Oct. 30, 2017

Men’s basketball will begin new chapter under recently hired Felton

Cleveland State University will enter a new era of basketball this year under new coach Dennis Felton, who replaces Gary Waters who retired last spring. Waters coached the team from 2006-17.

This is Felton’s third go-around as a head coach in college basketball with previous stops in Western Kentucky University as well as the University of Georgia. He was the head man in Western Kentucky from 1998 through 2003. He then went on to Georgia from 2003 through 2009. Felton has accumulated 187 wins to 154 losses as a head coach.

The Vikings will attempt to improve its 5-13 Horizon league record as well as the teams overall record of 9-22 in the 2016-17 season. The team will need to improve in a number of areas. The Vikings averaged 67.2 points per game last season, which was ranked 300 in NCAA division 1 basketball. The team also ranked only 299th in rebounding and a dismal 336th in assists per game. Stats via ESPN.com

Cleveland State also lost two of its top three leading scorers from last season. Demonte Flannigan graduated and Rob Edwards transferred to Arizona State.

The team’s top returning scorer is senior guard Bobby Word who averaged 11.1 points per game last season for the Vikings.

The Vikings will take on two teams that made it to the second round of the 2017 NCAA March Madness tournament in non-conference play: the Cincinnati Bearcats and Michigan State Spartans.

The Vikings take on the Cincinnati Bearcats on Thursday, Dec. 21 in Cincinnati. In the preseason coaches’ poll, the Bearcats are ranked thirteen after finishing last season with a 30-6 record overall. The team will return its top three scorers from last season.

Top scorer Jacob Evans averaged 13.5 points per game along with 4 rebounds per game. Kyle Washington, is a senior forward for the team averaged 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds for the team. Gary Clark, another senior forward averaged 10.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last season for the Bearcats.

The Bearcats were also a stingy defensive team last year, holding their opponents to 61.3 points per game, good for eighth in all of college basketball.

The Vikings will also take on the Michigan State Spartans on Friday, Dec. 29 in East Lansing.

The Spartans will start the season number 2 in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Spartans will return their top scorer and potential lottery pick, Miles Bridges.

Bridges returned to Michigan State for his sophomore year and averaged 16.9 points per game last season along with 8.3 rebounds.

Bridges was named preseason Big Ten Player of the Year and part of the preseason All-Big Ten team.

The Spartans are also bringing in a ESPN top 10 recruit in Jaren Jackson. Jackson was also being named preseason Freshman of the Year

. Cleveland State’s first regular season game with tip off on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. against the University of Akron Zips.


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