2008 Cleveland State Vikings Basketball Preview
Last season, the Cleveland State Vikings (21- 13 overall, 12- 6 Horizon) were not the best team in the Horizon Conference. That was Butler. But this season looks to be different as the Vikings put two of the best players in the conference on the court. In 2007- 2008, the club, coached by Gary Waters, went to the NIT. This year they could reach the ultimate level of competition.
The frontcourt features senior forward J’Nathan Bullock who averaged 14.8 PPG and 6.6 RPG last season. The athletic Bullock, who commands the paint and is sure to be All-Conference, is one of two Vikings with the potential to be the Horizon Conference Player of the Year. The other guys in the front will lend a hand, but Bullock will be the primary offensive and defensive force. He instantly makes everyone around him a better player.
In the back, senior guard Cedric Jackson, who also looks to be All-Conference and possibly the Horizon Conference Player of the Year, runs a tight ship. Jackson put up an average of 13.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 4.9 APG last season. He was ninth in the nation in steals with an average of 2.6 per game. Last year, he was on the Horizon All-Defensive team. Jackson is a difference-maker and a tough competitor. In a low scoring league like the Horizon, Jackson in the back and Bullock in the front are both invaluable. Each can create instant offense and turn a conference game around quickly.
In 2007- 2008, the Vikings managed to beat the Butler Bulldogs,
which was the top club in the conference. Butler went to the Big
Dance, and they deserved to as they took the Horizon Conference
title. But this season, the Bulldogs are much weaker and Cleveland
State has a talented and experienced group. In 2007- 2008, the Vikings
also defeated the Atlantic Coast’s Florida State Seminoles
and Big East’s South Florida Bulls. This year the Cleveland
State Vikings have a clear shot at the conference title and the
NCAA Tournament. If they go to the Big Dance, they won’t go
any further than the second round.