NC Central Men’s Basketball Roster Breakdown

After a rare ESPN telecast of MEAC competitors, I wanted to analyze both the Delaware State Hornets and the NC Central Eagles.  Check my last blog post for the Hornets breakdown.  Here are my thoughts on the Eagles.

NC Central is not a small team.  They have six guys listed at 6′ 7″ or taller.  This is not a surprise, as recruiting comes easier with a popular coach, 30 game home winning streak and tournament appearance.   There are all seniors and juniors in the starting lineup.

I was surprised in watching its home game against Delaware State, that the Eagles couldn’t capitalize on a ton of turnovers to ever take a commanding lead.  Cheap fouls, sloppy turnovers, missed layups, (even an airball) were hallmarks of this game.

NC Central runs a motion offense with a lot of high ball screens and curls at the top of the key.

Jordan Parks (No. 2) shoots great FG%, averages above 15 points per game.  Parks was the recipient of two alley ooop tosses in the first few possessions against Delaware State.

Jeremiah Ingram is a lean but powerful shooting guard.  Ingram dunked a few times with authority against Delaware State.  Ingram is 6′ 7.”  His aggression might even cost him a charging foul in the lane.

Lamar transfer NImrad Hilliard (No. 11) leads his conference in assist and can get to the basket himself.  He was previously on academic probation.

Karamo Jawara has a big body and defends well (especially while floating for a double-team).  Jawara is definitely this team’s “enforcer.”  He is less of an offensive threat.  I was shocked to see Jawara take two three point shots late in the game.  In the first 21 games, he had attempted 41 three pointers, making 34%.

Jamal Ferguson (No. 20) is a sophomore guard and Marquette transfer.  Not sure what the deal was with Marquette, but he is said to have been highly touted out of high school and has upside.

The Eagles end-of-game lineup was as follows:  Jamal Ferguson, Karamo Jawara, Anthony McDonald, Jordan Parks and Nimrod Hilliard.  McDonald hit what would turn out to be the game-winning three pointer.

I don’t think this Eagles team is as good as last year’s team.

Click here to see the full team roster. 

Delaware State Basketball team roster breakdown

Delaware State

This team played at NC Central as it held third place in the MEAC conference (Norfolk State in 2nd) late January.  The Hornets are efficient on offense. They start all upperclassman with exception of one sophomore.

Delaware State looked unafraid as it took several uncontested jump shots early in the shot clock in a game’s start against NC Central.  The guards are loose cannons when it comes to distributing and running the offense.  I witnessed a lot of adrenaline turnovers.  As the game progressed, I was still waiting for Delaware State to run an offense involving feeding the post.  Hornets have way too many unforced turnovers (9 in 17 minutes in the NC Central game).  They also missed a number of layups and chip shots.

Kendall Gray (No. 1) is top five in the nation in rebounding.   He is listed at 6′ 10.”  ESPN broadcaster Stan Lewter says that he has improved from “just a back-to-the basket scorer.”  Gray uses the shot fake often and has decent mid-range touch.  Gray is the all-time shot block leader in Hornets history.  He runs the floor well, finishing with ease on a touch tip-in after trailing on a fast break.  Gray got himself in foul trouble in the game I saw.  Gray only fouled out of one game this season (as of January 30th).

Amere May (No. 44) is an instant-offense type of guy.  He is a 6′ 3″ senior who scored 48 points against Saint Francis (I know) and 32 in an upset of Wake Forest.

Tyshawn Bell is the guy who really jumped out to me.  He is 6′ 7,” can handle the ball in congestion, defends larger players and fills the stat sheet.  He also stayed in the game by guarding wisely.  Bell also hits 3’s with ease (38% on the season after 91 attempts).

Kendall Gray’s guards also allow him to get lost in the offense.  After seeing a game filled with not feeding its NBA prospect, I kept count of how many touches Kendall Gray received in the final five minutes at NC Central.

Possessions with touches: 1) Got to the free-throw line because of a foul away from ball (3:33) although he technically didn’t touch the ball on a possession

Possession without touches: 1) Mays turnover trying to pass to Williams (4:55) 2) Williams step-back three made (4:21) 3) Fast-break drive by DeAndre Haywood led to free-throws (2:56) 4) Failed to feed Gray posting up on the block before Tyshawn Bell hit a late-clock three (1:47) 5) Ironically threw to ball to Gray as the shot clock was already expired (:46) 6) Mays misses a fall-away jump-shot 7) Mays fouled on a missed, desperation three pointer.  Mays missed two of three free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining to lose the game by a point.

Because we all root for teams like Delaware State to compete in March, there is good news.  The formula is fixable.  Feed the NBA prospect the rock.  Only fifty teams in the nation have more turnovers than Delaware State (ranking 290th, that’s bad).  The Hornets are also only 226th overall in assists per game.  If this is going challenge in a March Madness 1-16, 2-15 pairing, May or Gray would have to get red hot.

Click here to see the full roster.