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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State men’s basketball faces uncertainty going into offseason

Mandalyn Lewallen
The Texas State men’s basketball team huddles together before the game against Marshall, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, at Strahan Arena.

Texas State men’s basketball has ended its past two seasons below .500, going 16-19 in the 2022-23 season and this season 17-18 with a semi-final exit in the Sun Belt Conference tournament for the second consecutive year.

With the past two seasons wrapping up unfavorably for Coach Terrence Johnson’s Bobcats, the question emerges: ‘What’s in store for the future of Texas State men’s basketball?’

After the 2024 season’s end, the top three leading scorers for Texas State entered the transfer portal.

Sophomore forward Davion Sykes, sophomore guard Jordan Mason and junior center/forward Brandon Love are now all decided to continue their careers at other programs.

The combination of three leading scorers entering the portal with zero commits entering the program leaves Texas State in a peculiar spot with many roles to fill. Yet, it also opens opportunities to those who remain on the team.

Sophomore guard Coleton Benson and San Marcos native freshman guard Kaden Gumbs will look to step up big-time for the Bobcats in the 2024-2025 season.

Benson showed glimpses of his incredible scoring throughout 2024. His best contest was the first round of the Sun Belt tournament where he scored a career-high 28 points off the bench. With the ability to score, get to the free throw line and steal on defense, Benson will look to make his mark for Texas State in his 2024-25 campaign.

Standing at 6 feet 2 inches tall Gumbs stands at a typical size for an NCAA point guard. Showing sporadic flashes while averaging just under 30 minutes a game, Gumbs averaged nine points, four rebounds, four assists and one steal per game while making 40% of his attempts. Gumbs has a career-high of 17 points.

The team currently has two members of its 2024 recruiting class a pair of junior college players in Nate Deer and Mark Drone.

Drone is a six-foot guard spent the last two seasons at Southwest Mississippi Community College where he had a stellar career. During the 2023-24 season, Drone averaged 19.6 points, 5.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game.

Drone is also a terrific shooter having shot 56.8% from the field, 32.0% from three and 90.2% from the free throw line.

“Mark is a dynamic point guard that is comfortable on and off the ball,” Johnson said. “His ability to score and create scoring opportunities for himself and others makes him a perfect fit. We love his strength and athleticism! I believe he will be a good player in this league and his style of play will generate a level of excitement for our fanbase.”

Deer a 6-foot-9-inch forward who hails from Australia and spent the past two seasons at Howard University where he averaged 9.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and shot 63.1% from the field per game.

“Nate brings a level of athleticism, toughness and skill that we definitely need,” Johnson said. “His motor never turns off and he impacts winning in a multitude of ways. We’re expecting him to be a force in our front court, as well as raise our level of skill and toughness at the position.”

Texas State will have its work cut out this off-season if the goal is a one-season turnaround. The team will need to add more players to its recruiting class whether it be from the high school ranks, JUCO, or the transfer portal to replace the production it has lost.

The maroon and gold will be looking to bounce back after two disappointing seasons as the team continues to seeks its first ever NCAA Tournament bid.

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