It's less than a month before Larry Brown's second season as SMU head coach gets underway with a matchup against rival TCU at American Airlines Center. As Mustang fans anxiously wait for the season to begin, we take a look at each member of SMU's roster.
Guard Nic Moore, RS Sophomore- Moore, a redshirt sophomore who transferred from Illinois State, will challenge Nick Russell for the starting point guard position and will probably earn it by the beginning of the season. At Illinois State, Moore led the team in assists and was a dangerous shooter from long distance. He clearly was a favorite of assistant coach Tim Jankovich, who recruited Moore to Illinois State and coached him for his freshman year before leaving for SMU. Moore followed Jankovich to the Hilltop so expect him to play a major role in SMU's fortunes this year.
Guard Nick Russell- In his senior season, Russell will contribute some at either of the guard positions. Last year, he led the team in assists while also finishing near the top in scoring. He will provide the veteran leadership this team will need to take their play to the next level.
Guard Ryan Manuel, Junior- Now an upperclassman, look for Manuel to contribute again, but not at the level he did before. In this crowded backcourt, Manuel could lose a lot of playing time to newcomers. But he will still be a dangerous scoring option off the bench for the Mustangs. Last year, he was the Mustangs' third leading scorer with 12.3 points per game. But his erratic play could lead to a loss of playing time.
Guard Keith Frazier, Freshman- The crown jewel of Larry Brown's first recruiting class, the former McDonald's All-American will play an integral role in the Mustang's successes this season. Expect him to start at shooting guard, where his ability to score and pass will make him extremely dangerous. If teams decide to leave him open on the perimeter to guard the big men down low, Frazier will make them pay- he shot a sizzling 43 percent from long range as a senior.
Guard Crandall Head, RS Junior- It is hard to figure out what Larry Brown and staff are going to get out of the Illinois recruit. Head has battled injury problems since his senior year of high school and never really contributed while with the Illini. But if his injury problems are past him, Head will provide good depth at the guard position for SMU.
Guard Sterling Brown, Freshman- With the natural physical gifts that come with being 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, and the younger brother of freak athlete Shannon Brown, Sterling has the chance to develop into a special player. The freshman was named third team All-State in Illinois in both his junior and senior seasons and was a highly-touted four star recruit. But with the talent and depth at the guard position for this SMU team, don't be surprised if Brown has to work hard to earn his playing time this season.
Guard Jean-Michael Mudiay, Junior- Offering big brother Jean-Micheal helped land little brother Emmanuel. Don't expect much from the older Mudiay this season except for a few minutes here and there and solid defensive play.
Guard Kevin Dunleavy, Junior- Although he comes from a strong basketball family, don't expect many serious contributions from the walk-on. Dunleavy only saw game action five times last season and with the talented crop of freshmen and transfers coming into the program this year, that number does not figure to get any bigger.
Guard Jonathan Wilfong, Freshman- The last member of this year's freshman class, don't expect Wilfong, a walk-on, to see much of the court. If he's out there, you know it will be at the end of a lopsided win.
Guard/Forward Jalen Jones, Junior- Jones was SMU's leading scorer last season and will play a big role in the Mustang's success. Jones should shine at the three spot but don't be surprised to see him contribute at the two or even the four. His ability to rebound, especially on the offensive glass, makes him an invaluable player for the Mustangs.
Forward Ben Moore, Freshman- At 6-foot-8, 185 pounds, Moore will have to bulk up before he becomes a serious contributor for the Mustangs. But the freshman was a talented rebounder in high school and his hustle and professionalism will earn him playing time. He is talented defensively and is capable both of blocking shots and stealing the ball. While Frazier may be the star of the new recruiting class, expect Moore to be the blue-collared fan favorite.
Forward Markus Kennedy, RS Sophomore- A transfer from Villanova, Kennedy will be a solid role player for the Mustangs. As a freshman, Kennedy averaged 14.8 minutes per contest and put up 3.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. While things didn't work out at Villanova, Kennedy could easily end up starting at the four for the Mustangs.
Forward Shawn Williams, Senior: Now a senior, Williams may not see as much of the court as he has in the past, but he will still be a valuable rebounder and scorer in the post for the Mustangs. His ability to stretch the floor with his outside shot makes him a dangerous weapon for the Mustangs. SMU fans have been waiting for him to break out, and this may be the year.
Center Yanick Moreira, Junior- Moreira was the number one junior college recruit in the nation last year, and the 6-foot-11, 220-pounder from Luanda, Angola, will likely be the Mustangs' starting center this season. Last year he was a JUCO All-American for South Plains College, averaging 18.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. Expect big things from Moreira this season at SMU.
Center Cannen Cunningham, Junior: Last season, Cunningham put up solid numbers at the five spot for SMU, averaging 9.3 points on 50.7 percent shooting, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Cunningham is also number ten on SMU's all-time blocks list with 77 swats. Now a junior, Cunningham figures to lose his starting job to super-transfer Yanick Moreira but still expect the 6-foot-10 center to be a big contributor for the Mustangs off the bench with his defensive prowess and efficient offensive game.
SMU Basketball Roster Analysis
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