Cleveland State Vikings 2020-21 Season Preview

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Vikings primed for improved season under second-year head coach Dennis Gates.

The Cleveland State Vikings men’s basketball team comes into the 2020-2021 season with a lot of promise. Now second year head coach Dennis Gates has seemingly laid the foundation for an eventual turnaround of the program. Last year, the Vikings were universally picked to finish at the bottom of the Horizon League. CSU was counting on many unknown players at the time for heavy contributions. Through the leadership of Gates, the Vikings won seven conference games, which landed them seventh, out of ten teams in the Horizon League. With an additional two teams added to the league this year, the Vikings are well equipped to improve on their seventh place finish from a year ago.

Newcomers

D’Moi Hodge – Hodge was an extremely decorated scorer at the State College of Florida, as he averaged 22.3 points per game on over 45% shooting from the floor over two seasons. According to the Junior College Recruiting Rankings, Hodge was the eleventh best junior college player last season.

Alec Oglesby – A three star recruit out of The Rock School in Gainesville Florida, Oglesby should be contributor from day one. His three point shooting prowess will be a welcomed addition for the Vikings, who struggled mightily from behind the arc last season.

Chris Greene – The 6-foot-8 wing will provide the Vikings with length and athleticism on the perimeter. With the Vikings carrying a large number of pure guards, Greene should figure into the wing rotation in some capacity. Greene averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per night while hitting over 40 percent of his 3-pointers.

Jayson Woodrich – Despite earning Division III First Team All-Ohio honors in 2019, Woodrich failed to garner any Division I scholarship offers and opted to spend a prep. year at Scotland Campus in Pennsylvania. He posted strong enough numbers there to garner interest from Rick Pitino at Iona, but the 6-foot-7 wing opted to return home to play for Cleveland State. It was a huge commitment for Dennis Gates, as in order to continue their successful turnaround the Vikings will need to be able to land impact players from Cleveland. Gates clearly sought to address the team’s shooting woes from 2020, and Woodrich will provide the Vikings with another 3-point sniper.

Mabor Majak – The 7-foot-2 Majak was the lone big man recruited to play for an undersized Vikings roster. He could also see some minutes this season, and will be tested in practices being matched up with fellow big man Al Eichelberger.

Lineup

Craig Beaudion – The senior proved last season that he should have the inside track on the team’s starting point guard job. Beaudion appeared in 24 games for the Vikings last season, earning ten starts, before suffering a knee injury which sidelined him for the remainder of the season. The guard averaged over 10 points per game in addition to over three assists and nearly two steals per contest last year.

D’Moi Hodge – The Junior College All-American should earn the starting shooting guard spot for a Cleveland State team that lacked an outside punch a season ago. Hodge will become one of the leaders for the Vikings, as his scoring prowess should help CSU improve on their seventh place finish.

Tre Gomillion – Despite the backcourt beginning to take shape, the small forward spot is a bit of a question mark. The Vikings could opt to start three guards, which many other teams around the Horizon League might do, given their roster construction. If this is the case, the Vikings will most certainly include junior Tre Gomillion in their starting lineup. Gomillion started in all of CSU’s games last season, averaging just over eighth points per game and nearly five rebounds. Returning starters are extremely valuable to a team, so do not be surprised to see Gomillion remain in that role this season.

Torrey Patton– Patton is coming off of a breakout season in which he averaged nearly twelve points per game and six rebounds. Patton also led the Vikings in three point field goal percentage, shooting just over 42% on the year. While Patton might be considered undersized to play power forward, he proved last season he could handle the physical nature of inside play.

Algevon Eichelberger – The HoriZone Roundtable Preseason All-League pick led the Vikings in scoring and rebounding last year, averaging 14.5 points per game in addition to over six rebounds. Eichelberger will be relied upon heavily, as many consider him to be the heart and soul of the team.

Outlook

Overall, the Cleveland State Vikings have the necessary tools to be one of the surprises this year in the Horizon League. The Vikings will be able to utilize a plethora of guards, in addition to the veterans down low. It will be especially interesting to see how Gates plans to use his bench, as he has many capable shot makers at his disposal; something he did not have last year. The Vikings will be an incredibly deep team this season, and it is still unclear how far Gates will go down his bench for minutes. Foul trouble should not doom the Vikings as much this year as it has in seasons past.

Prediction: 4th Place

Miss anything from Preview Week(s)? Check it all out below:

Predictions
HoriZone Roundtable Preseason PollPreseason All-League Teams
If we had an All-Newcomer Team…All-Freshman Team Picks

Team Previews
Wright StateYoungstown StateRobert MorrisUIC
OaklandNorthern KentuckyDetroit MercyGreen Bay
Purdue Fort WayneMilwaukeeIUPUI

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