I don't think Simmons or Ingram is some kind of franchise savior. Simmons is a great fit as a 4 in the modern NBA though because he can guard inside and on the perimeter, rebound, handle the ball like a guard, and score inside. Even if he never develops a reliable jumper, he is still going to be a very valuable player. I see him as a better version of Draymond Green who can create offense on his own much better than Green.
Murray State Racers (Last Year: 31-2, 15-1 in OVC)
2012-13 Projected Depth Chart:
F/C: Brandon Garrett (Sr)/Zay Henderson (Fr)
F: Edward Daniel (Sr)/Tyler Rambo (Fr)/Eric McCree (Fr)/Terron Gilmore (Fr)
G/F: Latreze Mushatt (Sr)/Stacy Wilson (Sr)
SG: Dexter Fields (Jr)/Jeffrey Moss (Fr)
PG: Isaiah Canaan (Sr)/C.J. Ford (Fr)
Gone: F/C-Ivan Aska, SG-Jewuan Long, G/F-Donte Poole, SG-Jaylen Bland (transfer), C-Harley Nussman (transfer-St. Edward University)
2011-12 was a banner year for the Murray State basketball program; posting a 31-2 overall record and winning the team's third straight Ohio Valley Conference. Even though the Racers lose three starters and one key reserve, Steve Prohm returns All-American Isaiah Canaan and Murray State are still the team to beat in the OVC.
With the school making it's name on the national scene last year, so, too, did Canaan. He is a dynamic scorer who shot a scorching 46% from distance last year, and his deciding not to enter the 2012 NBA Draft was a huge sigh of relief for Prohm since he loses starting wings Jewuan Long and Donte Poole.
UAB transfer Dexter Fields and key reserve Latreze Mushatt will step into the starting lineup as a result. Mushatt made the most of his opportunities last season in his first year with the Racers after transferring in from UMKC. Fields will hope to do the same this year due to his ability to light it up from distance.
The guard depth took a major hit when backup point guard Zay Jackson was suspended for the season due to an off-the-court incident in which he hit two people with his car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Ergo, Stacy Wilson should see a larger role off the bench with freshman C.J. Ford and Jeffrey Moss needing to factor into the equation right away.
The Racers also have to replace four-year contributor Ivan Aska inside. Ed Daniel will need to play a bigger role inside and is the type of player who every coach would love to have due to how hard he plays and the infectious energy he brings to the floor. Daniel is simply somebody who cannot be judged by his stats because of all the little things he does to help his team win.
Brandon Garrett should step in to replace Aska in the starting lineup. At 6-9, he's the tallest Racer, but doesn't bring a lot of physicality to the floor. There isn't a lot of height on the bench and zero experience when it comes to frontcourt depth. Redshirt freshman Tyler Rambo will compete for minutes with three true freshmen: Erik McCree, Zay Henderson, and Terron Gilmore.
I certainly don't expect Murray State to put together a repeat performance of last season, and the team will see better competition in the OVC with the addition of Belmont. Fun fact though: the Racers' last losing season was 26 years ago, and Prohm will have no problem extending that streak this year.
Player to Watch: Isaiah Canaan, PG
I'm interested to see how the loss of Jackson will affect Canaan. The pair spent a lot of time playing together in the backcourt, and Jackson's presence on the floor allowed Canaan to play off the ball a little bit. Cannan's workload will increase even more this year, and he'll have to score more while also being a better distributor for the Racers to be a real threat on the national scene like they were last year.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 vs. Auburn (Charleston Classic)
11/16 vs. St. John's/Charleston (Charleston Classic)
11/18 vs. Baylor/Boston College/Dayton/Colorado (Charleston Classic)