Rebuilding the Roster: Jacksonville State
Jacksonville State is one of the newest athletic programs in the Ohio Valley Conference, having joined formally in 2003. It has been a slog for the Gamecocks. They were just 12-19 in 2014-2015 and the program is fighting for relevance in a state that recently hired former NBA Coach Avery Johnson (Bama) and proven recruiter Bruce Pearl (Auburn).
In other words, nearby programs are instantly raising their status nationally.
At the same time, Jacksonville State is essentially running a holding cell for Junior College graduates. Instead of recruiting 4-year players they are targeting and landing 2-year options.
The Gamecocks are tasked with replacing their three leading scorers from a year ago. Darion Rackley, D.J. Felder, and Avery Moore have moved on. Now the void must be filled, the burden passing to the newcomers and a handful of returners.
JaQuail Townser (7.9 ppg) and Jeremy Watson (5.8 ppg) figure to lead the way.
The Gamecocks add two freshmen. DelFincko Bogan (Missouri), Jared Hamilton (North Carolina), Andre Statem (Missouri), and Christian Cunningham (New Mexico) represent the freshman class. Bogan is an undersized guard from rural Missouri and Cunningham will play on the blocks.
Statem only had one other D1 offer, Eastern Illinois.
Like Bogan, JuCo transfer Greg Tucker prepped with Charleston High School (MO). He spent the last two years with Mineral Area College. Now he is ready to play D1, so he enters with urgency.
In all, Jacksonville State will have five newcomers on their team that either began or recently played in the state of Missouri.
Missouri-transfer Cam Biedscheid is an interesting prospect.
With two years remaining, the junior can try to resuscitate a once-promising basketball career. Considered by many to be a Top 50 player in the nation, Biedscheid was enrolled with Notre Dame, Missouri, and Iona already. His departure from Missouri was not positive, though details were suppressed by Mizzou officials. This mid-game fracas is indisputable.
It is also anybody’s guess was Ousmane Ba can give the Gamecocks. He is an extremely raw Congolese center. Despite great efforts to bulk him up, he is still thin and moderately athletic.
Taking a look at the recruiting class, Head Coach James Green took a few chances and brought in some undersized players too. It will be interesting to see how he molds this motley crew into a unit.