Summit League predictions
2. IUPUI — The Jaguars return seven of their eight rotation players from last season’s squad, which went 16-14, 8-5 Summit. Robert Glenn, the newcomer of the year last season, is IUPUI’s top returning player. Glenn averaged 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds last year. Sophomore Alex Young is back after a solid freshman season where he averaged 10.8 points. Other key players back include Leroy Nobles (9.9 points, 1.4 3-pointers) Jon Avery (9.2 points, 5.9 rebounds), Billy Pettiford (5.0 points, 5.9 rebounds) and Adrian Moss (4.8 points).
3. Oral Roberts — The Golden Eagles lost two first-team all-league players in Robert Jarvis and Marcus Lewis to graduation, but should reload with a solid core back and a group of highly touted newcomers. Sophomore Dominique Morrison is ORU’s leading returning scorer at 9.6 per game. Kevin Ford (9.4 points and 7.4 rebounds) and Kyron Stokes ( points) should also play key roles. The list of newcomers who could make an immediate impact include SE Missouri State transfer Roderick Pearson, freshman Hunter McClintock, freshman Damen Bell-Holter, freshman Warren Niles, Northern Oklahoma College transfer Javier Nasarre and Independence CC transfer Michael Craion.
4. South Dakota State — The Jacks return seven of their top eight players minute wise last season. Senior Garrett Callahan (15.8 points, 2.4 3-pointers) and Anthony Cordova (12 points, 6.7 rebounds) started all 33 games last season for SDSU. Clint Sargent (14.1 points), Kai Williams (9.8 points, 7.1 rebounds), Dale Moss (6.1 points), Griffan Callahan (5.4 points) and Michael Palarca (3.2 points) are also key returnees. With the conference tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D. the Jacks could be a dangerous team in March, but first have to end their 18-game road losing streak in league play.
5. IPFW — The Mastodons return four starters in sharpshooter Ben Botts (11.3 points), Nick Daniels (8.4 points), Zach Plackemeier (7.7 points) and Trey McCorkle (3.2 points). IPFW also returns Summit League sixth man of the year Deilvez Yearby (9.1 points, 6.3 rebounds). Newcomers include Lamar CC transfer Antwone Snead, Cloud CC transfer Oleg Kovalov and freshman Eli Lee.
6. North Dakota State — The Bison lose four starters from last year’s Summit League championship team. Junior Michael Tveidt, who averaged 9.8 points per game last year, is NDSU’s lone returning starter. The Bison were dealt a blow when Freddy Coleman was likely lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Dejuan Flowers (3.3 points) should play a key role this season. Head coach Saul Phillips will likely need a few newcomers to step in and fill key roles.
7. Southern Utah — The Thunderbirds will be a young team this season with six freshman and two sophomores. Davis Baker (17.4 points and 4.5 rebounds) and Jake Nielson (5.8 points) are the only returning players, who logged significant minutes last season.
8. Western Illinois — Head coach Jim Molinari is hoping for a better second season after the Leathernecks lost four of their last five and missed the conference tournament last season. WIU lost its two leading scorers (David DuBois and Josh Rivers) to graduation so Molinari will look to players like Ceola Clark (7.7 points), David Nurse (8.4 points), Quenton Kirby (6.0 points) and Tommie Tyler (3.4 points) to carry the load.
9. UMKC — The Kangaroos certainly want to forget last season, which saw them finish dead last in the Summit League. UMKC has a two promising young players in Spencer Johnson (10.7 points and 6.6 rebounds), Latreze Mushatt (9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds). The Kangaroos are also hoping Evansville transfer Jay Couisnard can come in and contribute right away.
10. Centenary — The Gents are likely in for a long season as they prepare to drop down to Division 3 and are not eligible for the conference tournament this season. Promising young players Chase Adams and Gary Redus have transferred away. Key players for the Gents this season will likely be Maxx Nakwaasah, David Perez, Daman Starring and Jerald Bonham.