#133 Sam Houston St: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #133
Conference Rank: #2 Southland Conference
2009-10: 25-8, 14-2
2009-10 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jason Hooten (First year at Sam Houston State, 0-0 overall)
Sam Houston State may have lost three of their top four scorers and their head coach, but this is still a team brimming with talent. Another NCAA Tournament trip may be asking a little too much, but the Bearkats should be in the mix to get back to the big dance in Coach Jason Hooten’s first year at the helm.
Key Losses: G Corey Allmond, F Preston Brown, G Ashton Mitchell
In total six new faces could be suiting up for the Bearkats this season. The most important two are junior college transfers Nafis Richardson and Marcus Williams. Both can do a ton of scoring in a hurry. At 6-2, Richardson has a little more size and strength to attack the basket, but Williams is a superb all-around scorer and will immediately bolster the Bearkats offense. The backcourt gets more of a boost from incoming freshmen Byron Randle, Kuamaine Osborne and Randy Collins. The lone big man joining the squad, although Collins has the ability to be an undersized four, is redshirt freshman Kelly Lawson. The junior college players will make the biggest impact, but this team needs a little depth and the freshmen will need to provide at least a little bit of it.
Corey Allmond and Ashton Mitchell leave behind a combined average of 28.2 points and 7.4 assists, but the backcourt is not in as bad of shape as it may sound. Drae Murray only started two games as a sophomore, but this is his team now. The point guard dished out 3.5 assists per game and only turned the ball over 1.5 times. Murray has not proven to be much of a scorer, but he has not needed to be either. After spending the last two years behind Mitchell, Murray could turn into an effective scorer if his outside shot starts falling a little more consistently. Yet, as long as Murray can become a full-time point guard, the scoring can be done by others. One of those others is Lance Pevehouse. Pevehouse may not be as dynamic of a scorer as the new junior college transfers, but he is an experienced senior who is a decent outside shooter and a solid rebounder for a 6-2 guard.
The frontcourt has fewer players to replace. Josten Crow has been a superb small forward over the years and has turned into a great all around player. As a junior he averaged 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals. He is the do-it-all player small forward and the glue guy for the Bearkats. Crow is very important to this team, but Gilberto Clavell has taken over the headlines. The 6-7, 225 pound senior came out of the junior college ranks and immediately took this team to the next level. He led the squad with 17.1 points and 6.4 rebounds. While Clavell is not a true post player, he does do most of his scoring around the basket. Sam Houston State hopes that Antuan Bootle can be the post player this team needs. Bootle is only 6-7, but he uses his 265 pound frame quite well around the basket to create space for himself. After starting 11 games a year ago, he is the likely candidate to step into a starting role at the five spot.
Who to Watch:
If Richardson or Williams can have the impact that Clavell had in his first year with the team, Sam Houston State could make another NCAA Tournament run. That is asking a lot from the junior college transfers, but they certainly have the ability to take over the scoring numbers left behind by Allmond and Mitchell. Whether or not it all comes together in a winning way is a whole different story.
The loss of Allmond, Mitchell and Brown can be overcome, but it will not be easy. At the least, it will take some time. By March the Bearkats could be a very dangerous team, yet they could just as easily struggle with all the new faces and the new coach. The reality probably lies somewhere in-between and that should be enough for Sam Houston State to compete for a conference title.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Drae Murray, Junior, Guard, 4.2 ppg
Lance Pevehouse, Senior, Guard, 5.8 ppg
Josten Crow, Senior, Forward, 8.0 ppg
Gilberto Clavell, Senior, Forward, 17.1 ppg
Antuan Bootle, Junior, Forward, 4.3 ppg
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