Men’s basketball personnel changes
The logical starting place when considering a new season for a team is to look back at that team’s previous season, and that’s where we begin our men’s basketball coverage.
In Charles Ramsey’s fifth year as head coach, the Eagles rebounded from a disappointing season the year before (8-24; 6-10 MAC) to resume their upward trend and earn Ramsey his first winning season as a head coach. It was a fairly steady effort all season, with the Eagles never winning more than three or losing more than two consecutive games, en route to a 17-15 (8-8 MAC) final record, their best in more than a decade. Carlos Medlock and Brandon Bowdry were each chosen twice as MACWDPotW, and were each named second-team All-MAC players.
From that team, the Eagles have lost their #1 and #3 scorers (Medlock and Justin Dobbins, respectively), who combined to average 29 points per game, 37% of EMU’s scoring. They’ve also lost junior guard L.J. Frazier, a native Ypsilantian, to a torn ACL.
Fortunately, Ramsey seems to have had little trouble reloading.
Adrian Burton is a sophomore point guard. A Detroiter who graduated from Cooley High School, Burton returns to southeast Michigan after playing at Kankakee (IL) Community College last year, where he averaged 9.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. He was solid from beyond the arc last year, making 40% of his three-point attempts, but his ratio of 1.4 turnovers per assist suggests that his ball handling skill may need some work. He also did not shoot terribly well from a shorter range, making just 47% of his two-point attempts, and his free-throw shooting was an abysmal 49%.
Burton is likely to play behind Darrell Lampley, another JUCO transfer. Lampley is a junior guard, who played at Lakeland (OH) Community College last year. Lampley averaged 17.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. He averaged a much more respectable 2.55 assists per turnover while making 36% of his 3-point shots, 47% of his 2-point shots, and 78% of his free-throws.
Sophomore guard Derek Thompson, another Detroiter, from Melvindale High School, has transferred to EMU from Southeast Missouri State. Because SEMO is a Division I team, Thompson will be required to sit out a year before playing unless the NCAA approves a hardship waiver. According to Charles Ramsey, “[h]is family is facing some major health challenges and having Derek close to home will ease some of those burdens.” Personally, I tend to assume that all such waivers will be declined; that way instead of being disappointed when an athlete doesn’t get to play, I’m pleasantly surprised if they do.
The final newcomer for the Eagles is Kenny Stewart, a sophomore forward who transferred from Weatherford (TX) Community College, where he averaged 8.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game last year. Stewart figures to play a backup role behind returning starters Jay Higgins (8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists per game last year) and of course Brandon Bowdry.
With the loss of Medlock and Dobbins from last year’s team, Bowdry figures to be the star in this, his senior year. A pre-season All-MAC selection again this year, Bowdry averaged 16.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game last year, the only player in the MAC to average a double-double. Opposing defenses are sure to focus on him, which may open up scoring opportunities for other players.