not win away from home last year and almost always failed to play good interior defense. Unless one of the underclassmen can change the defensive problems, Cleveland State will spend the year hovering around the .500 mark yet again and be a borderline postseason team.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Norris Cole, Senior, Guard, 16.3 ppg
Jeremy Montgomery, Junior, Guard, 12.8 ppg
Trevon Harmon, Junior, Guard, 10.5 ppg
D’Aundray Brown, Senior, Guard, 8.6 ppg
Aaron Pogue, Junior, Forward, 6.3 ppg
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