Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2009 College Hoops Preview: Jackson State University

by Doctor S

Coach: Tevester Anderson (seventh season, 77-85)
2007-08: 14-20 (10-8 SWAC)
Arena: Athletics and Assembly Center, Jackson
Radio: 1300 AM

Last season, Jackson State came within one point of going to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. The Tigers lost to Mississippi Valley State, 59-58, in the SWAC Tournament final. JSU has reloaded for another run at the NCAA. The Tigers have four starters back including preseason SWAC Player of the Year, Grant Maxey. And JSU has a bench full of talented reserves. “We do have depth, and it’s a pretty talented team,” Tigers coach Tevester Anderson told USA Today before the season began. “We’ve got some good young kids, too.”

Maxey, a 6-foot-6-inch junior forward, has averaged 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season. And this has come against some big-name competition that includes defending national champion Kansas, LSU, Arizona State, Illinois, Providence and Texas A&M. “He’s one of the best I’ve ever coached,” Anderson told Blue Ribbon Yearbook. “I expect Grant to get a lot of recognition this year. I expect him to get stronger this season, and with the right opportunity and right timing he could make some money (playing pro ball) one day.”

Other top players for the Tigers include Darrion Griffin (13 ppg) and Murrah High alum Jeremy Caldwell (10.5 ppg).

Excellent. The Tigers are 1-10, but that will mean nothing when SWAC play begins. Every SWAC team has a losing record right now. And JSU has been playing its usual band of heavyweights in November and December. Hey, the program needs the money.

“You never know who (in the SWAC) is going to have a knockout punch or hit a home run,” Anderson told USA Today. “But we always feel like we will be in the top three.”
The Tigers should cruise through SWAC play and—barring a major upset in the SWAC tourney like last year’s—go back to the NCAA Tournament.


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