Gone from the Kent State Golden Flashes is much of the lineup that carried the team to a 23-12 (12-6 in MAC play) record in 2014-2015. But Jimmy Hall returns. That fact alone will assuage much of the pain of losing those athletes.
Though the flashes lose guys like Devareaux Manley, Kris Brewer, and Derek Jackson, the powerhouse Hall returns. A pleasant surprise for KSU last season, the then sophomore transfer (from Hofstra) took many by surprise in dominating many foes in the post. Hall was on a mission from the start of the season, scoring in double figures in each of his first eight games as a Golden Flash. Hall controlled the paint in many contests, netting 20+ points in seven games, three of which came in MAC play. Both numbers may very well increase, and probably need to for KSU to achieve similar levels of success this season. They will need to, as will Hall's average last year of playing 28.6 points per game.
Easier said than done for Hall, who will certainly face much more attention from opposing defenses given the number of three-point shooters lost by coach Rob Senderoff's team.
"We need to be more physical. We need to be a better rebounding team because we won't quite have the 3-point shooters that we had last year," said Senderoff in an article written by the Akron Beacon Journal's Ryan Lewis. "That's not to say we can't make shots, but this team is different. We're trying to figure out our formula to be successful, and that's a process."
For those who have watched Hall however, this isn't likely to be too tall a task for the now junior forward to handle. His game is one that resembles something of the past. He's a traditional back to the basket type who can turn over his shoulder for short right-handed gimme shots and can face up and use his physicality to muscle up more close-range shots (as you can see in this video) The guy knows how to use his body to create opportunities for him and his teammates.
Additionally, with several MAC teams that are likely to run zones against KSU that has a dearth of guard experience, Hall's role against such defenses will grow. His court smarts will have to continue to grow and his passing ability out of the post and at the top of the key will have to be stellar to create open opportunities for teammates.
With Chris Ortiz and Khaliq Spicer back to join Hall in the KSU backcourt, don't expect the flashes to fall off the map despite its big losses at the guard position.