The 2017 Morgan State men’s basketball season begins tonight, and the team is returning ten players who were on the team that tied for third in the MEAC last season, including two all-conference players in forward Phillip Carr and guard Tiwian Kendley. The Bears rank No. 1 in the MEAC Preseason polls, and with key players returning they will be in contention to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.
All eyes will be on Kendley, who instantly took over as a prominent scorer last season. Kendley missed seven games with a midseason injury, but averaged 21.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in his debut season.
Outside of the Bears big two, the key to the Bears is junior Martez Cameron, a calming presence at the point. Cameron was the only player to start every game last season for Morgan State, and he will again provide stability while running the offense.
Coach Todd Bozeman will look for more consistency from junior guard Antonio Gillespie. His quickness and shooting ability will make him a valuable piece of the rotation. Junior Tyler Streeter will provide versatility if he can remain healthy, and it’s possible he could slide to the four at times when Bozeman decides to go to a smaller lineup.
Another versatile piece is sophomore Stanley Davis, who can play at all three spots on the perimeter and should be more settled in his second season at the college level.
Three newcomers will battle for time in the backcourt. Khalil Gracey arrives from junior college, Lapri McCray-Pace is coming off a prep school year and Kyson Rawls has a chance to earn time at point guard after earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Delaware last season.
Carr was one of the breakout players in the league last season, averaging 16.6 points and 9.6 rebounds as a junior. Look for Carr to be the best forward in the MEAC this year. Sophomore David Syfax demonstrated impressive talent at times last season, but the Bears will look for him to deliver production on an everyday basis.
Sophomores Tyjhai Byers and Azariah Sykes will look to expand their roles. Byers has added 30 pounds of muscle since arriving on campus while Sykes will try to contribute more in his second year with the Bears after injury issues slowed him last season.
Morgan State opens up the season Nov. 10 at Binghamton, with trips to big programs South Florida (Nov. 13) and West Virginia (Nov. 18).
The Bears have a few local contests in their nonconference slate, with short trips to Mount St. Mary’s (Nov. 27), George Washington (Nov. 29), Navy (Dec. 3), Towson (Dec. 6) and George Mason (Dec. 22). They’ll play a pair of nonconference games at Hill Field House and will open league play at home Jan. 3 against Maryland-Eastern Shore. Crosstown rival Coppin State’s annual visit will double as Senior Night on Feb. 26.