Young men’s basketball team looks to meet high expectations

Cody Erbacher

The Kent State men’s basketball team will face some high expectations for an inexperienced, yet talented lineup this season.

After the Flashes boasted the No. 1 spot in last seasons Mid-American Conference Tournament, six seniors left the roster: two shooters (Mike McKee and Tyree Evans), the “sixth man” (Anthony Simpson), the best defender (Frank Henry-Ala), a center (Brandon Parks) and the go-to guy (Chris Singletary).

Each player contributed their specific talents to help Kent State record a win in the National Invitation Tournament before falling to Illinois, and the best-regular season MAC record, 23-8 (13-3 MAC).

Kent State coach Geno Ford, who was named the 2010 Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year, will have the task of integrating three new faces to the starting lineup.

The new players add the ability to perform highlight-reel type plays to give the Flashes an extra boost of momentum every game.

Kent State returns only two starters to this season’s roster. Justin Greene and Rod Sherman led the team, which won a Mid-American Conference regular season championship, with starts in nearly every game.

This season’s roster doesn’t have the luxury of displaying six seniors that graduated.

Greene, who led Kent State in points per game and rebounds, and fifth-year senior guard Sherman, who is the only senior on this seasons roster, will help ease the transition for Kent State’s new members.

This year Kent State fans will witness the three new players who have contributed immediately in the Flashes 2-1 record in the World Vision Classic at Cleveland State this weekend: Carlton Guyton, Michael Porrini and Justin Manns, when they make their first meaningful start at the M.A.C. Center, Tuesday, against Robert Morris at 8 a.m. as Kent State takes part in ESPN’s third annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

Prior to the home opener, the Flashes fell to Cleveland State after beating Iona and Bryant.

In the first three games, Guyton, Porrini and Manns all averaged over 20 minutes, but with the Flashes back in action for its fourth game in five days, the new additions will battle fatigue early in the season.

Coach Ford said three games in three days will teach the members who didn’t experience the MAC Tournament about the affects of playing in a tournament and making sure the team is “more prepared to take care of business.”

But with 10 new faces on the Flashes 13-man roster, it’s going to be tough for third-year head coach Ford to develop this year’s talent into a MAC Championship winning team.

Contact Cody Erbacher [email protected]