Basketball Team Gradebook

Adam grades the SMU basketball team on their season to kick off our grades and awards for the team!

Well, it is sad to say that the most exciting season of SMU basketball in recent memory has come to an end. From the TCU game in the American Airlines Center to the NIT championship game against Minnesota in Madison Square Garden, the Mustangs were fun to watch play and grow as a team. But now that the season is over, it is time to take a look at some of the individual performances of the team in the annual gradebook.

Nic Moore: Led the team in scoring and assists, grabbed a surprising number of rebounds for someone his size, made SMU fast breaks a joy to watch, hit the game winning shot against California in the NIT quarterfinals. What didn't Nic Moore do this season? Moore was the heart of this team who did not back down from a single challenge all year and whose passion often pushed the Mustangs to win games they could have easily squandered. The only negative from Moore's season that comes to mind is his trouble with free throw shooting at the end of games late in the year.

Grade: A-

Markus Kennedy: When Yanick Moreira went down with a knee injury before SMU's trip to Louisville, there were concerns about how it would affect the season. But Markus Kennedy stepped into the starting center role and the Mustangs challenged the Cardinals before winning nine of their next ten games. Kennedy was SMU's most efficient player, shooting 53.6% from the field to average 12.4 points per game. He also led the team in rebounding and steals. While his defense was strong, Kennedy often had trouble staying on the court due to foul trouble, such as in the loss to Houston in the conference tournament.

Grade: B+

Ben Moore: Throughout Larry Brown's career in the pros and college, rookies or freshmen have not logged a lot of minutes on his teams. Ben Moore quickly bucked this trend. After only logging only four minutes in the opener against TCU, Moore played 19 minutes each of the next two games and never looked back. His energy off the bench was invaluable especially after Moreira went down. Moore's strength was his offensive rebounding, which often bailed out bad shots from his teammates and earned Moore easy attempts in the paint. Brown has repeatedly said Moore is a special player and it is exciting to think of how he'll do as a sophomore next season.

Grade: B+

Nick Russell: Russell was the lock-down perimeter defender for SMU. His performances against guards like Shabazz Napier and Sean Kilpatrick were a big part of SMU's season-defining wins. Offensively, Russell committed a lot of turnovers, especially against Louisville in Moody, and was a streaky shooter to say the least. However, whenever SMU needed a big shot to swing the momentum back in their favor, the senior was their go-to guy.

Grade: B

Sterling Brown: Brown was another freshman marvel for SMU this year. Not long into the season he earned the starting job with his rebounding and defense and never gave it up. His contribution to the offense was not seen in the box score but in the screens he set and his ability to stretch the floor in place of Ryan Manuel.

Grade: B-

Cannen Cunningham: After starting last year, it would be natural if Cannen Cunningham were disappointed with his role coming off the bench. If that was the case this season, Cunningham showed no sign of it. As a reserve the junior gave consistent production every game. His defense was solid and highlighted by big blocks. On offense, his midrange jumper nicely complimented his interior game. Many times early in games when it felt as though it was slipping away from the Mustangs, Cunningham would come in and anchor the team with rebounding and easy buckets to stop the bleeding.

Grade: B

Shawn Williams: Williams's leadership was a big factor into the Mustangs' success this season. He kept a steady head and led the team through adversity. Immediately after Moreira went down with his injury, Williams formed a deadly two-man front with Kennedy and carried SMU during its hottest stretch of the year. However, down the stretch Williams became a starter in name only as Coach Brown began using Ben Moore late in games.

Grade: C+

Keith Frazier: Frazier's season was more typical of most first-year players under Larry Brown. He never found a consistent rhythm during the season. While he could explode for a couple of games with lights-out shooting, it was more common to find Frazier thinking too much while on the court. Other days, his head simply wasn't in it, whether during a game or practice. However, as the season progressed, Frazier did begin to play more complete games with good rebounding and passing, as Brown had been imploring him to do all year.

Grade: C+

Yanick Moreira: The top-rated JUCO transfer a year ago, Moreira's first season at SMU was a disappointment. While he was steady at the beginning of the season before going down with a knee injury, the junior never was the centerpiece of the offense that many imagined when he first decided upon SMU. After his return from injury, Moreira did not have the same hop in his step or mobility on defense.

Grade: C

Crandall Head: After sitting out a season after transferring from Illinois, Head got less playing time than he probably expected due to the emergence of Sterling Brown. When Coach Brown began cutting down his lineups at the beginning of league play, Head was usually the odd man out. He did have some good defensive performances, such as against Cincinnati in Moody.

Grade: C-

Ryan Manuel: After beginning the season as a starter, Ryan Manuel quickly began losing time in the rotation. His shooting made him a liability and his defense was just average. Manuel failed to capitalize on his freak athleticism when attacking the rim as he could not finish through contact. While he was the best free throw shooter on the team early in the season, towards the end even that would not fall for the junior.

Grade: D

Kevin Dunleavy: Incomplete

Jean-Michael Mudiay: Incomplete

Jonathan Wilfong: Incomplete

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