Corey Santee: A-
2004 statistics: 14.5 ppg, 4.4 apg, 3.1 rpg, 1.1 spg
Santee led the Frogs on offense nearly every game this
season in every category. He was also the teams
floor general on both ends, directing the team for an
average of 33 minutes a contest. The junior guard was
the team leader in points, assists, steals and minutes.
Whenever the Frogs needed a big bucket or wanted to
end a prolonged scoring drought, Santee was willing
to put the team on his shoulders and take the shot.
And if he thought another player had a better look at
the basket, he made sure to deliver him a good pass.
Santees great year earned him third-team All-Conference
USA honors. In his first game, after earning conference
honors, Santee led the Frogs to a thrilling last-second
victory over Marquette in the first round of the C-USA
tournament, keeping the teams faint hopes of an
at large berth to the NCAA tournament alive.
Marcus Shropshire: B+
2004 statistics: 13.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 0.8 spg
The junior transfer from Texas Tech lived up to Neil
Doughertys every expectation. Shropshire was the
perfect complement to Santee in the backcourt. He provided
the Frogs with a second consistent scoring weapon, which
allowed open looks for the other players on the court.
From behind the 3-point arc, there werent many
players in C-USA who could hit as frequently as Shropshire.
In fact, his coach calls his 3-point stroke deadly.
His shooting from beyond the arch was so deadly that
he shot a higher percentage behind it (.396) than he
did from the rest of the field (.394). Shropshire saved
his deadliest shooting for the free-throw line, where
he led the team at a 93 percent clip. On a team that
shot 67 percent from the line, Shropshires accuracy
is the reason that figure isnt even more unimpressive.
Nucleus Smith: B-
2004 statistics: 8.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2 apg, 0.8 spg
As the only senior to see significant action this season
due to a Ronald Hobbs season-long injury, Smith played
the role of leader very well. He was never worried about
individual statistics or getting any of the glory. Instead,
he just tried to lead this young team in the right direction
and to a winning season. This was never more evident
than in the Frogs blowout win over No. 10 Louisville,
where he played one of the best games of his career,
scoring 17 points, grabbing six rebounds and recording
three steals. The senior called it the biggest win of
his career and you could tell he wanted that victory
more than any other game, as he was constantly on the
floor diving for every loose ball. Without Smith and
his leadership, the Frogs great improvement over
the season, especially in C-USA action, wouldnt
have been as noticeable.
Chudi Chinweze: B-
2004 statistics: 10.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 bpg
Chinweze made great strides in his sophomore season.
He may have been the teams third-leading scorer,
but it was his accuracy from the floor that made him
such a valuable commodity. Chinweze led the Frogs in
shooting at an impressive 56 percent clip. As gaudy
as his performance from the field was this season, he
continues to have trouble from the free-throw line,
where he shot only 61 percent for the year. The sophomore
needs to improve on this part of his game in order for
the Frogs to take their game to the next level. With
his inside moves and ability to create and make tough
leaning jumpers, he will continue to make frequent trips
to the line in his remaining two seasons. As a result,
it would be in the best interest of him and the team
to capitalize on those free points.
Femi Ibikunle: C
2004 statistics: 3.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.4 bpg
You cant help but marvel at what this freshman
might be able to bring to the court someday. He has
everything a coach and a team can ever want in a low-post
player. Unfortunately, his talent is very raw right
now and hes still learning how to play the game.
When Ibikunle finally masters his footwork, passing,
low-post moves and decision-making skills, the sky will
be the limit. The freshman center improved his game
a lot over the course of the season, but foul trouble
and a propensity to turn the ball over constantly rattled
him. As is the case with Chinweze, Ibikunle must improve
his free-throw shooting over the off-season. He shot
48 percent on the year from the charity strip. With
more practice and game experience, he will continue
to improve and become a menace for teams in C-USA and
the Mountain West.
Aaron Curtis, Corey Valsin, Blake Adams, Marcus Sloan,
Art Pierce, Neil Dougherty, Jr., David Markley: C
2004 statistics: 16.6 ppg, 13.8 rpg, 2.4 apg
For most of the season, Aaron Curtis and Marcus Sloan
were the highlight of the bench. Curtis was the leading
scorer at 5 points a game while Sloan led the way in
rebounding with 3.5 boards a game. Sloan really came
on late in the season off the bench and dominated the
offensive glass the last few weeks of the season. Blake
Adams showed he can be a 3-point threat, connecting
on 35 percent of his attempts. Freshman Art Pierce was
inconsistent much of the season. As a unit, the bench
needs to do a better job of providing the team with
a spark. The Frogs lack a proven sixth man who can come
in and change the pace of the game. Someone needs to
step up and give the team a consistent lift off the