2012-13 Division I Basketball Preview: Influx of transfers should help Eastern Michigan stay atop MAC West
October 26, 2012 in Division I
It’s hard to believe, but college basketball season is almost here. This week, we’ll preview Michigan’s seven Division I schools.
At a glance
- Coach: Rob Murphy, second season
- Last year: 14-18, 9-7 MAC
- Conference: MAC
- Key losses: Antonio Green, Quintin Dailey, Darrell Lampley, Kamil Janton
- Key additions: James Still (Henry Ford C.C. transfer), Glenn Bryant (Arkansas transfer), Daylen Harrison (Wyoming transfer), Josh Lyle (Kentucky State transfer), Ray Lee (freshman from Romulus), Jalen Ross (freshman from North Carolina)
- Team website
- Team roster
- Team schedule
- EMU news on BallinMichigan
- News – Eagle Totem
Eastern Michigan returns significant talent from last season’s improved squad, avoided (barely) losing its coach to the NBA in the offseason and should see its lineup bolstered by impact transfers this season.
Size will be a major factor for the Eagles this season. The team returns 6-foot-9 forward Jamell Harris, the only player to start all 32 games for them last season, who averaged 6.2 points per game and led the team in rebounding at 6.3 per game and blocked shots at 1.3 per game. Seven-footer Da’Shonte Riley is also back. He was second on the team in blocks and rebounding. Reserve Matt Balkema, a 6-foot-10, 283-pound bruiser, is also back.
Joining them will be Still, a JUCO transfer who can block shots and rebound, but who also has range out to the 3-point line on offense. The major impact addition, however, figures to be Bryant, a 6-foot-8 forward who played at Oak Hill Academy and the University of Arkansas before transferring. He should be among the best newcomers in the MAC this season.
In addition, the team returns guards Derek Thompson, the top returning scorer, J.R. Sims, who started seven games last season, and point guard Austin Harper, who started 10 games. Harrison, a Wyoming transfer, should also figure into the perimeter rotation.
The lineup should be full of experienced players with just enough of an infusion of new talent to keep the Eagles near the top of the MAC West standings.
Eastern’s success in the conference last season is a bit baffling when you consider they weren’t a good shooting team (38 percent as a team), 3-point shooting team (30 percent as a team), passing team (9.7 assists per game as a team) or rebounding team (they were out-rebounded by nearly three per game by opponents). The Eagles played solid defense, though, and found ways to keep games close and ultimately pick up wins.
This season, they’ll have to replace leading scorer and assist man Lampley, who averaged 13.3 points and 3.3 assists per game. The also lose Green, who was second on the team in scoring and assists.
Circle these dates …
- Dec. 3 — Murphy and the Eagles play at Syracuse, where Murphy previously worked as an assistant coach.
- Dec. 8 and 20 — Eastern plays two Big Ten opponents — Purdue and Michigan — during the month of December.
- Jan. 2 — The Eagles have a tough enough schedule as is. Right after the new year, they get defending national champion Kentucky.
I applaud Eastern’s non-conference schedule, which is full of incredibly tough competition. I think the Eagles are definitely the favorite in the MAC West, but they also didn’t run away with things last season, so if one of the teams below improves significantly, the division title race will be very competitive.
- Central Michigan must replace 75 percent of its offense from last season
- Oakland looks to replace Reggie Hamilton’s immense contributions
- Michigan enters the season with huge national expectations
- Michigan State has intriguing options to replace Draymond Green’s immense production, leadership
- Detroit returns Horizon League’s top player in quest for return to NCAA Tournament
- Western Michigan enters season with eight freshmen on the roster