The Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball team graduated seven players, five of whom played considerable minutes. Head coach Jeff Oliver has started rebuilding with the addition of four players to the program.
All are transfers, which has pretty much been his pattern since stepping in as head coach six years ago.
Oliver said the team’s biggest needs have been addressed. The Coyotes (22-8, 15-5) led the CCAA in scoring defense but were just fifth in offense and seventh in field-goal percentage.
The Coyotes have finished with at least a share of the conference title seven of the last nine years but were bounced from the Division II West Region tournament in the quarterfinal.
“Our achillies heel was our offense and the fact that we weren’t consistent from long distance,” he said. “We took care of those issues. I expect us to be one of the better 3-point shooting teams.”
The newcomers are 6-foot-7 junior forward Brandon Brown (Holmes CC in Goodman, Miss.), 6-4 junior guard Larry DeHughes (Fullerton JC), 6-4 senior forward-guard Michael Frazier (Mt. San Jacinto/Northern Colorado) and 6-2 junior point guard Lawrence Tyson (Northeastern JC in Colorado/Cal State Northridge).
Brown, a New Orleans native, averaged 27 points and 13 points for a team that went 16-8. He had a season high of 38 points twice.
Oliver expects him to be an impact player.
“He could be the best inside scorer we have ever had,” he said. “He is an absolute presence in the paint and has 101 post moves and he’s a great athlete.”
Frazier last played at Northern Colorado in 2003-04 after transferring from Mt. San Jacinto. Oliver said he has unlimited range and won’t affected by the move of the 3-point line back a foot.
DeHughes played at Compton as a freshman and at Fullerton last year, helping the Hornets to the state title game and earning All-Orange Empire Conference honors.
Tyson played at Cal State Northridge as a freshman and is a graduate of Quartz Hill High School.
The Coyotes have just one returning starter – defensive stopper Phil Jones. Reserves Devon Davis, Reggie Brown and Steve Gaston saw considerable time while freshman Ryan Kinney saw some playing time.
Those who redshirted last year expected to have an impact next season are guard Tim Denson, a transfer from Colorado State, and center Jordan Richard, out of Los Osos High School.
Guard Omar Krayem, who redshirted last season afer coming in from Eastern Washington, is not returning.
Oliver is still looking for a wing, a point guard and another big man.
The only other question mark is an intangible as Oliver will be looking for a floor leader to replace departed guard Marlon Pierce who filled that role.
“We really don’t know yet who is going to be the take charge guy,” he said.