Thursday, August 5, 2010

We have nothing else so here's an LT preview

The movers (too bad the shakers are disappearing) have aided the graduating players in departing and assisted the newbies coming to Ruston and, yes, they've been quite busy. Of course, this means Coach Kerry Rupp no longer has the services of Magnum Rolle, Kyle Gibson, Jamel Guyton and David Jackson available. That grouping is a big-time loss -- the top three scorers and top three rebounders who paved the way to a 24-11 overall and 9-7 conference records.

Now, just five talents with D-1 and WAC experience dot the roster and seven new players have signed letters-of-intent.

Chalk up LA TECH as yet another WAC squad next to impossible to decipher for the 2010-2011 season. The Bulldogs will have a brand new team personality.


Anson Bartlett
6-foot-3 175 guard junior        

A walk-on with athletic and skill limitations but one who has produced -- try 30 steals, an even assist-to-turnover ratio and right next to a 40% shooting percentage in 2009-2010. Any WAC coach will salivate over such a contribution from a non-scholarship player. Bartlett played just under 10 minutes a game and that will probably be reduced in the coming season due to the numerous backcourt signees.

DeAndre Brown 5-foot-11 160 guard junior

Rupp needs Brown to up his shooting percentages (42, 29 and 69) plus reduce his turnover total (94 versus 119 assists). He was tops on the squad in minutes played so the experience is there and now he must expand his role to being a team leader or co-leader.

Brandon Gibson 6-foot-5 225 guard redshirt sophomore

He's big, can play physical and could really help the Bulldogs but he has to remain healthy. A broken foot early on ended his play last season. We seem to recall him also getting injured during the WAC tourney his freshman season. The development of outside-shooting ability would make him very tough to defend.

Stojan Gjuroski 6-foot-7 190 forward NJ HS

Possibly a redshirt candidate? His numbers were not all that impressive as a prepster so we're estimating he will need more time in order to make the transition to D-1 ball. His solid shooting stroke has been mentioned more than once.

Holton Hunsaker 6-foot-0 180 guard freshman UT HS

He wasn't a castaway (try an LDS mission) but found himself in Fiji for the past couple of years. Now, he's back, having turned 21 and ready to resume playing basketball. There has to be some rust and certainly inexperience, so let's place him as Brown's backup for the 2010-2011 season.

Kenyon McNeaill 6-foot-0 180 guard freshman AR HS

Here is another freshman point (a couple of years ago, the Bulldogs didn't have a single scholarshipped point on the roster) so watch for who edges ahead between Hunsaker and McNeaill. The latter also has the skills to play the two spot but that would make for a mighty small Bulldog backcourt.

Darius Redding 6-4 205 forward sophomore

He's a superb athlete who needs to show more of an extended shooting range than demonstrated so far, along with better ball skills.

Jamison Sterns 6-foot-0 210 guard freshman TX HS

Reports on his weight have ranged across the spectrum but he is a two guard with major hops and excellent shooting range. It would really help Tech's chances in the coming season if Sterns can contribute right away because point production is a team need.


Olu Ashaolu
6-7 220 guard/forward junior

Early on in the season, he flashed supernova abilities in some games with the posting of quality double-doubles but that petered out as the season wore on. Still, we'll make a not so difficult prediction and type that Ashaolu averages a double-double in 2010-2011 (for those keeping track, Fresno States' Greg Smith is our other candidate for earning such an honor). But Ashaolu has to improve upon his shooting range and accuracy as his numbers dip each step away from the basket (53% overall, 25% on trey attempts and 57% from the foul line). He's a better offensive boarder than defensively. Upgrading his ball skills would dramatically increase his effectiveness and how defenses play him.
James Johnson 6-foot-7 215 forward freshman CA HS

An athletic lefty who will need to extend his game in college. The questions needing answering: can he play at the four spot in the WAC or is he actually a wing-type or can he do both? Getting away from the basket will require a ball skills upgrade.

Antwond Roshell 6-foot-10 260 center junior John A. Logan JC, ILL

He brings big-time size and determination and some rebounding ability. -- just don't expect point production. He and New Mexico State's Hamidu Rahman will make for a sumo-type in-the-paint matchup.

Romario Souza 6-foot-9 240 forward junior Southern Idaho JC

His best attribute is his nice shooting range -- 82% at the foul line -- with excellent range to 18-feet facing the basket. Being used in such a manner was apparently the major LT selling point for Souza as he doesn't want to be stationed in the paint.

As mentioned,Kerry Rupp needs point producers to replace the departed seniors. Ashaolu's and Brown's points-per-game averages will be higher in 2010-2011 but a solid outside shooter to add to the pair is a prerequisite.

Our projected Bulldog starting five:

* Antwon Roshell
* Romario Souza
* Olu Ashaolu
* Jamison Sterns
* DeAndre Brown

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