2012-13 Division II Basketball Preview: Northern Michigan hopes transfers can help team escape bottom of GLIAC standings
October 15, 2012 in Division II
At a glance
- Coach: Doug Lewis, third season
- Last year: 9-17, 5-14 GLIAC
- Conference: Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC)
- Key losses: DeAndre Taylor, Jared Benson
- Key additions: Scooter Johnson (transfer from Kent State), Jeron Lee (transfer from Lewis), Michael Smith (transfer from Grand Rapids Community College), Matt Iverson (freshman from Wisconsin), Stephen Pelkofer (freshman from Wisconsin)
- Team website
- Team roster
- NMU news on BallinMichigan
Northern Michigan will look to a group of transfers to help the team improve on a last place finish in the GLIAC North last season.
Sophomore Haki Stampley leads a solid group of returning players for NMU. Stampley was second on the team in scoring last season at 14.0 points per game. He also led the team in assists.
Along with Stampley are senior T.J. Cameron and junior Matt Craggs. Cameron, a lanky wing known for his defense, led Northern in minutes played last season. He averaged 7.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game and was second on the team in assists. Craggs, a forward, averaged 8.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Three transfers — Johnson, Lee and Smith — will be added to that mix. Johnson played two seasons as a reserve at a solid Kent State program in the MAC. Lee comes from Division II Lewis University, where he averaged 6.6 points per game. Smith is a JUCO transfer from GRCC.
Craggs (6-foot-5), Johnson (6-foot-7) and freshman Iverson, a 7-footer from Wisconsin, Northern could have a formidable front line. Northern out-rebounded its opponents last season, and that should once again be a strength for the team.
The team loses leading scorer and rebounder Taylor, who averaged 14.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Northern will be hoping one or more of its transfers can step in and shoulder some of that production.
The team will also be without Benson, who averaged 11.7 points (third on team) and 5.6 rebounds (second on the team) per game.
Last season, the Wildcats were a poor perimeter shooting team, making just 31 percent of their free throws. Northern shot less than 70 percent at the free throw line and averaged more than 15 turnovers per game, all numbers they must improve to get more competitive in the GLIAC.
Circle these dates …
- Nov. 1 and 9 – Northern tests itself in Division I exhibitions against Michigan and Detroit.
- Jan. 10 – Northern won a home game against Grand Valley in a mild upset last season. They’ll try to pull it off on the road in January.
- Jan. 26 through Feb. 9 – Northern plays the top four teams from last season in the GLIAC North in consecutive games.
Northern had competitive games against some of the top teams in the GLIAC last season. The beat the three teams that finished immediately ahead of them in the standings at least once. If they find production to replace Taylor, it’s conceivable that they could improve by a few games this season.