Mustangs shoot for success
Published: Friday, September 10, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
SMU men's basketball is on the rise and big things are expected from head coach Matt Doherty's squad. The Mustangs return 12 players from last year's team to go along with an excellent recruiting class.
SMU finished 14-17 overall and 7-9 in Conference USA play last year. The Mustangs were also eliminated in the first round of the Conference USA tournament.
An upset victory over conference power Memphis was the highlight of the 2009-2010 season and gave the Mustangs hope heading into the 2010-2011 season.
SMU did however lose their leading scorer in guard Derek Williams. Williams averaged 16.6 points per game last season and was drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters.
Forward Mohammed Faye will also be missed. Faye averaged 10.7 points per game last year and was selected to the Dallas Mavericks Summer League team.
The Mustangs do return 6-9 senior forward Papa Dia. Dia averaged 12.3 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game last season and is expected to be SMU's centerpiece on the hardwood.
Dia was a third team All Conference USA selection and his 65 blocks are tied for 13th all-time best in SMU history.
The Mustangs are also bringing back forward Robert Nyakundi and guard Paul McCoy who both averaged over 7 points per game last season.
SMU's 2010-2011 recruiting class includes Leslee Smith, Ricmonds Vilde and Jeremiah Samarrippas.
Smith, a 6-7 forward out of Christian Life Center Academy, was rated as a mid-major plus prospect by ESPN and is expected to see some immediate playing time. Vilde a 6-9 forward from Latvia who played high school basketball at Lee Academy in Maine is also expected to help the Mustangs in the paint.
Samarrippas was named 5A-Florida High School Athletic Association Player of the Year after leading Bartow High School to a state championship.
Samarrippas is expected to battle for the starting point guard position.
Doherty also added two savvy veteran assistant coaches to his staff this offseason.
Jerry Hobbie has 13 years of coaching experience under his belt, including his last three as an assistant coach at Houston, where he helped lead the Cougars to the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
Larry Mangino brings 24 years of college coaching experience to the Hilltop. Mangino has spent the last two years in the NBA working as the player development coach for the Denver Nuggets.
With a mix of veteran players, fresh new faces, and top notch coaching don't be surprised to see the Mustangs make a run for the Conference USA title.