In a year of few highs and many lows, the Cleveland State Vikings Men’s Basketball season has come to a close after a 65-53 loss to Green Bay Phoenix in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament. The Vikings finished their season with a 9-23 (4-14) record.
The season was expected to be a rocky one, and it did deliver. After the departure of two fifth-year seniors, Trey Lewis and Anton Grady, the Vikings came into the season already in shambles.
The Vikings got off to a 2-2 start to the season, but the Vikings would go on to lose five straight games. They would also have two more five game losing streaks throughout the season.
This was the first year of a partnership between Cleveland State University and Quicken Loans Arena, a deal which saw five CSU men’s games played at the Q. However, attendance was low, and many wonder if Quicken Loans Arena is still as excited about the deal as they once were.
In a year of very few high points the Vikings did have two players break out. Junior Demonte Flannigan and freshman Rob Edwards were clearly the two best players on the team. Edwards, who was selected to the All-Horizon League freshman team, looks very promising for the Vikings as he progresses.
6’7″ forward Flannigan averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Flannigan only trailed senior Vinny Zollo in rebounds and Edwards in points.
Rob Edwards averaged 12.4 points per game to lead the Vikings while averaging over 31 minutes per game, also a high for the Vikings. Also notable was junior Andre Yates who averaged 9.1 points per game in 29 starts.
What is good for the Vikings is that many of the team’s underclassmen saw significant playing time this season, boding well for their futures. Head Coach Gary Waters will hope to retain these players for the duration of their collegiate basketball careers.
The Vikings will only lose one senior this summer, forward Vinny Zollo. Zollo finishes his college career averaging five points per game across 29 starts.
A notable issue that Coach Waters will most likely address this summer is ball movement. Many of CSU’s possessions ended with little to no ball movement. In fact, the Vikings only averaged 10.2 assists per game, a number that must drastically improve if the Vikings want to continue their rebuild.
A season with low expectations delivered on its promise. The Vikings seem to be built for the future, so it will be interesting to see how they come out next season. If Waters can continue to build on the young talent he has, he might be able to get the team turned around and heading in the right direction.
Matthew Johns covers Cleveland State sports for Forever Rebuilding. He is also the owner of MGJTalks.blogspot.com and you can follow him on Twitter @MGJTalks.