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Preseason Preview: Presbyterian

Elliott Hauser

(Photo by Ryan Messier/Paint Touches)

The first official practices of the 18-19 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. We will be releasing one a day ending the day before Marquette’s exhibition with Carroll. That’s right, when this series ends, Marquette basketball will finally be here.

Team: Presbyterian Blue Hose
17-18 Record: 11-21 (4-14 Big South)
Postseason?: Nope
17-18 KenPom: 334
Date: November 17, 2018
Location: Fiserv Forum
Coach: Dustin Kearns (2nd Season)
Projected KenPom Range: 275-325
Projected Conference Finish: 8/11 in the Big South

Departures from 17-18
Reggie Dillard: Starting PF: 33.6 mpg, 15.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.6 tpg, .436 FG%, .349 3P% (Graduated)
Montenia Nelson: Benchwarmer: Appeared in 6 games (Grad transferred. Destination Unknown)
Jaron Withers: 1st Man off the Bench: 16.3 mpg, 2.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.0 bpg, 1.1 tpg, .371 FG%, .250 3P% (Graduated)
Ruben Arroyo-Felix: 2nd Man off the Bench: 16.0 mpg, 4.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.2 spg, 0.3 bpg, 0.6 tpg, .547 FG%, .292 3P% (Graduated)
Jo’Vontae Milner: Benchwarmer: Appeared in 1 game (Transferred to Cape Fear Community College)
Brent Carraway: Benchwarmer: Appeared in 1 game (Left team for personal reasons)
Stephen Osu: Benchwarmer: Appeared in 8 games (Graduated)
Tymori Tribble: Benchwarmer: Appeared in 0 games (Left team for personal reasons)
34% of scoring, 29% of rebounding, 27% of assists, 23% of steals, 32% of blocks, 29% of 3PM

Arrivals:
Francois Lewis: Starting C (returns after missing 16 games due to suspension)
Ben Drake: 2017 JUCO PF from Chattahoochee Tech (returns from redshirt)
Kody Shubert: 2-star PG, unranked by major recruiting services
Jordan Gibson: 2-star SG, unranked by major recruiting services
Adam Flagler: 2-star SG, unranked by major recruiting services
Chris Martin: 2-star PG, unranked by major recruiting services
Cory Hightower: 2-star PF, unranked by major recruiting services

Probable Starters:
PG: Davon Bell: 5’10” 175 lb RSSR: 33.7 mpg, 12.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.2 tpg, .425 FG%, .333 3P%
SG: Romeo Couch: 6’3” 175 lb SO: 23.6 mpg, 5.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.1 bpg, 1.5 tpg, .453 FG%, .380 3P%
SF: JC Younger: 6’4” 200 lb JR: 29.7 mpg, 10.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.0 bpg, 1.4 tpg, .394 FG%, .385 3P%
PF: Armel Tete: 6’9” 210 lb JR: 21.4 mpg, 3.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.1 apg, 0.4 spg, 1.0 bpg, 1.0 tpg, .449 FG%, .000 3P%
C: Francois Lewis: 6’9” 230 lb SR: 21.5 mpg, 12.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.1 bpg, 1.1 tpg, .507 FG%, .407 3P% (only appeared in 16 games)

Probable Bench:
Ben Drake: 6’8” 225 lb SR PF
Ethan Kay: 6’0” 185 lb RSSR PG
Kody Shubert: 5’11” 160 lb FR PG
Jordan Gibson: 6’5” 190 lb FR SG
Adam Flagler: 6’3” 170 lb FR SG

Probable Benchwarmers:
Chris Martin: 6’0” 181 lb FR PG
Cory Hightower Jr: 6’7” 215 lb FR PF
Jamie Baker: 5’11” 155 lb SO PG
Maleek Catchings: 6’4” 240 lb RSSR SG

Notes:
• In case you don’t know, Presbyterian was a late addition to Marquette’s non-conference schedule. The Golden Eagles were supposed to get a second on campus game from the Preseason NIT but the event organizers could not make the scheduling work. This left Marquette in the unenviable position of having to find a buy game very late in the process. They had to scrape the bottom of the barrel but managed to come up with a home date with Presbyterian. The Blue Hose have never been world beaters, but they do seem to be on the upswing. They won 11 games last season (8 against D1 opponents) and return all but one starter (who happens to be last season’s leading scorer) and two bench players. With everyone else returning and a full season of Francois Lewis, the Blue Hose will hopefully be a halfway decent buy game…of course with RPI being replaced by the mysterious NET, we don’t really know what makes for a decent buy game anymore.
• Last season, Presbyterian accomplished something that they had not done in a very long time. They strung together a five-game winning streak. Don’t get too excited, that included a win over a D3 program and three wins over some of the worst programs in Division 1, though they did upset UNC Greensboro who finished as a top 100 team in KenPom. They followed this up with a 2-2 stretch with the two losses coming to NCAA tournament teams. At this point they were sitting at 8-7 and looking like a contender in the Big South. Instead, they went 3-13 the rest of the way and settled into a bottom 20 ranking from KenPom.
• The catalyst for that downward spiral was the disqualification of starting big man Francois Lewis. He was the third leading scorer, top rebounder, and most accurate sharpshooter in the first half of the season. Without Lewis in the lineup, the Blue Hose only had two scholarship players taller than 6’4” and struggled. Now that he is back, he will likely be the go to scorer for Presbyterian. At 6’9” he has the size to bang with post players though he is not going to win many of those fights. He has a soft touch from deep which can pull slower big men away from the basket. He will be a tricky matchup for Marquette bigs but good practice as they will face several centers this season who can pull up from range.
• Joining Lewis in the post will be rising junior Armel Tete. He is a plus defender and rebounder and fills in as the garbage man of this Presbyterian squad. While he can be difference maker on the defensive end, he’s almost invisible on offense. In 21 minutes, he only managed to average 3.9 points a game. Not only that, but he also only dished out 4 assists the entire season. The ball stops when it gets to him but it doesn’t go into the hoop. Backing up Lewis and Tete is Ben Drake. Drake redshirted last season after transferring in from JUCO Chattahoochee Tech. He averaged over 7 rebounds and shot 45% from long range though that was at much lower competition level.
• The leader and likely best player for the Blue Hose is 5th year senior Davon Bell. The Charlotte native is the leading returning scorer and distributor on the roster. His 5.2 assists per game led the entire Big South conference as did his assist %. On offense, Bell is always looking to create for others first. He can score though he’s not terribly efficient. His best weapon is drawing contact and getting to the line where he finishes with 80% accuracy. He’s undersized at 5’10” but extremely opportunistic. He has quick hands and is fond of jumping passing lanes for easy layups going the other way.
• While Presbyterian only lost one starter, they do lose a few rotation players from a bench that was already very short. To replenish that bench, Coach Kearns brings in a freshman class of 5. None of them particularly stand out, most of them don’t have a page on any of the major recruiting services, but one does have a famous name. Cory Hightower Jr is the son of former NBA draftee Cory Hightower who spent 10 years bouncing around the G-League. Unfortunately for the Blue Hose, the younger Hightower doesn’t seem to be quite as good as the senior one.

Prediction:
• Marquette gets some token resistance as Bell draws some early fouls on Markus Howard and Lewis stretches out the defense but it doesn’t last long. Marquette steadily and efficiently increases its lead until the game is well out of hand. Marquette cruises by ewq25+.

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Categories: Analysis, Home, Offseason, Previews

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic

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