Year two of the Larry Brown era begins tonight against rival Texas Christian University in the Tip-Off Showcase at the American Airlines Center.
The Mustangs are coming off a 15-17 inaugural campaign for Brown that had the Mustangs playing almost five players exclusively.
Brown’s reloaded roster includes a talented bunch of first-years, Keith Frazier, Sterling Brown, Jean-Micheal Mudiay and Ben Moore, but also includes three transfers that sat out last season, Markus Kennedy, Nic Moore and Crandall Head.
With the Mustangs returning all five starters from last season’s team, this could be a great balance of experience and talent if the team can gel.
Brown though is not yet happy with the team’s progress, even after handedly beating Colorado State and Texas Tech in scrimmages.
Last season, with many players playing out of position, it was tough to see just how good some of the players were, but this year, Brown says two returning players are standing out the most.
“Shawn Williams and Nick Russell have gotten a lot better. I think last year we were playing a lot of people out of position,” Brown said.
“This year, Nick is playing a position he should as a scoring guard and then Shawn playing small forward last year, but he’s more comfortable playing the four position.”
TCU also has some new faces on their roster with Karviar Shepherd, who was a top recruit in last year’s class, is expected to fill the center position nicely and be a defensive presence.
SMU’s newcomer down low, Yanick Moreria, was the JUCO Player of the Year last season and is a legitimate 6-11 presence that SMU has missed in the past.
The matchup of Moreria and Shepherd will be a key one to watch.
New point guard Nic Moore is expected to take the reins from Nick Russell and Ryan Manuel and be a true point guard for the Mustangs.
The 5-9 Moore is great from long range and is also a skilled passer.
The Mustangs are expected to be much improved and quite possibly be a darkhorse NCAA tournament team by some if they can win a majority of the non-conference games and make some noise in the ACC.
Tonight, it starts with their matchup against TCU and winning this game will mean a step in the right direction if they can top the Horned Frogs.
SMU has sold out its allotment of tickets for the game but some tickets are available for sale on Ticketmaster.com.