Large crop of newcomers could change Titans’ fortunes this year
The 2020-2021 Detroit Titans have a totally different team than when the team last played in 2020. After five players transferred out and seven new players joined the team, it seems like Detroit Mercy might finally have the pieces around Antoine Davis to make things interesting in the Horizon League.
Justin Miller — the team’s lone graduated senior — is also the only double-digit scorer that the Titans will need to replace this year. A highly-touted incoming power conference graduate transfer seems more than up to the task. Three other Division I transfers — plus a fourth pending a waiver for immediate eligibility — give the team a veteran core that could be a big step up from what we’ve seen under Mike Davis so far if this strange season gives them time to jell.
Kyle LeGreair – LeGreair was an all-state first-team selection in 2020. The Cass Tech product comes in undersized, but he reportedly put in work over the quarantine to bulk up. He likely takes a backseat until at least 2021, but he’s a high-upside player. The only question is whether he can fill out to be a Division I point guard.
Marquell Fraser – The 6-foot-3 guard from Hamilton, Ontario spent his first year of college basketball ball at VCU before transferring to Midland College, where he was an all-conference selection. He played the last two years at Idaho. His first season was cut short by injury. Last year he had 7.1 points per contest, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per contest. Fraser made 13 starts for a subpar Idaho team last season. He will be an option to play PG and allow Antoine Davis to move to more of a shooting guard role.
Taurean Thompson – At one time Thompson was playing games vs. Duke on ESPN. His freshmen year at Syracuse, he averaged 9.2 points per contest with 3.9 rebounds. He had a career-high 22 points vs. Boston College. He played the last two years at Seton Hall but never really got into the rotation. He only appeared in one contest last year. He has a super high ceiling and has played at the highest level; it will be interesting to see how he does vs. the Horizon League.
Bul Kuol – A 6’7 lanky forward that transferred from Cal Baptist. He shoots the three at a high percentage, injures have plagued his college career. After watching his media day interview, it’s quick to see why the Coaches targeted him: he’s a leader. With so many new players, it’s vital this team has a leader outside of Davis.
Matt Johnson – Johnson is a 6-foot-4 transfer from Saint Bonaventure. He appeared in 23 games with the Bonies, making one start. He averaged 1.6 points in 8.8 minutes per game. Johnson could be another option to allow Davis to play off-ball.
Noah Waterman is the final transfer. He is 6-foot-11 with the ability to handle like a guard, and he shoots the three well. He’s most likely the hidden gem of this recruiting class, though he’s waiting on a waiver. If the waiver is granted, his playing style might remind Horizon League fans of Alec Peters.
Antoine Davis Davis is the Titans’ unquestioned star and one of the best players in the Horizon League. He was fourth in the country and led the Horizon League in scoring with 24.3 points per contest. He was at times less effective than in his freshman year. Head Coach Mike Davis has hinted he was injured, though some will say he was figured out by teams in the league. Davis is on track to break every Titan scoring record if he plays four years.
Brad Calipari – The 3point specialist was good for two made 3-point shots and a rebound per contest. Calipari can shoot the lights out from three and has a super high basketball IQ. Outside of the game vs. Toledo, we really didn’t get to see him do much. He was made the focal point in the offense and a lot of screens were set from him that game. He tallied 20 points and three boards in that contest. Dwayne Rose Jr. could also be in the mix for this spot, though he seems like a great sixth man option to spell Davis off the bench.
Willy Isiani – The 6’8 forward from Georgia has become a fan favorite over his first two years. He has done a majority of his shooting from behind the arc. Hopefully, the new-look roster will allow him to play more of a small forward role; with playing back to back games in conference play, expect to see a decent dose of Isiani.
Chris Brandon – Brandon was a defensive stopper last year with 8.1 rebounds a game and 44 blocks. He was good for a handful of highlight reel plays a game. However, he has had to play out of position due to roster issues. Chris is 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds. He clearly lacks size to play center. The way this year’s roster is made up he probably won’t have to take cheap fouls and the coaching staff can put him in place to better use his athleticism. He was super effective when he did shoot last season, good for 63.4% from the field. Brandon could be an all-conference player if deployed correctly.
Taurean Thompson – Thompson is the space-eating player the coaching staff felt they needed. He’s 6-foot-11 and 235 pounds, and can cause substantial matchup problems with most teams in the league.
With so many new additions, Antoine Davis finally has a team around him that could be competitive in the Horizon League. Thompson should provide a consistent second option and the rest of the newcomers should allow for a lot more versatility than in previous seasons. If everything breaks right for the Titans, the team could contend this season. A Top 4 finish isn’t out of the question.
Prediction: 8th Place