How They Are Doing So Far:
Chattanooga lost all five starters from last season and a couple key bench players as well. Coach Lamont Paris did a good job of refilling the roster with ten newcomers and everything started out very well with an 80-69 win at Charlotte. Other than another victory over Cumberland though, the early momentum has soured with losses to Eastern Kentucky, South Alabama, Southeast Missouri State and Jacksonville. After a tough weekend in Mobile, Alabama at the Goldie & Herman Ungar Classic, Chattanooga heads to Ann Arbor before finally getting back home.
Last Time Out:
Due to a couple injuries and a transfer not eligible until after the first semester concludes, the Mocs ran out of gas by the end of their third game in as many days against Jacksonville in Mobile. It was their closest game of the weekend, but Chattanooga allowed 50 points in the second half and fell 74-66. The good news for the Mocs is that they did find a couple potential new scorers off the bench. David Jean-Baptiste was the lone returning player who tallied any starts in 2017-2018, but has not made much of an impact so far this season. But against Jacksonville State he scored 11 points and provided a nice spark off the bench. Redshirt freshman Justin Brown also had his best performance against a Division I opponent, scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds in just 11 minutes of action. Brown may not be a consistent scoring threat, but if he can be a threat to score and provide interior depth, it will help Chattanooga in conference play.
Who To Watch:
Freshman Kevin Easley wasted little time turning into Chattanooga’s go-to scorer. The 6-6 Indianapolis, Indiana product is averaging 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds. Easley is obviously a talent scorer, but he has yet to find consistency in his outside shot. He has jacked up 24 three-pointers, but only connected on five of them. Players like Jerry Johnson have been much more consistent shooting the basketball so far in the young season. But if Easley does find his shot, he will turn into a dynamic scoring threat.
Who Else To Watch:
Thomas Smallwood has been consistent shooting from long range as well. But he is a seven-footer who gives the opposition nightmares with his ability to force big men out of their defensive comfort zone. The UAB graduate transfer was a bit of an unknown quantity after spending three years barely playing with the Blazers, but he has already proven that he can make a big impact at Chattanooga. Against Cumberland, he tallied 18 points and 18 rebounds and you can bet that he will add a few more double-doubles to his resume before the season is over.
Smallwood is quickly turning into the x-factor for the Mocs. However, that will not do much good against a Michigan team that knows a thing or two about big men who can shoot the basketball. For the Wolverines this is just a little game before they face North Carolina on November 28th. But playing Chattanooga will give Coach John Beilein a look at an offense that often has five capable shooters on the floor at the same time and that may come in handy down the road.