Southern Miss

Southern Miss' Sadler hopes revamped roster leads to better year

RYAN MOORE/HATTIESBURG AMERICAN 
 Norville Carey will be the only returning starter on Southern Miss' men's basketball team this season.
RYAN MOORE/HATTIESBURG AMERICAN Norville Carey will be the only returning starter on Southern Miss' men's basketball team this season.

It's unlikely that many men's basketball rosters on the Division I level feature more new faces than the one at Southern Miss this season.

There are nine new players on the USM roster this season with senior forward Norville Carey the only returning player that began last year as a starter. Keljin Blevins and Kevin Holland, both guards, started at least 11 games last year as freshmen, but both were forced into action due to departures and two players ruled ineligible as a result of the NCAA's investigation of the program from Donnie Tyndall's tenure as head coach from 2012-14.

USM's second-year head coach, Doc Sadler, joked Thursday that he was glad to have a roster placard sitting in front of him so he could keep his players' names straight as he addressed media at Reed Green Coliseum.

Dallas Anglin, Matt Bingaya, Davon Hayes and Shadell Millinghaus are all gone from last year's team. Rasham Suarez and Jeremiah Eason were both ruled ineligible due to the NCAA probe.

All six players saw significant minutes at times last year.

Even with the departures, Sadler seemed relieved Thursday to have a chance at a complete reboot in his second season.

"I really think from last March until today I really think things are going the way I'd like to see them go," Sadler said.

USM will play an exhibition game against Millsaps at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5 in Hattiesburg. The regular season starts with a 7 p.m. game at Memphis on Nov. 14.

Sadler said more than once Thursday that he wasn't sure how many wins this year's team would have, but he pointed to several reasons to be optimistic.

The first player he singled out was redshirt junior point guard Khari Price, a native of Slidell, La., and a transfer from Dayton.

"He can be as good a point guard as there is in this league, but he has to stay healthy," Sadler said.

Price is dealing with a lingering knee injury that will likely limit his minutes in practice.

"He's a guy we're going to have to protect all year in practice," Sadler said. "He may not practice half of the time, but the good news is he does have a lot of experience. Practice is conditioning for him so he'll miss that part. But his ability to pick things up, he shouldn't miss that."

Price averaged 6.2 points and 1.8 assists per game for the 2013-14 Dayton squad that reached the Elite 8.

With the graduation of Chip Armelin and the transfer of Bingaya, USM loses a total of 29.6 points a game from those two players.

When asked Thursday where that production would come from this season, Sadler answered, "I don't know," but he believes the points should eventually come.

"Offensively, I've enjoyed coaching this team because I think the ball moves so easy," Sadler said. "It doesn't stick in anyone's hands.

"This team can shoot the basketball so I'm not concerned about scoring points."

Price should be a consistent scorer and 6-foot-5 junior college transfer Michael Ramey is expected to be the main 3-point threat for the Golden Eagles. He led the NJCAA in 3-point shooting last year with an astonishing percentage of 59.3 at Seminole State College (Okla.).

Six-foot-2 guard Cortez Edwards appears to be the freshman most likely to make an immediate impact.

USM struggled to keep five healthy players on the court late in the season. It's a relief for Sadler and his players simply to have a roster of 15 players available.

"You're working hard, but you get breaks," said Carey, who averaged 10.8 points and 5.6 rebounds last year. "Everyone can get the equal amount of reps. Everyone knows what they have to do and their role on the team. We're going to be better as a whole."

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