Horizon League Basketball: 2016-2017 Very Early Projections

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo

The Horizon should have a new king next season, Oakland. Valparaiso held the top spot for four (4) out of the last five (5) seasons but Valparaiso is going through changes with the loss of their rising star, Coach Bryce Drew to Vanderbilt. However, expect Valparaiso to remain competitive. The 2nd through 4th spots should be very close. Look for Cleveland State, Youngstown State, Green Bay and Valparaiso to compete for those spots.


1. Oakland Basketball

Coach: Greg Kampe

Off Roster:
Graduated: Percy Gibson and Max Hooper
Transferred: Femi Olujobi

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Kay Felder (PG), Jalen Hayes (PF), Nick Daniels (SG), Martez Walker (SG), and Sherron Dorsey-Walker (SF)
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Brad Brechting (C), Jaevin Cumberland (PG), and Xavier Hill-Mais (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Brailen Neely (PG), Billy Thomas(PG), Chris Palombizio(SG), and James Edwards, Jr.(C)

Oakland is small with an average size of 6’ 3”. However, they are quick, which accounts to why they were one of the best offensive teams in the country last season. On the other hand, they were one of the worst defensive teams in the nation last season. Four (4) of their core players will return for next season. Their offense and defense should look the same as the 2015-2016 season.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 23-12 (13-5) Vegas 16
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 15+

2. Cleveland State Basketball

Coach: Gary Waters

Off Roster:
Graduated: Vinny Zollo

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Andre Yates (PG), Rob Edwards (SG), Demonte Flannigan (PF), Terrell Hales (SG), and Kenny Carpenter (SG)
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Jibri Blount (SF), Jeron Rogers (SF), Derek Sloan (SF), Daniel Levitt (PG)
Key Transfer(s): Anthony Wright (Harcum, SG), Gavin Peppers (Laramie County, PG), and Jamarcus Hairston (Louisburg)
Key Freshmen added: Andy Lucien (SF) and Evan Clayborne (PF)

Cleveland State had a bunch of young players last season. This season, things have changed. Cleveland State has four (4) out of five (5) of their top shooters returning. This team wasn’t that bad offensively either. But defensively they were absolutely terrible! However, Cleveland State is adding a bunch of good pieces to this team to make them compatible for the top spot in the Horizon League. Their bringing in thee (3) junior college transfers who will make an immediate impact. Jamarcus Hairston adds to the team both defensively and offensively. Hairston ranked 12th in blocks and 47th in blocked shots while at Louisburg. Gavin Peppers can flat out score. He ranked 30th nationally in total points at Laramie College. Anthony Wright is a great all around player. He is good on both ends of the court. He ranked 3rd in steals, 79th in assists, and 34th nationally in points per game while at Harcum.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 9-23 (4-14) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 12+

3. Youngstown State Basketball

Coach: Jerry Slocum

Off Roster:
Graduated: Bobby Hain
Transferred: Jordan Andrews

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Cameron Morse (SG), Matt Donlan (PF), Francisco Santiago (PG), Jorden Kaufman (C), and Sidney Umude (PF)
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Latin Davis (PG), Brett Frantz (SG), and Devin Haygood (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Rahim Williams (SG) and Stefan Rosic (SF)
Key Freshmen added: Jeremiah Ferguson (PG) and Braun Hartfield (SG)

Youngstown State should improve dramatically this coming season. Youngstown State’s problem was mainly on defense. The team ranked 341st overall in Defense last season. Fortunately, they will bring in a few pieces to help solve that problem, in particular JUCO transfer, Rahim William. Williams ranked 23rd Nationally in block shots prior to leaving the State College of Florida. He also ranked 37th overall in rebounds per game.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 11-21 (6-12) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 12+

4. Green Bay Basketball

Coach: Linc Darner

Off Roster:
Graduated: Jordan Fouse and Carrington Love

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Key role player(s) possibly returning: Charles Cooper (SG), Khalil Small (SG), and Kenneth Lowe (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Warren Jones (Bradley, SG) and David Jesperson (Pepperdine, PF)
Key role player returning: Kerem Kanter (PF), Tevin Findlay (SG), Jamar Hurdle (SF), Anthony Brown (PG), and Avery Brown (PG)
Key Freshmen added: Trevor Anderson (PG) and Kameron Hankerson (SG)

Green Bay will be losing two (2) of their top three (3) scorers, Jordan Fouse and Carrington Love, to graduation. However, Coach Darner will make up for it with the addition of graduate transfer, Warren Jones. Jones, should be joining Green Bay this season after sitting out one season due to NCAA transfer rules. Jones averaged 11.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in his final season at Bradley. Jones will get a second chance at basketball after being dismissed from the Bradley team for off the court issues.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 23-13 (11-7) NCAA Tournament 1st round exit
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 11+

5. Valparaiso Basketball

Coach: Matt Lottich

Off Roster:
Graduated: Keith Carter, Vashil Fernandez, Darien Walker, and E. Victor Nickerson
Transferred: David Skara (Clemson)

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Alec Peters (SF), Shane Hammink (PG), Tevonn Walker (PG), and Jubril Adekoya (PF)
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Max Joseph (PG), Nick Davidson (SG), and Lexus Williams (PG)
Key Freshmen added: Derrik Smits (C), Micah Bradford (PG), and Jaume Sorolla (C)

Valparaiso has many changes to deal with. They will be getting a new head coach in Matt Lottich. Keith Carter and David Sara are gone. Their top scorer, Carter, has graduated and Skara has transferred to Clemson. However, Alec Peters is returning for a final season.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 30-7 (16-2) NIT Championship
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 10+

6. UIC Basketball

Coach: Steve McClain

Off Roster:
Graduated: Paris Burns, Gabe Snider, and Jake Wiegand
Transferred: Najeal Young, Julian Torres, Markese McGuire, and Drew Hackett

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Dikembe Dixson (SG), Tai Odiase (PF), Lance Whitaker (SG), and Michael Kolawole (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Kyle Guice (PF)
Key role player(s) returning: Hassan Thomas (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Marcus Ottey (PG), Godwin Boahen (PG), Tarkus Ferguson (SG), Dominique Matthews (SG), Jordan Blount (SG), and K.J. Santos (SF)

UIC is the Horizon Leagues’ biggest team, as far as size is concerned. With an average height of 6’ 5”, UIC ranked 2nd in the Horizon behind Valparaiso and 10th nationally in rebounds per game. Nothing will change in that category. UIC has some very good freshmen coming this season, setting up UIC to become very competitive in the near future.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 5-25 (3-15) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 9-

7. Detroit Basketball

Coach: Bacari Alexander

Off Roster:
Graduated: Carlton Brundidge and Anton Wilson
Transferred: Paris Bass and Jarod Williams

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Chris Jenkins (SF), Josh McFolley (PG), Jaleel Hogan (SF), and Gerald Blackshear
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Matthew Grant (SG) and Aaron Foster-Smith
Key Transfer(s): Isaiah Jones (Mt. San Jacinto, C), DeShawndre Black (Schoolcraft, PG), and Ja'Christian Biles (School Craft, SG)
Key Freshmen added: Corey Allen (SG)

Detroit will get a new coach. Luckily, this new coach will still have a lot of good pieces to work with. Hopefully, new coach Bacari Alexander does a better job getting this team to play defense. Detroit was one the worst defensive teams in the nation last season, ranking 339th in the league.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 16-15 (9-9) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 7-

8. Northern Kentucky Basketball

Coach: John Brannen

Off Roster:
Graduated: Jalen Billups, Tyler White, Todd Johnson, Jake Giesler, and Jared Bryant

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Lavone Holland II (PG), Cole Murray (SG), Drew McDonald, and Jordan Garnett (SF)
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Dean Danos (PG), Brennan Gillis (SF), and Matt Rosenwinkel (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Brandon Maxwell (Dayton State, PG)
Key Freshmen added: Blake Spellman (PG), Mason Faulkner (SG), Carson Williams (SF), Dantez Walton (SF), and Jalen Tate (SF)

Northern Kentucky will lose two (2) of their top three (3) scorers, Jalen Billups and Tyler White, to graduation this year. In addition, Northern Kentucky is going to have to do a better job on defense and rebounding in order to move up in the standings. However, rebounding may be a problem taken it that this team is very small in size. The average player on the team is 6’ 4”.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 9-21 (5-13) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 6-

9. Wright State Basketball

Coach: Scott Nagy

Off Roster:
Graduated: JT Yoho, Michael Karena, Joe Thomasson, Daniel Collie, and Biggie Minnis

On Roster:
Key player(s) possibly returning: Mark Alstork (PG) and Grant Benzinger (SG)
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Alan Vest (SG), Justin Mitchell (SG), Parker Ernsthausen, and Steven Davis (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Mike LaTulip (Illinois, SG)
Key Freshmen added: Everett Winchester (SG), L. Love-Vollbrecht (PF), and Ryan Custer (PF)

Wright State has lost quite a lot, including its coach, after the 2015-2016 season. Coach Scott Nagy will have to rebuild after losing three (3) of their top four (4) scorers to graduation. Wright State will get a good player in Ike LaTulip, a graduate transfer out of Illinois. But that won’t be enough to compete for the top spot in the Horizon league.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 22-13 (13-5) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 5-

10. Milwaukee Basketball

Coach: LaVall Jordan

Off Roster:
Graduated: JeVon Lyle, J.J. Panoske, and Matt Tiby
Transferred: Akeem Springs (Minnesota), Austin Arians (Wake Forest), Jordan Johnson (UNLV) and Justin Jordan (UNC Greensboro)

On Roster:
Key role player(s) possibly returning: Brett Prahl (PF), Cody Wichmann (SG), and Brock Stull (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Cameron Harvey (Stetson, SG)

Key Freshmen added: Jeremy Johnson (SG), Bryce Barnes (PG), Max Curran (PF), Zac Saddler (SG),
August Haas (PG), and Bryce Nze (SF)

Can you say rebuilding!! Everyone from this team has cut out after the departure of Rob Jeter. It looks as if Milwaukee will be fighting for a spot at the bottom.

NCAA Basketball 2015-2016 Record: 20-13 (10-8) No Appearance
NCAA Basketball Projected Conference Wins 2016-2017: 3+


Jack Williams, D1caochcorner.com
5-26-2016 7:00am



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