Jackson State ended the 2016-2017 season with a disappointing 14-18 overall record, ranking 3rd in the conference. The roster is talented, just has not found that go-to guy on offense, and they’re a bit undersized at every position, which causes mismatches on defense.
Below I’ve made a list of comparisons in my opinion on which NBA players the men’s basketball team remind me of.
Yettra Specks, the starting point guard capped off his senior more than doubling his scoring average from a season ago. He averaged a career high 14.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Specks is undersized listed at 5-10, but his 171lbs gives him size. He doesn’t “wow” an NBA prospect with athleticism, but is a prototypical floor general that can score when needed.
NBA Comparison- Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Paris Collins, at 6-4 186lbs, plays shooting guard and small forward. Known more for his great energy and defense. He averaged 12.3 points in just his second season, and a career high 5.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2 steals per game. Collins is a streaky shooter. The type of player that can explode for 26 points one, then 5 points the next night. The team relies on the energy he brings every nights. He does the dirty work that is not shown in the stat sheet. Every team needs a Paris Collins type of player.
NBA Comparison- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons
Janarius Middleton, the 6-8 223 forward also just capped off his senior year. Middleton usually plays center because the team is undersized and he’s arguably the most durable and has been the most consistent big man for Jackson State since he came in. He averages 7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Middleton doesn’t shoot many 3’s, but he’s well capable of hitting occasional deep shots. He has post offense, can shoot the midrange jumper, and can move his feet well for his size.
NBA Comparison- Enes Kanter/Pau Gasol, Oklahoma City Thunder/San Antonio Spurs
Maurice Rivers, the 6-7 200lb junior made his debut with the Tigers this past season. Rivers is a forward and was instant offense off of the bench at the forward position. He shot 47.8% from the field averaging 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in only 19.7 minutes. Rivers is a scorer and plays pretty solid defense. He’s not big, but has the length to block shots get steals, averaging 0.5 blocks, and 0.6 steals in the 2016-2017 season.
NBA Comparison– Nerleans Noel, Dallas Mavericks
Edric Dennis, the 6-3 188lbs combo guard just finished his first season at JSU. He’s probably the most well-rounded player on the team if you want to get statistical. He averaged 14.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1 steal as the backcourt mate of Yettra Specks. His main problem is that he turns the ball over the most, averaging 3.0 a game, along with 2.2 personal fouls. He displays frustration in his body language, but other than that he’s been the second primary ball handler, and has more than enough time to be a great player for years to come.
NBA Comparison- Marcus Smart- Boston Celtics