Flashes expect mix of vets, freshmen to make impact

Forward%2Fcenter+Khaliq+Spicer+dunks+the+ball+in+a+game+against+University+at+Buffalo+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+28%2C+2015.+The+Kent+State+Golden+Flashes+lost+to+the+Buffalo+Bulls+65-71.

Forward/center Khaliq Spicer dunks the ball in a game against University at Buffalo on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. The Kent State Golden Flashes lost to the Buffalo Bulls 65-71.

Stephen Means II

The Kent State men’s basketball team comes into the 2015-16 season with new uniforms and a lot of new people; all expected to contribute from the onset.

Head coach Rob Senderoff explained that even though there is a multitude of new faces this season, many of them have been around the program since last spring and are well versed in Kent State basketball.

“Fortunately we had a number of guys redshirt last year,” Senderoff said. “It does help, because they do know the culture. They’ve been in practice whether it’s been a year or just a semester. I do think it was an advantage because the first practice wasn’t as eye opening as it was for the four freshmen.”

Kent State must also replace its entire backcourt from last season. The Flashes lost Kris Brewer, Devareaux Manley and Derek Jackson.

The Flashes have seven new players this season between transfers and freshmen. Only three people from last year’s team remain that played impactful minutes.

“When you look at our team here, if I were to give you my top 10, whoever those 10 would be, seven of those 10 would be new,” Senderoff said. “The majority of the rotation is going to be someone who didn’t play here last year.”

With all of the new faces on this year’s team, Senderoff and the coaching staff know that this year will be a process and the beginning of the season will not be pretty. The team will have to rely its experienced starting frontcourt the majority of the first half of the season.

The Returning Front Court

The Flashes’ starting frontcourt is the only thing that remains the same from last years regular season MAC Champions.

Redshirt junior Jimmy Hall is the biggest name and the leader this year for Kent State and a favorite for this seasons MAC Player of the Year Award.

“I would like to win the player of the year award,” Hall said “But I just want to remain staying humble and remain grinding and it’s a team sports so I want to show by just playing my game.”

Hall was a first team All-MAC selection last season averaging a team high of 15.9 points and 7.7 rebounds.  

The Flashes also return starters seniors Chris Ortiz and Khalia Spicer. Spicer led the team in total blocks with 53 and Ortiz started 22 of 35 games last season.

Kent State also returns sophomore Raasean Davis, appearing in 21 games logging 96 minutes.

The “New” Guys

Deon Edwin, Marvin Jones, Kellon Thomas and Xavier Pollard were all a part of last years team but were ineligible to play do to NCAA transfer rules.

Edwin transferred in during the Spring 2014 semester from Laramie County Community College in Wyoming and is the younger brother of former Kent State player Jason Edwin.

Jones is a transfer from Highland Community College in Illinois where he led the team in rebounds, 7.9, and 1.9 blocks per game.

Pollard provides the most decorated resume of the three transfers, playing his first three seasons at Maine where he earned America East Third Team honors, averaging 14.7 points during his junior season.

“I’m just here to play hard and get wins,” Pollard said. “As long as we do those two things I’m happy.”

Redshirt junior guard Kellon Thomas isn’t necessarily new to the Kent State program, but missed all except eight games last season after suffering an orbital bone fracture in practice. Thomas was averaging five points a game prior to the injury.

The Freshmen

The Flashes added a four-man freshman class filled with guards during the offseason to replace the losses of Brewer, Jackson and Manley.

Jalen Avery comes from Shroder High school in Covington, Kentucky, and was ranked as the fourty-second best point guard in the country.

Rosel Hurley comes from Shaker Heights High School prior to attending prep school IMG Academy in Florida. Alonzo Walker comes by way of Orangeville Prep in Canada.

Jaylin Walker comes from Romulus High School in Detroit, Michigan.

Stephen Means II is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]