Monday, August 29, 2011

Who is Z Man?

Click here for the full story. is running a weekly series on each of the newcomers to the Mocs roster this year. Each week, when the story posts on Monday, I will give my reaction to each player, and give my opinion on how much they will contribute in 2011-12.

Zaccheus Mason (who wishes to be called Z, and therefore will be called such, because a man of his size is allowed to make me call him whatever he wants) will be a physical presence for the Mocs this year inside.

By the way, I'd like to welcome all the SEC and Ole Miss football fans to the board. Glad you found us. No read in wonder as you try to understand why someone would give up a football scholarship in the SEC to play basketball in the SoCon.

As you read the article, you realize just how much Mason must love basketball. It was always his first love, but the sport he garnered more attention in was football. That's because of his size. He is a big body, but not really tall enough to play center at major conference level. But at the SoCon level, he can play center.


He is a touch on the short side for center. Power forward? Maybe. He could do that. We'll have to wait and see.

His chances of playing this year? Nearly 100 percent. I would expect him to to be the first one off the bench most games. He will come in for Zlovaric (who I think he may beat out for a starting job at some point) or Early pretty soon in most games.

Think about this if you are a Mocs fan. Who are the two biggest pieces gone off of last year's team? Saffore (who started most often) and Jefferson (who was the better talent). With Zlovaric replacing Saffore, there is an upgrade at that starting spot, it would appear. With Mason replacing Jefferson, there may also be an upgrade there. That means, that in the top six players (even if Bell, Wattad, Taylor, and Early remain exactly the same) the Mocs should have more talent this year.

And that is reason to smile if you are a Mocs fan right there.

Mason is a key piece to this year's team. If he is game ready for basketball, then he could become the key to the whole team. He hasn't played competitively in several years. He needs to be in basketball shape when he starts playing. He needs to get the feel of the game back down. Hopefully, that will be a quick learning curve, with games against Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Butler on the out of conference schedule, not to mention an early December two game conference road swing to College of Charleston and Georgia Southern.

Mason could wind up being the MVP of this year's team.


Monday, August 22, 2011

White Wins Fans

Click here for the full story. is running a weekly series on each of the newcomers to the Mocs roster this year. Each week, when the story posts on Monday, I will give my reaction to each player, and give my opinion on how much they will contribute in 2011-12.

Rico White is the brother of Tony White Jr, the sharpshooter from College of Charleston. He is the son of Tony White Sr, one of the leading scorers in Tennessee basketball history. So it is not surprising to see that Rico White has earned a D1 scholarship, and it may be even less surprising to think of him being a major contributor in a couple of years.

The article mentions that Rico is known for his positive attitude. He also will be more of a slasher than his brother and father. But the article does mention that he can play point guard, something that he did not do much of in high school, but could do for the Mocs this year, with Keegan Bell as the only clear cut point guard on the team.

He certainly brings a winning pedigree to the table. His teams won 92% of their games in high school.

My bet is that he does not redshirt- he plays too valuable of a position to redshirt him. If Rimmer had stayed, there would have been a better chance of redshirting, but without Rimmer, it is hard to imagine he redshirts. I give him an 80% chance of playing this year.

If he does play, he will likely get most of his minutes backing up at shooting guard, but will get some minutes as the back up point guard or small forward. He seems, like so much of this class, to be athletic and a well-rounded individual.

His slashing ability will come in handy. If he has good ball-handling skills, solid defense, and develops a nice shot, he will really be an asset this year. Look for big things in the future- just average things this year.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stokes Bred Well

Click here for the full story. is running a weekly series on each of the newcomers to the Mocs roster this year. Each week, when the story posts on Monday, I will give my reaction to each player, and give my opinion on how much they will contribute in 2011-12.

What did I get from this story? Lance Stokes father played in the NFL. His siblings are all getting recruited to play high-major, BCS-level sports. And Lance chose Chattanooga.

This has it's positives, of course. This means that he is (for lack of a better term) "well-bred." He will be a tremendous asset with his athletic skills. If you have watched any of his highlight reel plays, there is no mistaking that. He is going to be an athletic 3 or 4.

Really, I see Stokes as more of a 3 in my mind's eye. Maybe it's just me, but I think he fits in nicely as a back-up this year to Taylor and Wattad, or fitting into the rotation of 4's.

Stokes sounds like he is kind of a quiet kid, who keeps things to himself. He does not want to be known for what his father did on the football field- he wants to be known for what he does on the basketball court. That is a good attitude to bring to the table.

I give him a better than 60% chance of playing this year. He may need to grow into his body a little bit, but my bet is that his talent is just too high to leave off the court this year. He'll bring athleticism and size to the table that Coach Shulman won't be willing to leave on the bench for this year. Because this is the year. This is the year that the Mocs need to make a big run. Stokes can be a major contributor in that. Even this year. Even as a back-up.

Look for him to be one of the real stars of the 2012-13 Mocs, and a very nice back-up for this year's team, if he gets the chance to play. My gut feeling tells me that either Brown or Stokes gets redshirted, while the other plays. We'll have to let it play out and see if that is accurate.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Beasley In

Again- old news. But you can't complain about old news. Any news is good news. Right?

DeAntione Beasley was a former player at Tennessee Tech, and coached there last year. He also played professionally in Europe for seven years. He did an excellent job recruiting the Atlanta area for Tennessee Tech last year.

Look- this guy may (or may not) be an excellent X's and O's guy. But that is not the concern. He can certainly be a great recruiter. This is what he was hired to do. I am eager to see how he does with the X's and O's side of things.

This guy clearly was a good player- leading his team to a championship while he was a coach and player for the team. He has a solid skill set. The players seem to be excited about playing for him, with a couple of players tweeting positive reinforcement.

Beasley is a bit of a question mark, but you have to take a chance and hope to hit a homerun. He is a chance- and he could be a homerun. We'll see. Consider me cautiously optimistic.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

X is Xed

OK- so I know this is old news now, but I should still give my reaction to it.

Xavian Rimmer will not be attending Chattanooga next year, rather going to Alcorn State. Rimmer was released from his scholarship when it appeared that he may not pass the Clearinghouse.

This one hurts some. It's not as bad as Ochenje leaving- except for that in some ways it is.

Rimmer was the point guard of the future. Now that role falls to either Rico White (who did not play point guard in high school) or Bareika. Yes, Hampton is still around, and he could be the starter in 2012-13, but I think everyone should realize that Hampton's role is probably better served as a back-up- possibly a prominent one, but a back up none the less.

Rimmer was going to get playing team this year, almost guaranteed. Now, he's not here. This is very disappointing. He had a chance to be very good. He could become a star at Alcorn State. Yes, Alcorn State is a step down from the Mocs- maybe not a huge step, but a step.

Bareika will play a bigger role than ever this year, now. I was hoping he would be the back-up two guard, but I think his role now is entirely as the back-up point guard. He and Hampton will split some time there.

I wish Xavian nothing but the best. This is a huge moment for Bareika- and to a lesser degree Hampton. They need to step up. I think they can. Bareika's reported athleticism could be a major boost to the team.

We'll miss Rimmer. No doubt. Hopefully, someone else can step up.

As for what this means- well, it's messy. Ochenje and Rimmer now are both gone. Is this a problem in the way Shulman is signing recruits? Is this that commonplace? I think there is a slightly disturbing trend here. I'm willing to give Shulman the benefit of the doubt here that this can happen, but I am bothered. No question.

The good news is that all the other freshman have already reported to campus and are taking summer classes. So we shouldn't have any more surprises before the start of the season.



Monday, August 1, 2011

Bryant A Big Part Of The Future

Click here for full story on is running a weekly series on each of the newcomers to the Mocs roster this year. Each week, when the story posts on Monday, I will give my reaction to each player, and give my opinion on how much they will contribute in 2011-12.

If Jared Bryant is as good as Nicchaeus Doaks, I think Moc fans will be very pleased. Bryant has the body type of Doaks, and has been hailed as a great rebounder ever since he came on board with the program.

Clearly, this kid has upside. Shulman noted that he can play outside or on the block. What the Mocs don't need is another Chris Early- a three trying to play at the four spot. (That is not a knock on Early- he's a solid player, but it has long been my belief that he is better suited to play the three spot rather than the four.) But Doaks was not that kind of player (even if he did have aspirations of winning a three point shooting contest every now and then). Doaks was a force inside, especially when he played focused.

Bryant can be that kind of player. He has the body type to be a dominant player in the post for these Mocs. He is 6-7, which is not supremely tall, but he is 234 pounds, which is more than big enough to bang around with the big boys of the SoCon. Just ask Noah Dahlman. Hopefully, he can shoot free throws consistently, because that plagued Doaks at times.

I lean towards Bryant redshirting this year. I think there is about a 25% chance that he contributes this year. The reason for that is this- with Mason, Early, Zlovaric, and Burroughs all eligible to play right at the 4 and 5 spots, I'm not sure Bryant has enough minutes to justify playing him this year. Early and Burroughs will be gone after this year, and then Bryant (a year old, stronger, and maybe even an inch or two taller) can come in and contribute in a big way.

If Bryant does play, I would expect him to take a large chunk of Burroughs minutes. It would be Zlovaric, Mason, Early, and Bryant rotating around the four and five spots, with Burroughs getting the mop up minutes that a guy like a Sam Watson would have gotten if he were not injured. That is how this looks to me from where I'm sitting.

I see Bryant as invaluable in the years after this year, even though I anticipate him spending this year redshirting. He should be a really nice piece to the puzzle beginning next year.