SSU MBB ranked pre-season No. 1

The SSU Men’s Basketball begins the 2021-22 as the nation’s top ranked team. The Bears went 31-2 last season winning 27 straight games culminating with a 74-68 victory over Lewis-Clark State in the National Championship game. The Bears now hang two red banners in Waller Gymnasium with the 2021 Men’s version a nice compliment to the 1999 Women’s Championship.

Coach DeLano Thomas collected National Coach of Year accolades and returns a talented group of key contributors from last year’s squad. Despite losing MSC Player of the Year and All-American EJ Onu along with All-American and leading scorer James Jones the Bears have plenty of talent heading into the new season.

Shawnee returns three starters: Issac Abergut, Jakiel Wells, and Amier Gilmore along with a deep bench. Super-sub Miles Thomas will look to step into a new role as a number one scoring threat. Those four combined to average over 25 points and 20 rebounds per game. Donovan Carlisle also played a key role, either off the bench or in the starting line-up averaging 10 points and six rebounds. Versatile big man Latavious Mitchell will be looking to have break-out sophomore campaign in the navy and grey. Depth will continue to be a strength for SSU as Tre Beard and Shawn Paris, Jr. look to step up their games during their second seasons.

Once again Coach Thomas added key pieces who will contribute immediately. 6-10 Courtese Cooper will be counted on to hold down the paint. His size and skill set will be a nice compliment to the wings in the line-up. Fellow transfers Elijah Bishop and Khalil Donte’ Johnson look to pick up major minutes on the wing for SSU. Dre Boyd, Jaiden Guice, and Corie Blount, Jr. will add depth at the guard position.

The 2021-22 campaign started with a 94-86 victory over Wilberforce. The Bears return to action taking on Union Monday night at home with a 7:00 tip. The team will begin its Mid-South Conference Championship action on November 18th as the University of Tennessee Southern comes to town.