Tag: New Orleans Privateers

Jacob Parker (Getty Images)

2014-15 Southland Preview: Can Stephen F. Austin go unbeaten again?

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source: Getty Images
Jacob Parker (Getty Images)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Stephen F. Austin has a lot to live up to if they hope to achieve similar success in 2014-15. The 2013-14 iteration of the Lumberjacks went 32-3, 20-0 in the Southland, won 29 straight games and beat VCU in the Round of 64 before falling to UCLA.

That’s quite an accomplishment for first-year head coach Brad Underwood, a former assistant of Frank Martin, who had tremendous balance and perimeter shooting last season. Although Stephen F. Austin loses leading scorer Desmond Haymon and another double-figure scorer in Deshaunt Walker, they do return Southland Player of the Year Jacob Parker, as well as Southland Tournament MVP Thomas Walkup and point guard Trey Pinckney.

The trio of returning starters is more than enough with others filling the departed players’ shoes to once again win the Southland Conference Title, as the Lumberjacks were one of the country’s best non-power conference teams last season.

Underwood’s team is the heavy favorite and he received an eight-year deal after last season.

The early runner-up candidate behind Stephen F. Austin is Sam Houston State, who returns seven contributors from last season including Southland Newcomer of the Year and 6-foot-4 senior Jabari Peters. Peters started all 35 games last season, along with three other returning starters: 6-foot-0 guard Kaheem Ransom, 6-foot-1 junior Paul Baxter and 6-foot-11 center Michael Holyfield.

This is a deep and experienced team. The Bearkats lost in the Southland title game last season and finished 24-11 (13-5).

Northwestern State is situated next as junior point guard Jalen West averaged 19.4 points and 6.4 assists last season for an offense that averaged 86.6 points per game, good enough for second in the nation. The Demons also return Southland Freshman of the Year, 6-foot-2 guard Zeek Woodley and 6-foot-9 center Marvin Frazier.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi returns after a 14-4 conference mark and all-league candidate John Jordan is back at point guard. The Islanders could compete in the Southland as 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Rashawn Thomas also returns. McNeese State and Incarnate Word both have all-conference caliber players in senior guards Kevin Hardy and Denzel Livingston. Both of those players are capable of making plays all over the floor and each averaged over two steals a game last season.

It’s worth noting that Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word are playing full 18-game Southland schedules this season for the first time, but both remain ineligible for the NCAA Tournament after transitioning from Division II. Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist and Lamar are all banned from the postseason due to low APR scores.

Of the 13 teams in the Southland, only eight may play in the postseason in 2014-15.


  • In: None
  • Out: Oral Roberts


The reigning Southland Player of the Year, the 6-foot-6 Parker is one of three returning starters for a team that reached the Round of 32 in 2014. The senior averaged 14.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.4 steals per game last season while shooting 53 percent from the field, 46 percent from three-point range and 79 percent from the free-throw line. Efficient and productive from all over the floor, Parker will be the key for Stephen F. Austin to maintain last year’s success after the Lumberjacks lost some valuable seniors.


  • Kevin Hardy, McNeese State: Do-it-all 6-foot-2 senior guard averaged 11 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2 steals per game last season.
  • John Jordan, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: A dynamic, play-making senior guard, the 5-foot-10 Jordan averaged 14.8 points and 5.4 assists per game as a junior.
  • Denzel Livingston, Incarnate Word: The 6-foot-4 senior combo guard averaged 20.3 points per game and a Southland-leading 2.5 steals per game as he scored 20 or more points in 10 of the last 11 games in 2013-14.
  • Jalan West, Northwestern State: The 5-foot-10 junior point guard averaged 19.4 points and a Southland-best 6.4 assists per game last season and could de-throne Parker for Player of the Year honors.



1. Stephen F. Austin
2. Sam Houston State
3. Northwestern State
4. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
5. McNeese State
6. Incarnate Word
7. Southeastern Louisiana
8. New Orleans
9. Nicholls State
10. Abilene Christian
11. Houston Baptist
12. Central Arkansas
13. Lamar

Former New Orleans basketball player found dead in Louisiana

New Orleans v Michigan State

Per a report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune former New Orleans forward Matt Derenbecker was found dead Sunday at a home he was house-sitting in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Derenbecker, who was just 22 years old, was found in the swimming pool at the home he was watching after failing to pick up his girlfriend at Louis Armstrong Airport according to the story.

Derenbecker played parts of three seasons of college basketball, one each at LSU and Dayton before beginning the 2013-14 season as a member of the New Orleans program. Derenbecker would play just eleven games at UNO, leaving the program for what was stated to be an undisclosed medical reason.

“This is a tough day for our program, Matt and his family,” Slessinger said at the time. “We sincerely hope that this time in our program will benefit him positively moving forward.”

Sadly for the New Orleans basketball family, this isn’t the only tragedy they’ve had to deal with this weekend according to the Times-Picayune.

Derenbecker’s death was the second tragedy to hit the UNO men’s basketball program during the weekend. Four members of former UNO forward Cory Dixon’s family, including stepfather Michael Miller, 47, mother Leann Miller, 48, and siblings Zoey Miller, 12, and Miles Miller, 7, were killed in an auto accident on Friday night in New Mexico. The family was returning home to Dallas from vacation.

Dixon, a 6-foot-7 power forward, was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder as a senior in 2013-14.

Report: New Orleans lands graduate transfer Kevin Brown

Terry Rozier, Wayne Blackshear, Kevin Brown
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After averaging 5.5 points per game on a team that reached the NCAA tournament in 2013-14, Louisiana guard Kevin Brown has reportedly decided to transfer to New Orleans according to a report Monday by Joshua Parrott of Basketball Times. As a result of his having graduated from Louisiana, Brown will be eligible to play immediately for head coach Mark Slessinger.

Joining the New Orleans program means that Brown returns to the city where his college career began, as he played in 18 games as a freshman at Tulane. Prior to last season, in which Brown played in all 35 games (13 starts) for the Ragin’ Cajuns, he played in just eight games due to a broken foot suffered during the 2012-13 season.

Brown’s best outing as a redshirt junior came in Louisiana’s 81-74 loss at South Alabama on January 16, as he scored 14 points (4-for-6 FG) in 24 minutes of action. His arrival gives New Orleans, which finished the 2013-14 season with an 11-15 record (8-10 Southland), some additional perimeter depth with rising sophomores Christavious Gill and Tevin Broyles being their most productive returnees in the backcourt.

Gill averaged 7.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game as a freshman, with Broyles adding 5.6 points and 2.8 rebounds. Heading into 2014-15 the Privateers will have to account for the loss of its top four scorers from last season a group that included forward Cory Dixon (13.5 ppg, team-best 7.7 rpg), and leading assist man Isaac Mack (8.6 ppg, 3.3 apg).