Pilots Look to Reload: Men's Basketball Season Preview
November 05, 2008In 2007-08, the LSUS Pilots won a school-record 31 games, while capturing both the GCAC regular season and tournament championships. Although the Pilots will have to replace four starters off of last year’steam, including two All-Americans, the 2008-09 roster is reloaded with the talent necessary to continue the winning tradition at LSUS.
LSUS only returns one starter in 2008-09, point guard Jared Stevenson, but several other players who played significant minutes from off the bench last season will look to fill even bigger roles this season. Seniors Chris Gatlin and Clarke Jackson are both long, athletic guards with the ability to play either the 3 or 4 position, providing the Pilots with much-needed experience and leadership. Power forward Jay Lincoln and guards Gabe Hall and Sam Williams each saw limited action last season, but will be called upon for expanded roles in 2008-09 following outstanding offseasons on the court and in the weightroom.
Even though the Pilots lost nearly 80% of its offensive production from a year ago, LSUS Head Coach Chad McDowell believes he has some players who are very capable of stepping into more of a scoring role this season.
“Although we lost two All-Americans in Josh Porter and Jamon Morris and an All-Conference player in Travis Cash, we still have several guys returning this year who are very capable of scoring the basketball,” commented McDowell. “Jared Stevenson proved his is able to fill that role after leading our team in scoring last year at the National Tournament, while Chris Gatlin and Clarke Jackson each had a couple of big scoring games last season from off the bench.”
Also stepping in this season to help fill the scoring void left behind by Porter, Morris and Cash will be a slew of newcomers who will look to make waves in a Pilots uniform this season.
Senior transfer Tyrone Hamilton from Centenary College headlines a five-man recruiting class that features three NCAA Division-1 transfers, including 6’9 post Brandon Mims (La. Tech) and shooting guard John Anthony Anglin (Northwestern St.). Hamilton averaged 17 points per game last season for the Gents, while shooting over 39% from the three-point line. Hamilton led Centenary in scoring as a sophomore and junior, and was named to the All-Mid Continent Newcomer Team after averaging 12 points per game as a freshman. Mims will provide the Pilots with a presence in the paint, as the shot-blocking specialist gained valuable experience last season in 23 games played at Louisiana Tech. Anglin appeared in 17 games last season with the Demons, and is a deadly three-point shooter (57% in 07-08).
In addition to the three D-1 transfers, LSUS has also added 6’7 post Derrick Parker from Minden High School (La.) and Demondray Robinson from Southern in Shreveport. Parker was a Class 4A All-State, All-Parish and District 1-4A MVP selection following a senior season in which he averaged over 26 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks per game. Robinson prepped at Bossier High School before playing two seasons at Southern, and will provide much needed depth to the Pilots roster this season.
McDowell is extremely excited about this year’s recruiting class, and is confident that he and his staff have addressed the needs of this year’s team with these five newcomers.
“With this year’s class, we have added more scoring, size and athleticism to our team,” said McDowell. “Also, adding a player of Tyrone Hamilton’s caliber to our roster immediately gives us a chance to have another special season here at LSUS.”
With the return of a solid, core group of players and the addition of several big-time impact players, LSUS basketball will once again be a treat to follow in the 2008-09 season. The revamped LSUS roster features more size, speed and athleticism than in seasons past, which should provide the fans with yet another season of exciting, up-tempo, high-flying Pilot basketball. The Pilots have been accustomed to winning GCAC championships and being a Top-10 NAIA program over the last four seasons, and 2008-09 should be no different.
The Pilots will open up the regular season at home on Thursday night versus the Paul Quinn College Tigers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at The Dock.