2008-2009 Savannah State Tigers Basketball Preview
Savannah State Tigers
2007-08 postseason: none
At least it is difficult to come up with a game plan to stop Savannah State. The Tigers had ten players who averaged between three and nine points per game last year. Ten players also averaged at least ten minutes per game and nobody reached over 28 minutes per game. And ten players, including four who did not average over ten minutes a game, started at least one game. There is no superstar for opposing defenses to concentrate on, but somebody seems to always step up and have a big game. Guessing just who that will be is the hard part. And that style of play often worked for Coach Horace Broadnax as the Tigers won 13 games last year as an Independent, including wins over Southern Miss and High Point…which is only slightly more impressive than it sounds.
Who’s Out for the Tigers:
Only three of the ten players who averaged over ten minutes per game are gone, but two of them were regular starters. Guard Joseph Flegler led the team with 8.8 points per game and was the best long range shooting threat on the team, which is not saying much. He only hit one per game. Lazarius Coleman was the only player to start all 31 games and the 6-8 center averaged over eight points per game and led the team in rebounding. The absence of Joel Davilla, Keron McKenzie, Bjorn Bohley, Cedric Kalombo, Omari Williams and Alvin Edwards will thin out the bench a bit, but Savannah State still has enough bodies to play their type of game.
Like most small school teams, the Tigers need players up front. Without Coleman, the need is even greater for Savannah State. Glen Izevbigie has the experience after spending two years at Garrett Community College in Maryland. At 6-10 and 240 pounds, he has the size and strength to battle in the paint. Izevbigie’s offense might not come around right away, but he is a good rebounder and a decent shot blocker who could find himself starting from day one. Mark St. Fort, Arnold Louis and Rashad Hasaan have the size to spend some time at the four spot, although Louis and Hassan play more like wings. But 6-7 wings at Savannah State will have to find some toughness and play power forward at least some of the time. Josh Smith is a small forward who will probably stay at the small forward spot. At 6-4, Smith can provide the team with some much needed size and rebounding ability on the wing. On the perimeter Tracy Rankins and LaQuiton Forte will look for some quality minutes. Rankins, a 5-10 point guard, is a solid ball handler, a fine scorer and probably the best defensive player on the team before he even plays a game. If he is not starting, he will play a big role off the bench.
Who to Watch:
Even with an average of 2.2 assists and 2.5 turnovers, Raye Bailey had one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios on the team last year. The 5-11 senior should do better this year with a year of experience in the system, but the turnovers will remain a problem. Patrick Hardy is the likely starter at the shooting guard spot. The 6-3 junior hit 47.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, but he only took 1.4 shots per game. His role should increase this year and he has the potential to emerge as a go-to-scorer after averaging just 4.6 points per game last year. Anthony Jones is the best all-around scorer among the guards, but he, along with Hardy, has to emerge as a better rebounder if the Tigers want to effectively run a three guard offense. Jovonni Shuler, Devin Stowers and Curtis Brown will be the answer when the team has no choice but to add more size on the wing.
Final 2008-2009 Savannah State Projection:
Chris Linton is the star of the frontcourt after averaging 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds. The 6-6 senior is also a solid defender and can even hit the outside shot enough to keep the opposing defense honest. However, he will not be as effective without an interior scoring threat on the team and replacing Coleman’s production will fall to newcomer Izevbigie and sophomore Rod Mitchell. Mitchell had a solid freshman campaign, averaging 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds, but it remains to be seen if he can effectively step into a starting role. Even if he does not, Mitchell will have to provide a majority of the depth up front behind Linton and Izevbigie.
Projected Postseason Tournament: none
2008-2009 Savannah State Projected Starting Five:
Raye Bailey, Senior, Guard, 5.4 points per game
Patrick Hardy, Junior, Guard, 4.6 points per game
Anthony Jones, Sophomore, Guard, 8.5 points per game
Chris Linton, Senior, Forward, 8.6 points per game
Geln Izevbigie, Junior, Center, DNP last season
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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