LOCATION: Houston, Texas
CONFERENCE: Southwestern Athletic (SWAC)
LAST SEASON: 8-19 (.296)
CONFERENCE RECORD: 6-10 (6th)
STARTERS LOST/RETURNING: 2/3
COLORS: Maroon & Gray
HOMECOURT: Physical Education Arena (7,500)
COACH: Robert Moreland (Tougaloo '62)
record at school 376-316 (24 years)
career record 376-316 (24 years)
ASSISTANTS: Chris Parker (Abilene Christian '91)|
Kevin Adams (Texas Southern '98)
TEAM WINS: (last 5 years) 22-11-12-15-8
RPI (last 5 years) 110-256-256-214-287
1998-99 FINISH: Lost in conference quarterfinal.
Texas Southern was supposed to be one of the teams to beat in the Southwestern Athletic Conference a year ago. Instead, the Tigers, winners of seven SWAC championships in the 1990s, hit rock bottom, posting their worst record under legendary coach Robert Moreland. "We were extremely disappointed in the season we had," Moreland said. "It was probably the most disappointing season of my life. We returned eight experienced lettermen from a championship team that we expected a great deal from and it just didn't materialize." The Tigers, slowed by a rash of injuries, lost nine of their first 10 games and never recovered. Texas Southern ranked last in the league in scoring (64.7), sixth in scoring margin (minus-6.4), fourth in field-goal percentage (.414), first in free-throw percentage (.689) and last in three-point field goal percentage (.250). The Tigers were fourth in the league in scoring defense (71.1), eighth in field-goal percentage defense (.447), fifth in rebounding margin (minus-2.3) and eighth in three-pointers. (3.74). If Texas Southern is going to turn around this season, five returnees, led by senior center Ifey Anyanwu (12 ppg, 6.3 rpg) will have to lead the way with help from a talented recruiting class.
"We have made the adjustments and are eager to move forward," Moreland said. A 6-7, 240-pounder, Anyanwu shot 53 percent from the field last season, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and field-goal percentage. Forward Derick Malone (8.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and guard Patrick Dyse (8.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg) are also back after starting last year. Malone, 6-6, 195, started 18 of 25 games while shooting 53 percent from the field and a team-high 83 percent from the free-throw line. Dyse, 6-3, 195, started 19 of 27 games. Texas Southern also returns 6-6 sophomore guard Harold Boston (3.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg) and 6-9 junior forward Rahmeen Underwood (3.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg), who played in just 10 games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee for the second straight year. Eight newcomers, including three junior college transfers, will likely decide the Tigers' fate this season. "We brought in a very good recruiting class that I feel, with our returnees, gives us the talent that will come in and work hard and have a positive impact on our program," Moreland said. Sophomore forward Cedric Crawford (16.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 4.6 bpg), sat out last season at Dickinson High School. Crawford, 6-9, 210, will be joined up front by freshman Cameron Rowe, 6-8, 245, the son of former UCLA and ex-NBA star Curtis Rowe. Cameron Rowe (12.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 31. bpg) led Pearland High School to the region playoffs last year. Crawford won't be eligible until second semester, but he's hard worker and a fine young man, Moreland said. Three newcomers will vie for playing time at the shooting-guard position. Raymond Appleberry, a 6-3, 200-pound transfer from Holmes Community College, averaged 14.7 ppg and shot 36 percent from three-point land. Steve Hoyer, 6-2, 170, averaged 15.2 ppg and shot 37 percent from three-point territory. He led Penn Valley Community College (Mo.) to the regional championship game. Freshman Chris Miller, 6-3, 220, was a first-team all-state selection at Silsbee, Texas, after averaging 22.2 ppg and 12 rpg while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc. The point-guard position will be up for grabs with Leland Redmond (10.4 ppg, 3.5 apg) gone. Ricky Bennett, 6-2, 175, who played alongside NBA lottery pick Jonathan Bender, averaged 17.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 7.3 apg last year at Picayune (Miss.) High School. Mike Smith, 5-8, 165, and Marquel Timmons, 5-10,155, will also be in the mix. While Moreland said the Tigers' talent has improved, somebody will have to step forward to provide the right kind of guidance. "Leadership will be a key," Moreland said. "I think the desire will be there and the right mix of players will find itself, but having someone step up in a leadership role will be key." The schedule is another difficult one. In addition to its SWAC schedule, Texas Southern will take on non-conference opponents Iowa, Brigham Young and Lamar University.
Blue Ribbon Analysis
BACKCOURT C BENCH/DEPTH C|
FRONTCOURT B INTANGIBLES B
Texas Southern could be better. A solid nucleus returns, but Moreland said those players were part of the problem last year. If the returnees provide the experience and the newcomers do their job, Texas Southern will have a say in terms of who wins the SWAC.
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