BURN THE HORSE
With the 2011-2012 season in the books, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2012-2013.
UALR doesn’t have as much to replace as it did last summer, but there are two giant holes to fill with the departure of point guard D’Andre Williams and forward Courtney Jackson. UALR will also miss role players Tramar Sutherland and Marlon Louzeiro, who came up big in spot duty several times last season.
We’ll assume everyone on the roster who is not a senior will be back next season. But that starts us out at one over the NCAA limit of 13. That means somebody who is here now won’t be in August.
Williams is gone, leaving the point guard position wide open for someone to take. Senior Eric Lawton got the backup minutes last season, but never was able to provide enough comfort to allow Williams an extended rest during games. UALR could move junior Chuck Guy to the point. He has played the point some, more as a freshman than sophomore. Two incoming freshman also figure to get a pretty good look. Josh Hagins is a 6-3 point guard from the Shreveport area and John Gillon is a 5-11 point from the Houston area. Hagins is probably more of a traditional point guard, while Gillon is more of a scoring point.
Providing he’s not stationed at the point, Guy and sophomore Ben Dillard return to this spot next season. Guy didn’t shoot it as well in his sophomore year, but hit some big shots throughout the season. Dillard played well in spurts and became one of the team’s best outside options. Two more freshmen could figure into this position as well. Strong’s Stetson Billings and Mareik Isom of Austin, Texas, are both 6-5, 2/3 combo-type players. Both are reported to be above average shooters. And freshman walk-on Casey Wilmath could be another option here. Wilmath is a shooter who spent this season as a redshirt.
Off guard/small forward
UALR has a ton of options in this spot. Junior Will Neighbour will see duty at the 3, 4 and 5 positions and figures to get some time here. Sophomore Taggart Lockhart played well at times as a freshman and figures to be right in the mix. And redshirt freshman James White, who is 6-7, also figures to get a look here. White has put on some weight during his redshirt year and reportedly shoots it well enough to play here. Senior Reggie Fondren didn’t play much, but he came up big in the Sun Belt opener against North Texas. Billings and Isom could also get looks at the 3.
Jackson’s departure will be a huge area of concern. But UALR has options at the 4. Neighbour, White and sophomore Gus Leeper, who redshirted last season, all figure to see time here.
Sophomore Michael Javes is the incumbent at the 5. Leeper was the incumbent before getting hurt last summer. Both figure to be in the mix here along with Neighbour. Freshman Andrew Poulter will give the Trojans additional bulk on the inside if he’s ready to play.
Besides Wilmath, UALR had two additional walk-ons to close last season in freshman Tre’von Wilkerson and senior Ted Crass. Wilkerson is quick as a point guard and Crass is a shooter who will work as hard as anybody to be successful.
Height won’t be an issue for this group. We could get a bit of time next season with the 6-10 Neighbour, the 6-9 Leeper and the 6-10 Javes all on the court at the same time.
And we don’t know who else is still out there. The UALR coaching staff appears to still be recruiting for both the April and November signing classes.