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Preseason Preview: UMBC

Wojo mad

(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: UMBC Retrievers
17-18 Record: 25-11 (12-4 America East)
Postseason?: Beat regular season champion Vermont to earn the America East’s autobid then shocked the world when they became the first 16 seed ever to knock of a 1 seed.
17-18 KenPom: 166
Date: November 06, 2018
Location: Fiserv Forum
Coach: Ryan Odom (3rd Season)
Projected KenPom Range: 175-250
Projected Conference Finish: 3/9 in the America East

Departures from 17-18
KJ Maura: Starting PG: 35.1 mpg, 11.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 5.0 apg, 2.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 1.9 tpg, .469 FG%, .432 3P% (Graduated)
Jarius Lyles: Starting SG: 34.9 mpg, 20.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.1 spg, 0.2 bpg, 3.1 tpg, .439 FG%, .390 3P% (Graduated)
Jourdan Grant: Starting SF: 24.1 mpg, 7.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.3 bpg, 1.8 tpg, .405 FG%, .373 3P% (Graduated)
Ishmail Jabbie: Benchwarmer: Appeared in 18 games (Graduated)
David Park: Benchwarmer: Apeared in 4 games (Graduated)
51% of scoring, 29% of rebounding, 69% of assists, 61% of steals, 18% of blocks, 51% of 3PM

Arrivals:
Kaelin “KJ” Jackson: JUCO transfer PG, ranked #59 by jucorecruiting.com
Ricky Council II: Transfer SG from Providence
Jose Placer: 3-star PG, unranked by major recruiting services
Sam Schwietz: Backup PF (returns from redshirt)
Jack Schwietz: 2-star SG, unranked by major recruiting services
Rayell “RJ” Eytle-Rock: 2-star SG, unranked by major recruiting services

Probable Starters:
PG: KJ Jackson: 6’2” 180 lb JR: 32.2 mpg, 25.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2.4 spg, 0.4 bpg, 4.4 tpg, .428 FG%, .302 3P% (Stats for JUCO Temple College)
SG: Ricky Council II: 6’5” 210 lb RSJR: 3.3 mpg, 0.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.5 tpg, .167 FG%, .167 3P% (16-17 stats in 6 games from Providence)
SF: Joe Sherburne: 6’6” 215 lb SR: 29.1 mpg, 10.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.3 bpg, 0.9 tpg, .453 FG%, .412 3P%
PF: Arkel Lamar: 6’5” 225 lb JR: 27.3 mpg, 10.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.5 bpg, 1.2 tpg, .397 FG%, .426 3P%
C: Daniel Akin: 6’9” 215 lb SO: 16.9 mpg, 3.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.2 bpg, 1.0 tpg, .649 FG%, .000 3P%

Probable Bench:
Nolan Gerrity: 6’10” 235 lb SR C
Max Curran: 6’9” 205 lb JR PF
Max Portmann: 6’7” 220 lb RSSR PF
Brandon Hovarth: 6’9” 200 lb SO PF
Jose Placer: 6’2” 185 lb FR PG
Sam Schwietz: 6’9” 225 lb RSJR PF

Probable Benchwarmers:
Josh Rosario: 6’2” 205 lb SO PG
Jack Schwietz: 6’3” 200 lb FR SG
RJ Eytle-Rock: 6’4” 225 lb FR SG
Isaiah Rogers: 6’2” 185 lb RSSR PG

Notes:
• If you hadn’t heard of the UMBC Retrievers prior to March 17th, 2018, no worries, you were joined by 99% of Americans who weren’t aware of the small Space Grant university in Catonsville, MD with 13 thousand students. In a single night, they forever etched themselves into college basketball lore by being the first 16 seed to knock of a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. And they didn’t just knock the #1 overall seed off, they embarrassed them. The 31-2 Virginia Cavaliers were ashamed enough to be tied with UMBC at half time, but the second half was even worse with UMBC outscoring them by 20 for a final of 74-54. 1 seeds had been 135-0 up until that point. Their joy was short lived as they lost to Kansas State in the round of 32 but it didn’t matter because they had already made their mark on the game. Since then, three starters, including Jarius Lyles, the hero of the Virginia upset, have graduated. They bring in a solid recruiting class for America East standards, highlighted by an electric JUCO PG but that won’t be enough to keep them from taking a step back. They should still finish near to the top of their conference but likely won’t be pulling off any high major upsets this season.
• Jarius Lyles averaged over 20 points a game for the Retrievers last season, leaving a huge gap to fill in for the upcoming year. To address it, they are brining in a player from the JUCO ranks that has both a passion and flair for scoring, Temple College’s KJ Jackson. Jackson has had an interesting path to UMBC. After helping his high school football team to an undefeated season, Jackson committed to play football at D2 West Texas A&M. He signed an NLI but as the basketball season started, he realized that he wanted to play basketball in college. Since he had already signed, his only option was to either go JUCO, D3, or NAIA. He ended up at Temple College where he led the Leopards in scoring as a freshman. As a sophomore, he led a high-powered Temple offense with 25.8 points per game which was 5th best in the NJCAA. With Jackson at the helm, Temple finished 2nd as a team in points per game with a ridiculous 106.6 points per game. Jackson’s scoring ability should help with Lyles’ departure, but his decision making will need to improve. He averaged more turnovers than assists as a JUCO.
• The game in Milwaukee will be a homecoming for one of the Retriever’s star players. Joe Sheburne was a standout player at Whitefish Bay before spending his senior year at basketball powerhouse Brewster Academy. Sherburne was an instant starter at UMBC and has put up a similar stat line in all three seasons. He is good for around 10.7 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. He is a sharpshooting wing with a career 3P% of over 40%. He lacks the speed and strength to be a good defender or rebounder. He is the leading returning scorer and should see his role increase dramatically as a senior.
• The other big returner for UMBC is Arkel Lamar. He’s an odd player, standing only 6’5” but a thick 6’5” at 225 lbs. As is the case with many low majors, UMBC often played a bigger guard at the four position and that is where Lamar was utilized. He led the team in rebounds and blocks and often found himself tangling with bigger opponents in the post. He held his own and not just against low majors. He posted a 23 point, 12 rebound double double against SMU and another double double in the fateful game against Virginia. Offensively, he found himself stymied inside the arc only shooting 36.5% from 2. He makes up for it with a lights out three point shot, making 66 with 42.6% accuracy. UMBC’s roster is short on guards but very deep on post players which could mean Lamar will get more time in backcourt.
• If you really follow Marquette recruiting closely, the name Ricky Council II may be familiar to you. Council II was a member of the Class of 2015 who started being linked to Marquette in the middle of Wojo’s first season at Marquette. He was a low ranked recruit, checking in at #365 on the 247 Composite. Council experienced a scoring burst his senior year, averaging 28.3 points a game for Moravian Prep with most of his damage coming from beyond the arc. Marquette, Maryland, Providence, and other significant names started hanging around, Wojo even went to visit Council at his home in Durham, NC. Ultimately, Council ended up at Providence but he never made an impact. He appeared in 19 games over two seasons putting up unimpressive numbers in garbage time for the Friars. Council has now had a redshirt year to improve and should see major minutes now that he’s playing in the America East.
• Guard depth is a concern for the Retrievers. Their four starting guards are solid but their entire bench is forwards and centers. They do bring in three freshmen guards in their recruiting class, but only one of them is a three star (and only in one service) and none of them are ranked by any of the major recruiting services. Fatigue could be a concern for them at the end of games.

Prediction:
• In many ways, UMBC is the perfect team to open the Fiserv Forum. They will come to Milwaukee with a ton of name recognition thanks to their historic upset. However, they should also be an easy opponent, allowing Marquette to open their new home stadium with a blowout victory. Marquette will win this one handily by double digits.

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Categories: Analysis, Home, Offseason, Previews

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic

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