Kent State Golden Flashes
Mid-American Conference (23-9, 13-3)
Big Wins: 11/14 UAB (72-65), 12/29 vs Wofford (73-66), 3/5 at Akron (74-61)
Bad Losses: 11/15 Green Bay (86-87), 1/12 at Miami Oh (53-55), 1/17 Bowling Green (70-76)
Coach: Geno Ford
Why They Can Surprise:
This was supposed to be a down year for the Mid-American Conference’s most dominating team for the last decade. As it turns out, there really are not any down years for Kent State. Coach Geno Ford has done a tremendous job in just his second year as the head coach of the Golden Flashes turning some inexperienced players into seasoned veterans. And, as usual, it all starts on the defensive end. This is a group that will generate a ton of turnovers and rarely commit many themselves.
It all starts with Chris Singletary. Not only is he a fine scorer averaging 12.0 points per game, but Singletary is arguably the best defender in the conference. At 6-4 he has the size to cover the best opposing player in nearly every circumstance and that is what he has done all year long. Singletary has also turned into a superb floor leader and dishes out 4.1 assists per game. The return of Rodriquez Sherman, who missed all of last season with an injury, makes the perimeter defense even better. Sherman is also a quality ballhandler and has turned into a rather dynamic scoring threat. Tyree Evans usually does not give up the ball once it is in his hands, but the senior, along with Mike McKee, is one of the team’s outside shooting threats and yet another solid defender.
Why They Can Disappoint:
This would be a really good team if they had a little more size in the paint. Frank Henry-Ala is the usual starting power forward, but he is just 6-5. While Ala is a good athlete and rebounder, his lack of size can cause problems against certain teams. Anthony Simpson has more size at 6-8 and is a much better scorer, but he spends a lot of time out on the perimeter. That is great for the offense to have a big guy who can step away from the basket and make shots, but again it causes problems on the defensive side of the floor. The other option is to play Brandon Parks. While he is not a great scorer or rebounder, Parks is an experienced 6-10, 270 pound senior who can eat up a lot of space in the paint.
Who To Watch:
If Parks is at the center spot that would move Kent State’s leading scorer, Justin Greene to the power forward position. Greene is leading the team in both scoring, rebounding and shot blocking and his emergence has saved the frontcourt. At 6-8 and 230 pounds, Greene has enough size to dominate the paint against most MAC opponents, but he may need to play the power forward position a little more against bigger teams and that means Simpson and Parks better be ready for an increased role.
Chris Singletary, Senior, Guard, 12.0 ppg, 4.1 apg, 1.9 spg
Tyree Evans, Senior, Guard, 9.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Rodriquez Sherman, Junior, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 3.1 apg, 4.2 rpg
Frank Henry-Ala, Senior, Forward, 3.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Justin Greene, Sophomore, Forward, 13.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Randal Holt, Freshman, Guard, 3.6 ppg, 1.4 apg
Mike McKee, Senior, Guard, 6.4 ppg, 1.2 apg
Brandon Parks, Senior, Center, 2.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Anthony Simpson, Senior, Forward, 8.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.5 (134th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.0 (62, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (168, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.4 (134, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (224, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.4 (226, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.1 (199, 6)
Rebound Margin: 1.6 (131, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (166, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (61, 1)
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