Columbus State Men’s Basketball Preview

Columbus State Men’s Basketball Preview

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Can the Cougars make a second straight NJCAA Tournament? The 2017-18 season saw the Cougars finish third in the country in what was their fourth NJCAA tournament appearance in program history.

As usual, head coach Ed Thompson remains humble, but optimistic. "The outlook on the season is just like most seasons, we are a very talent group, but a very young group.  So we will go through our highs and learning lessons."

According to the preseason polls, Columbus State is ranked 7th in the country and third in the conference behind D2s Cuyahoga and Sinclair. (The OCCAC is made up of both DII and DIII teams.)


Austin Bennett and Melieck Evans headline the returners. Austin Bennett, a guard/forward, averaged 7.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game while guard Evans averaged 6.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. They bring "leadership and national tournament experience" to the team, said Thompson.

Forwards R.J. Fairrow and Uchenna Ngene-Igwe also return for the Cougars.


Guard Charles Aden played during the 2016-17 season at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.


Headlining the freshmen are Corey Baker (guard), Shawn Hawkins (forward), and Keshawn Underwood (guard/forward) who bring depth and talent to the young team.

Other newcomers to the front court include Jeremiah Green and Matthew Stone while the back court includes Antwon Hampton, Malik Tucker, Darius Dudley, and Faizon Tucker.


The Cougars open their season on Wed, Nov. 7, hosting Edison State in a conference game. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Columbus State faces a tough schedule this season both in conference and non-conference play. Out of 25 games, 14 games are with DII opponents, 9 with DIII opponents and the remaining 2 are with branch/club teams.