Senior power forward Norville Carey is the team’s top returner after averaging just under 11 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Sophomores forward Keljin Blevins and guard Kevin Holland are the only other returners that averaged more than 10 minutes per game a season ago.
Carey and Holland are contemplating redshirting this season, possibly due to another postseason ban, and could have a major impact on the rotation. Southern Miss fans should expect to see former Dayton guard Khari Price starting at point guard and newcomers, redshirt junior Michael Ramey and redshirt senior Kourtlin Jackson, in the back court as well.
Blevins will likely be a starter this season, playing in 25 games last season while starting 13 of them.
Price’s experience and understanding of the game makes him the leading candidate to run the point guard position. Price average 22.4 minutes per game while at Dayton. While he is only 5-feet, 9-inches, Price was the 11th best three-point shooter in the Atlantic 10 conference as a true freshman.
“(Price) understands the game like a coach,” Sadler said.
Ramey, by season’s end, should be one of the conference’s top shooters from behind the arc. While at Seminole State College, Ramey led NJCAA in three-point field goal percentage at 59.3 percent. At 6-feet, 5-inches, Ramey can add extra length on the defensive end and help on the boards. Ramey is likely to be the first to come off the bench.
Jackson’s character and familiarity with Sadler’s system will transition well into an increased role.
“I’ve known (Jackson) now for three years,” Sadler said. “(I’ve) known him longer than I have anyone else.”
Much like Ramey, Jackson is a big guard at 6-feet, 4-inches. In his first action as a Golden Eagle, Jackson knocked down a pair of threes and finished the first half with 12 points against Millsaps. He went on to finish the game with 14 points.
The potential absence of Carey will be felt in the front court, but expect those shoes to be filled by sophomore Eddie Davis III and junior Raheem Watts.
Davis III, returns after missing a season due to injury. Davis III brings versatility to the front court as he is able to step away from the paint and make shots from mid range.
Watts, a transfer from Dodge City Community College, brings experience to the front court starting 30 of 33 games at Dodge City CC.
Also, expect true freshman Tim Rowe to see action. At 6-feet, 11-inches, Rowe is the tallest player on the roster. Against Millsaps, he showed good potential as he was able to score 12 points and grab six rebounds in his debut.
Rowe’s biggest impact may be on the defensive end; he finished the game with four blocks. While Rowe may not show up in the box score every game, his size and threat of blocking and altering shots will be key to locking down the paint.
The Golden Eagles open their season on the road against former Conference USA foe Memphis Nov. 14. at 7 p.m.