Can Dennis Gates lead the Vikings back to the top of the Horizon League?
Cleveland State lost a lot and brought back very little from the 2018-2019 season to the 2019 season. First up the new look coaching staff. Former Head Coach Dennis Felton is out after two seasons with a record of 22-44 in that time. Assistant coaches Lou Dawkins, Bryan Tibaldi and Sam Ferry are also out the door. Only players that are returning are seniors Kasheem Thomas and Jaalam Hill, junior Algevon Eichelberger, and sophomore Deante “Spider” Johnson.
Thomas plays mostly guard and averaged 5.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 28 games played and started in 17 of them. Hill is a forward and averaged 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 28 games played, were he started in 18 of them. Eichelberger is also a forward and he played in 31 games and started in 12 of them averaging 5.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.6 assists. Johnson is a forward played in 29 games and started in 4 of them averaging 2.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists.
New Head Coach Dennis Gates has brought in a brunch of new players in after only having four players return. The new coaching staff includes Rob Summers, Dru Joyce, Ryan Sharbaugh, Dickey Nutt, Chase Goldstein and Steve Wright. The newcomers as for the players included sophomore Tyrese Potoma from Regina, Saskatchewan. Craig Beaudion is a junior and is from Chicago, Illinois. Franklyn Penn, Jr. is from the Virgin Island and is a junior. Tre GoMillion from Augusta, Georgia and is a sophomore. Hugo Ferreira is a freshman and from Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal. Daylen Williams is from Los Angeles, California and is also a freshman. Torrey Patton is an Ohio native from Dayton and is a junior. Senior Jalen Williams is from Greenville, South Carolina.
Potoma, Beaudion, Penn Jr, GoMillion and Ferreira are all guards. Daylen and Jalen are forwards and Patton can switch between guard and forward.
There are many lineups Gates can throw out. If he wants experience:
G: Thomas – G: Patton/Beaudion/Penn, Jr – F: Hill/Johnson – F: Johnson/J. Williams – C: Eichelberger/J. Williams
If he wants to go small ball/multiple guard lineup:
G: Potoma – G: Thomas – F: Ferreira – F: Hill/D. Williams – C: J. Williams/Eichelberger
Going small should definitely push the pace.
If he wants to go big:
G: GoMillion/Beaudion G: Patton F: Johnson F: D. Williams – C: J. Williams/Eichelberger
If he wants to go young for the future: G: Potoma – G: Ferreira – F: GoMillion – F: Johnson – C: D. Williams
Well, the outlook on this team is not well known. With such a bunch of new pieces from the coaching staff and the players, they could struggle to get off the ground. There will definitely be a bunch of ups and downs. However, this team could take the league by storm. If they can develop good chemistry and have well rounded offensive and defensive system, they can dominate this league. Teams do not have tape on them. So, they will not know how they play and how to defend and attack them.
The Vikings will end the season as the seventh or eighth seed. They will have gotten it together by the end of the season ripping of multiple wins heading into the tournament. Where they will make it to at least the quarterfinal.
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