Preseason Preview: Eastern Illinois

(Photo by Anthony Giacomino/Paint Touches)

The first official practices of the 17-18 college basketball season are in the books and Paint Touches is celebrating by counting down every Marquette opponent from worst to first. Each preview will contain a look at how the opponent did last season, who they lose, who they gain, reasonable expectations for their season, and our own prediction of how their matchup(s) with Marquette will go. This series will start with the most under of underdogs and progress all the way up to most unbeatable of opponents. Today we look at the best cupcake on Marquette’s menu, a decent but still very beatable Eastern Illinois squad.

Team: Eastern Illinois Panthers
16-17 Record: 14-15 (6-10 OVC)
Postseason?: Didn’t even qualify for the OVC tournament
16-17 KenPom: 220
Date: 11/27/17
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center
Coach: Jay Spoonhour (6th season)
Projected KenPom Range: 200-250
Projected Conference Finish: 6/12 OVC

Departures from 16-17
Demetrius McReynolds: Starting Wing: 29.5 mpg, 14.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.1 bpg, 1.2 tpg, .445 FG%, .363 3P% (Graduated)
Casey Teson: 1st Man off the Bench: 20.8 mpg, 6.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.6 tpg, .418 FG%, .390 3P% (Transferred to Maryville University)
Patrick Muldoon: 2nd Man off the Bench: 19.8 mpg, 5.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 1.2 tpg, .458 FG%, .000 3P% (Transferred to Kansas State)
Joe Kuligoski: 4th Man off the Bench: 6.7 mpg, 1.7 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.1 spg, 0.2 bpg, 0.4 tpg, .366 FG%, .292 3P% (Graduated)
Marshawn Blackmon: Benchwarmer: 6.0 mpg, 2.0 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.1 apg, 0.1 spg, 0.1 bpg, 0.5 tpg, .467 FG%, .000 3P% (only appeared in 8 games) (Transferred to Moberly Area Community College)
39% of scoring, 32% of rebounding, 31% of assists, 27% of steals, 19% of blocks, 41% of 3PM

D’Angelo Jackson: JUCO Transfer SG from JUCO Highland College (IL)
Jajuan Starks: JUCO Transfer SF from JUCO Wabash Valley College
Justice Green: JUCO Transfer SF from JUCO South Plains College
Michael Chavers JUCO Transfer SF from CCCAA El Camino-Compton Center
Mack Smith: 2 star SG, unranked

Probable Starters:
PG: Terrell Lewis: 5-7 150 lb SR: 31.9 mpg, 10.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.0 bpg, 1.7 tpg, .377 FG%, .387 3P%
SG: Montell Goodwin: 6-2 190 lb RSSR: 31.0 mpg, 14.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.2 tpg, .376 FG%, .391 3P%
SF: D’Angelo Jackson: 6-4 210 lb RSJR SG: 26.8 mpg, 15.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.4 bpg, 3.5 tpg, .531 FG%, .222 3P% (for JUCO Highland College [IL])
PF: Ray Crossland: 6-6 220 lb SR: 28.3 mpg, 10.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.2 tpg, .428 FG%, .316 3P%
C: Muusa Dama: 6-9 225 lb SR: 27.4 mpg, 9.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.7 spg, 2.2 bpg, 1.9 tpg, .503 FG%, .000 3P%

Probable Bench:
Jajuan Starks: 6-4 215 lb JR SF
Justice Green: 6-5 180 lb JR SF
Michael Chavers: 6-5 185 lb RSJR SF
Aboubacar Diallo: 6-9 200 lb JR PF

Probable Benchwarmers:
Mack Smith: 6-2 185 lb FR SG
Lucas Jones: 6-8 205 lb JR SF
Logan Koch: 6-1 200 lb SO PG
DeVantae Price: 6-2 190 lb RSSR PG


• Eastern Illinois is shaping up to be the best of the buy games that Marquette should win easily. A season ago the Panthers were a .500 team with a kenpom hovering around 200. With most of their production returning and solid crop of JUCOs on the way in, they should improve on or at very least repeat last year’s efforts.
• Leading scorer Demetrius McReynolds is gone and replacing the production is going to fall to the returners in the Panther backcourt. First up is the diminutive Terrell Lewis. The 5-7 St. Louis product was the primary floor general for Eastern Illinois last season averaging nearly 5 dimes a game. His scoring comes primarily from beyond the arc with 72 of his 95 makes last season coming from range. When he shoots 39% from that distance, that is acceptable.
• The second leader in the backcourt is Cleveland native and former juco transfer Montrell Goodwin. Goodwin was a bit of a silver collector as he was second on the team last season in points, assists, steals, and 3PM. He was the most accurate shooter from deep at 39.1%. Paired with Lewis the Panthers have a potentially lethal shooting duo.
• Roaming the post for Eastern Illinois is big man Muusa Dama. Dama is originally from Benin and has not been playing basketball long but has developed into a force in the post. He came within less than 1 point and half a rebound a game from averaging double double last season. He ended up with eight double doubles and 13 double digit rebounding games, including 3 in a row to close out the season. Dama is a terror on the defensive end, altering many shots and simply erasing others with his 2.2 blocks per game.
• Coach Spoonhour brings in a solid crop of four JUCOs to bolster his already experienced roster. Three of the four were starters and double digit scorers for the JUCOs while the fourth was a key reserve at South Plains College, largely considered the #1 JUCO program in the country last season. The player most likely one to make an immediate impact is D’Angelo Jackson. Some Wisconsin natives might recognize the name, Jackson played for Case High School in Racine, WI and was the 2014 All-Racine County Player of the Year. At 6-5, Jackson has the size to play the wing but has excelled at the point. With Highland College he averaged over 15 points, 7 rebounds, and near 3 assists per game. An opposing coach described him as impossible to defend 1 on 1. His big falling is his outside shot, he went a miserable 2 for 9 from deep last season. Fortunately for the Panthers, Lewis and Goodwin likely have the three pointers covered.
• With 5 seniors, 6 juniors, and only 2 underclassmen on the roster, the Panthers will be one of the most experienced teams in the country.

Of all the “easy win” buy games, this is the one that is going to give Marquette the biggest challenge. The Panthers are the first team will Marquette will see after the Maui invitational. Expect this game to be uncomfortably close for a while before Marquette gets it together and pulls away in the second half. Dama will give Matt Heldt and Theo John a legitimate challenge in the post, though he is the only player who is any good who is taller than 6-6. Get him out of the game early and Marquette could cruise to blowout. Marquette ends up winning by around 15.

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Categories: Home, Offseason, Previews

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic


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