It’s seven players out, seven players in for the Texas State men’s basketball team, as they have signed seven players for their 2016 class, while parting ways with seven more from last year’s roster.
Three key seniors are graduating, Ethan Montalvo, Emani Gant and Cameron Naylor. All three were regular starters this past season, with Montalvo and Gant making up a bulk of the Bobcats’ offense.
Another four role players, K.J. Malveau, Kendell Ramlal, Anthony Roberson and Austin Evans, are leaving the program. Malveau, Ramlal and Roberson are looking to transfer, while Evans has decided to forgo his basketball career due to a lingering issue with an arthritic knee.
Despite parting ways with half their 2015-16 roster, the Bobcats were able to sign just as many players as they had leave. Nijal Pearson, Nedeljko Prijovic, Marlin Davis, Deris Duncan, Immanuel King, Tyler Blount and Maxwell Starwood have all signed with Texas State, with Pearson and Prijovic signing in the early signing period (Nov. 11-18) back in November and the other four signing in the spring signing period (April 13-May 18).
Four of the players signed are guards, although a write up on the Texas State athletics site lists Nijal Pearson as a forward so they may be looking at him there. At 6’4”, 195-lbs, he is a little undersized as a forward and he played as a combo guard at Beaumont Central, but he is known for getting to the paint and for his tough defense. Pearson had other offers from Houston, New Hampshire, San Diego and Louisiana Tech. He’ll be coming in as a true freshman.
Marlin Davis is another incoming freshman guard. At 6’2”, Davis primarily played shooting guard at Westbury Christian, where he averaged 20 points and five assists his senior year. He had offers from UTSA and garnered interest from Houston and Boise State.
Deris Duncan will come in as junior, having played his first two seasons at Weatherford College. While not a three-point specialist, he led his team in scoring (15.8 PPG last season) with a barrage of mid-range jumpers and hard drives to the basket. At 6’4”, he was primarily a shooting guard but could be used for both at Texas State.
Tyler Blount is also coming in as junior, playing his first two seasons at New Mexico Junior College. He is slightly undersized at 5’11” but he makes up for it with his outstanding three-point shot. On 85 made attempts, Blount made 43.8% of his three-point shots last season, for an average of 2.7 makes per game. While there is no easy way to replace Ethan Montalvo’s three-point shooting, signing Blount helps the Bobcats’ efforts a little.
With the other three signings, the Bobcats added some much needed size to their roster, a problem that has plagued this program for quite awhile now. Like Pearson, Nedeljko Prijovic signed with Texas State back in November. At 6’8”, Prijovic is listed as a small forward, but he has excellent rebounding skills and probably could be used at both small and power forward at Texas State. Originally from Belgrade, Serbia, he spent last season at Lee Academy Prep School in Maine. He is 20 years old but he’ll be coming in as a true freshman.
Also coming in as a true freshman is Maxwell Starwood, 6’8” power forward from University Lab in Louisiana, where he just won back-to-back state championships. Starwood initially committed to Tulane back in November but he committed to Texas State this past weekend and signed today, two days away from the end of the signing period, officially making him a Bobcat.
At 6’9”, 240-lbs, Immanuel King gives the Bobcats a lot of size. Playing his first two seasons at Wallace State Community College in Alabama, King comes in with two years of eligibility, so expect him to be used early and often. Not a great scorer (8.9 PPG last year) but he is force on the boards (7.9 RPG) and a solid shot blocker (1.2 BPG).
The Current Team
It’s going to be a whole new look for the Bobcats in the 2016-17 season. Outside of Ojai Black at point guard, Kavin Gilder-Tilbury at forward and Bobby Conley at shooting guard, there aren’t too many experienced guys coming back this season. Here’s a look at the projected roster:
PG: *Ojai Black (sr.), Tyler Blount (jr.), Nathan Josephs (soph), Marlin Davis (fr.)
SG: *Bobby Conley (sr.), Deris Duncan (jr.), Courtney Julian (soph.), D’Angelo West (soph.)
SF: *Kavin Gilder-Tilbury (sr.), Nedeljko Prijovic (jr.), Nijal Pearson (fr.)
PF: *Maljhum McCrea (sr.), Maxwell Starwood (fr.)
C: *Immanuel King (jr.)