Following a promising year that saw Cleveland State basketball make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009, the Vikings look to make it two in a row with all 5 starters returning.
When in Cleveland, have to stop by and see Dennis Gates and the Horizon League champs. Return just about everything and add four key pieces this season. The Vikings will have the target on their backs this year. pic.twitter.com/M26mAJHd59
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) July 14, 2021
To view teams ranked 91-100, click here.
PG: Craig Beaudion (6’3, 170, Gr-Sr.)
2021 stats: 9.3 points, 2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals
Projected stats: 9 points, 2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals
SG: D’Moi Hodge (6’4, 180, Sr.)
2021 stats: 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.7 steals
Projected stats: 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.5 steals
SF: Tre Gomillion (6’4,215, Sr.)
2021 stats: 10.3 points, 5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.9 steals
Projected stats: 11.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals
PF: Torrey Patton (6’5, 195, Gr-Sr.)
2021 stats: 14.7 points, 8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.9 steals
Projected stats: 16 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals
C: Deante Johnson (6’9, 210, Sr.)
2021 stats: 5.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1.3 blocks
Projected stats: 5.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.5 blocks
6: Algevon Eichelberger (6’8, 250, Gr-Sr.)
2021 stats: 6.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals
Projected stats: 7 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 0.5 steals
7: Broc Finstuen (6’4, 200, Gr-Sr.)
2021 stats: 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.6 steals
Projected stats: 6.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.5 steals
8: Nathaneal Jack (6’5, 195, Gr-Sr.)
2021 stats: 3.6 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.2 steals
Projected stats: 3.9 points, 1 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.2 steals
9: Yahel Hill (6’0, 170, Sr.)
2021 stats: 3.1 points, 0.9 rebounds, 1 assist, 0.3 steals
Projected stats: 3.5 points, 1 rebound, 0.8 assists, 0.3 steals
10: Jayson Woodrich (6’7, 195, Soph.)
2021 stats: 4.5 points, 1 rebound, 0.2 assists, 0.2 steals
Projected stats: 6.2 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.2 steals
Team MVP: Torrey Patton
While Cleveland State basketball relies more on balance than individual talent, Patton is their star. He took a great jump in stats last season and led the team in points and rebounds. With another year of development, Patton is surely going to be one of the top players in the Horizon League next season and may earn himself all-conference honors.
The other MVP is head coach Dennis Gates. Gates has done a great job turning this program around and an even better job of convincing his players to stay. The fact that he returns all five starters is an extremely rare feat for a coach in the era of transfers. The players have bought into his system and they will be rewarded once again by great coaching.
Make-or-break player: Craig Beaudion
After a solid junior year, Beaudion showed little improvement on the offensive end, with his numbers going down slightly despite playing the same amount of minutes. If he can turn it around and improve, especially as the team’s starting point guard, then Cleveland State basketball is in a great position. If that isn’t the case, coach Gates might have to look in another direction and have Beaudion change his role to more of a spark off the bench.
Bench Rating: 4/10-7/10
The reason there isn’t a solid rating is that depending on how the two transfers play is how good the bench can be. Eichelberger was great last year and is a great 6th man, but the big question marks are Finstuen and Jack. Finstuen is coming off a great statistical year, but playing in a different role can either help or hurt him. Jack was never great but is coming from a high-level program in Florida State which means the potential is there now that he is in a lower level conference.
Gates has no problem playing the whole bench, so Cleveland State basketball players will have opportunities to prove themselves, especially once conference play comes around.
This team is old, with nine of their ten rotational players being seniors or older. In college basketball, age and experience is usually a good thing, and bringing back the same five that led this team to an NCAA Tournament appearance is a great sign.
They will need to once again have a balanced scoring threat, and not rely on Patton when the team needs a bucket. They have a ton of players that are more than capable of averaging ten points per game, especially with another year of experience. One thing to look out for is if they can improve from deep, as they don’t have many real three-point shooters and rely more on layups and driving.
The Horizon League is expected to be even more competitive this year at the top, with Wright State bringing back a lot of talent (#93 on the CBB Rank), and Milwaukee adding a top 5 recruit in Patrick Baldwin Jr. If Dennis Gates continues to show off his coaching ability, he might not only bring Cleveland State basketball a conference title and tournament appearance but also hear his phone ringing from Power 5 schools looking for a new coach.