SWAC Basketball:
2015-2016 Early Projections

Jack Williams, D1CoachCorner.com 10:00am August 27, 2015

After Texas Southern won the Southwest Atlantic Conference (SWAC) Semi Final game in the SWAC tournament against Prairie View A&M in 2015, they were going to receive the automatic bid for the NCAA tournament no matter who won the SWAC tournament championship game. That’s because Southern, the team that Texas Southern played in the finals, was academically ineligible to compete in the NCAA Tournament. As a matter of fact, a total of four (4) teams in the SWAC faced NCAA Tournament bans due to academics last season. They are Southern, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Grambling and Mississippi Valley State. For whatever reason, the SWAC has been in this predicament many times before. None of that mattered to Texas Southern anyways! Texas Southern was one of the teams in the SWAC that wasn’t on academic probation – and they were probably gone to win SWAC title any ways.

Looking ahead, Texas Southern is still the team to beat in the SWAC. However, with the addition of point guard Deshawn Munson Jackson State has put themselves in the running for the SWAC title. Southern is also in the running for the title. Let’s just hope that they can stays off they academic probation list. Let’s take a look at how other teams are looking in the SWAC this 2015-2016 season:

1. Texas Southern

Coach Mike Davis Texas Southern adds a quality freshman point guard to their roster in Damontrae 'Trae' Jefferson. Jefferson Spud Webb like qualities. Jackson is only 5’ 8” but plays like he’s 6’ 4”. He can facilitate the ball well and he can jump out of the Gym. He’s a top 100 division 1 player who will add instant production to the team. The other good news for Texas Southern is that two (2) of their starters from the previous SWAC championship team are returning: Chris Thomas (senior, shooting guard) and Malcolm Riley (senior, small forward). Thomas averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Riley averaged 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Also joining the team will be Kennesaw State graduate transfer, Orlando Coleman (small forward Texas Southern should be pretty fun to watch next season

Projected Conference Wins: 14+
Projected Post Season Finish: NCAA Tournament Appearance

2. Southern

Coach Roman Banks Southern returns four (4) key starters from the previous season in Adrian Rodgers (SG, Senior), Tre'Lun Banks (SG, Junior ), Christopher Hyder (PG, Senior) and Jared Sam (PF, sophomore). Shooting Guard Adrian Rodgers was names to the SWAC 2015 All second team. Power Forward Thomas Pierre-Louis, who played in only nine games last season, showed promise towards the end of the season. Added to the roster is another significant transfer pickup from Iona, Grant Ellis (junior, small forward). Southern was one of the best teams in the SWAC when it came to defense. The Jaguars ranked 91st in points allowed. They held their opponents to an average of 63.6 points per game.

Projected Conference Wins: 12+

Projected Post Season Finish: No appearance

3. Jackson State

Coach Wayne Brent Jackson State lands a great recruit in the Iowa Western Community College transfer guard, Deshawn Munson. Munson should help bring consistency to Jackson State’s offense. Munson is a combo guard who averaged 17.5 points and 6.2 assists per game last season at Iowa Western. Munson’s assist contributions are desperately needed at Jackson State taken it that the team didn’t move the ball very well. Jackson State ranked 323rd in assists after the 2014-2015 season. The other good news for Jackson State is that they are returning nearly all of their players from the previous season. Raeford Worsham (SG, Senior) played exceptionally well. As Jackson State top scorer he averaged 12.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Kaven Bernard (SF, senior) had some pretty good games. He ended the season averaging 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Chemistry should be much better this coming season. The 2014-2015 team was also very good defensively. However, they needed help offensively. Jackson State should be in a position to compete for the SWAC championship next season. They loss in the SWAC semi finals last season to Prairie View A&M.

Projected Conference Wins: 12-

Projected Post Season Finish: No appearance

4. Alabama State

Coach Lewis Jackson Alabama State has two (2) starters who will be returning from the 2014-2015 season team: senior point guard Jamel Waters and senior small forward Bobby Brown. Waters was named to the SWAC first team honors. He averaged 14.0 points and 5.2 assists per game. Brown’s production to the team was 8.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Alabama State’s freshman point guard Steve Rogers, Jr. was named SWAC Freshman of the Year. Alabama State brings in a bunch of big men to play an outside inside game. They added Martavius Robinson, a 6'-10" center from Lewis & Clark College in St. Louis and Glenn Hollaway, a 6’ 10” power forward from Atlanta Metro College. Holloway was an excellent rebounder in junior college. He averaged 6.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while at Atlanta Metro last season. Another important piece added is Lavontae Waldon, a 6'-6" small forward from Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis. With the additions of the big men, Waters and Brown should have very high scoring averages next season. Alabama State ranked 7th in the nation in offensive rebounds and 17th in defensive rebounds last season. Alabama State loss to Southern in the SWAC tournament Semifinals last season.

Projected Conference Wins: 10-
Projected Post Season Finish: No appearance

5. Prairie View A&M

Coach Byron Rimm II Prairie View returns a lot of bench players from the previous season. Power forward Karim York is perhaps the only significant player on the roster who is returning. York averaged 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season. Prairie View picks up a pretty good shooting guard in Tyler Junior College transfer, Dominique Shaw. He average 14.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists at Tyler. His production earned him first team honors on the All-Region XIV men’s basketball team. Prairie View also added Santa Monica Junior College transfer, Admassu Williams to its roster. Williams is a 6’8” Center who averaged 10.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game last season. Another important Junior College transfer added is J.D. Wallace . Wallace played JUCO ball at the Southwestern Community College. There he averaged 10.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last season. With only Karim York retuning from last season’s starting lineup, what is the starting lineup going to look like for Prairie View?

Projected Conference Wins: 9+

Projected Post Season Finish: No appearance

6. Alabama A&M

Coach Willie Hayes Alabama A&M returns nearly its entire starting lineup from the 2014-2015 season. Ladarius Tabb (small forward), Alabama A&M’s top scorer, was named the SWAC new comer of the year and was named to the SWAC second team honors. Tabb averaged 17 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last season. Nicholas West (power forward), Alabama A&M second best scorer, was named to the SWAC first team honors last season. Alabama A&M is going to need point production from other players besides Tabb and West to be productive. Alabama A&M ranked 302nd in points scored last season. Alabama A&M loss to Southern in the SWAC Semi Finals last season.

Projected Conference Wins: 7+

Projected Post Season Finish: No appearance

7. Alcorn State

Coach Montez Robinson
Alcorn has some pretty good shooters on their team but their problem is that they don’t have a true ball facilitator. If Alcorn finds a true point guard who could shoot and facilitate they’ll be a team that’s hard to beat. Shooting guard LeAntwan Luckett and power forward Marquis Vance both have the ability to take this team far with a the facilitator. Luckett and Vance were both named to the SWAC first team honors. Luckett averaged 16.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while Vance added 13.o points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, that facilitator won’t be coming this coming season. Instead Alcorn may go another season ranked 344th overall in assists.

Projected Conference Wins: 6-
Projected Post Season Finish: No appearance

8. Grambling State

Coach Shawn Walker Coach Walker is bringing in a few promising Junior College recruits for next season in Small forward Deonte Hearns, shooting guard Reginald Moses, shooting guard Ervin Mitchell and power forward Alpha Ndaw. The most promising of them all is South Plains Junior College transfer Deonte Hearns. Hearns averaged 19.2 points per game in his freshman year at South Plains. But for some apparent reason he was dismissed from the team the following season. Grambling is taking a chance on this kid. However, it’s Grambling! When a team is accustomed to dwelling in the basement they could afford to take chances because they have nothing to lose. Other good news for Grambling State is that their top scorer Mark Gray (power forward) is returning for his senior season there. Point guard Chase Cormier will also be returning from an injury last season. Grambling should have enough talent to stay out of the basement after all.

Projected Conference Wins: 5-

Projected Post Season Finish: No appearance

9. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Coach Gregory Ivory Pine Bluff’s own, JoVaughn Love, returns as one of UAPB’s top scorers from last season. Love averaged 10.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Love is also 6’ 9” but plays as a shooting guard. Joining him next season will be Washburn Junior College transfer Jaquan Lynch. Pine Bluff was bad in almost every offensive category in basketball last season. On the other hand, they weren’t as bad defensively. The Golden Lions ranked 8th overall in steals and 176th in points allowed. However, the basement will be nice and warm for them next season.

Projected Conference Wins: 3+

Projected Post Season Finish: No appearance

10. Miss. Valley State

Coach Andre Payne Coach Andre Payne returns for his second season as head coach. His second season doesn’t come without challenges. We won’t get into that though. On the positive side Mississippi Valley State is returning its top scorer Jordan Washington. However, Mississippi Valley State will continue to dwell in the SWAC basement.

Projected Conference Wins: 3-

Projected Post Season Finish: No appearance

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