COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus State Cougar men's basketball team will face six nationally-ranked DII schools among other tough competition to highlight the 24-game slate of the 2019-20 season.
Last season, the Cougars ended with a 17-10 record overall and reached the District II final before falling to Rock Valley. Head Coach Ed Thompson returns for his sixth season at the helm of the program, holding an 83-61 career record with Columbus State.
"We will see our share of growing pains and but I believe we will see success," said Coach Thompson. "I am optimistic this year as I am returning four of my five starters so I expect leadership from each of them."
Corey Baker headlines the talented group of sophomores after coming off of a strong freshman campaign. The point guard led the team in four major statistical categories, including points, rebounds, assists, and steals. He was named Second Team All-Conference and All-Region. "Corey brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership to the team," said Thompson.
According to Coach Thompson, Shawn Hawkins "worked hard in the off-season and is one of the strongest guys in the conference." He was awarded Honorable Mention All-Conference after last season.
Jeremiah Green was selected to the All-Defensive Team for the OCCAC. "He is one of the most athletic guys in the conference. Also, with a much improved jump shot lookout for him to have a big year," Thompson said.
Keshawn Underwood is the team's captain, bringing his leadership and maturity to the team. According to Thompson, "he has a high IQ and game to go with it."
Also returning for the Cougars is Michael Mathews, who played in the 2017-18 season. "Mike is a strong guard that is able to defend multiple positions."
The Cougars acquired a transfer player from Edison State, Danny Corbett. "Danny has one of the fastest first steps I have seen."
Nine new freshmen will step onto the court to don the navy and white this season. Coach Thompson is also looking forward to seeing what the incoming freshmen bring to the team. "We have a group of talented freshmen led by Elijah Bishop and N'Keeley Elmore. Both bring depth and will see a lot of meaningful minutes right away. At 6'7, Elijah "brings athleticism, a wealth of versatility and can play multiple positions." First Team All-City last year, N'Keeley "brings a great IQ and decision making to the 2019-20 season."
Travis Rogers has mastered the mid-range game. "I look forward to seeing his growth this season," said Thompson. Called a great student-athlete, Jaiden Woodley "brings length and a soft touch". Shaylin Waugh is "able to knock down 3's and should really bring it this year." Jonathan Carter is "good at knocking down the open shot and being a scrappy defender." Mason Mollohan will be "getting minutes right away as a freshman. He's a strong rebounder and can knock down the open shot." Jayden Boyden is a "really good shooter and good IQ guy." Chaz Dixon is a "strong guard that can play multiple spots on the floor." Alvin Byrd "brings toughness, IQ, and a good jump shot". Finally, GiCobi Massey "will be one of the best defenders in our league. He always competes at a high level and hustles on every play. Truly a high motor player."
Thompson summarized his season outlook as this: "We will be competitive in a strong OCCAC conference and we are very capable of making a deep national tournament run."
The season gets underway on Sat, Nov. 2 when the Cougars host #13 DII Schoolcraft College.