Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Led by an experience senior core, the Long Beach State 49ers put together an extremely successful 2011-2012 campaign. With their top four scorers gone, Dan Monson will rely on a pair of sophomore and several transfers to keep the program atop the Big West Conference.
LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
Last Season: 1st, 15-1 in Big West, 25-9 overall
Predicted Big West Finish: 1st
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Dan Jennings (Jr)/Nick Shepherd (Fr)/Edgar Garibay (Jr)
F: Tony Freeland (Jr)/Kyle Richardson (Jr)/Gatete Djuma (Fr)
G/F: James Ennis (So)/Kris Gulley (So)/Deng Deng (Fr)
SG: Peter Pappageorge (Sr)/Kaela King (Jr)/Javion Watson (Fr)
PG:Michael Caffey (So)/Jerramy King (Jr)/Branford Jones (Fr)
Gone: PG-Casper Ware, F/C-T.J. Robinson, G/F-Larry Anderson, F-Eugene Phelps, PF-Edis Dervisevic, PG-Corey Jackson, SG-Sean Starkey, C-Mike Vantrimpont
While transfers will play a vital role for the 49ers this season, the key will be returning wing James Ennis and point guard Michael Caffey. In first season in the 213, JUCO transfer Ennis used his explosiveness at the rim and scoring ability to earn honorable mention All-Big West. Caffey made his presence felt as a freshman, becoming a key contributor off the bench and now steps into the starting line-up to take over the point guard position.
The Beach will get a huge boost when Arizona State transfer Kaela King becomes eligible after the first semester but until then, there are a lot of questions about the depth at guard. Peter Pappageorge barely sniffed the floor last season but could start during the non-conference slate and provide the team with a dangerous three-point shooter. Jerramy King and Kris Gulley each redshirted last season and will compete for minutes off the bench along with freshmen Javion Watson, Deng Deng, and Branford Jones.
Transfers will really make their presence felt in the frontcourt. Big East castoffs Dan Jennings (West Virginia) and Tony Freeland (DePaul) will likely step into the starting line-up. At 6-9, 255 pounds, Jennings is a load down low and not many Big West teams will be able to match his physicality. Freeland returns to the West Coast and certainly possesses the ability to be a double digit a night scorer in his new home. A third forward transfer, Edgar Garibay formerly of Loyola Marymount, will provide a rim protector once he becomes eligible after the first semester.
Until Garibay is able to suit up, Nick Shepherd and Kyle Riichardson who also redshirted last season will compete for minutes off the bench along with Gatete Djuma. The Rwanda native is still a raw player having only played basketball for four years is extremely athletic but it will be interesting to see what type of impact he can make this year.
LBSU will once again face a brutal non-conference slate that includes road trips to perennial powers Syracuse, Ohio State, Arizona, and UCLA and a highly anticipated home game versus North Carolina. I’m not sure the 49ers can compete with the big dogs like they did a year ago but they will once again be the cream of the crop in the Big West.
Player to Watch: James Ennis
The 6’6 wing is the lone senior on the roster and team’s best all-around player. He has bounce at the rim, is a solid outside shooter, able defender, and above average shot blocker and rebounder for his size. If he has a blow-up senior season which he is more than capable of doing, Ennis could work his way onto NBA Draft boards.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/13 at USC
11/16 vs. North Carolina
11/19 at Arizona
11/25 at Fresno State
11/29 at Loyola Marymount
12/6 at Syracuse
12/8 at Ohio State
12/18 at UCLA
2/23 vs. TBA (ESPN BracketBusters)
OTHER 111 IN 111′s:
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.