With a year’s experience under his belt as the starting point guard, Sirdarius Henry is expected to provide more leadership next season. (Special Photo: Jerry Jackson)
Clayton State completed its first season under new coach Paul Harrison with a 10-16 record, but failed to qualify for the Peach Belt Conference tournament.
The Lakers will lose their top two scorers to graduation, but point guard Sirdarius Henry is expected to become a bigger contributor. Harrison will hit the recruiting trail looking for immediate help in the scoring position.
Clayton State was in every game this season, but had trouble finishing in the closing minutes in several game.
The Clayton News Daily takes a look at the overall season:
There were many aspects of the Lakers season that went right. The Lakers were in every contest this season, including games against some nationally ranked conference teams. Clayton State started the season winning four of its first five games, including four straight. However, a tough Peach Belt Conference schedule caught up with the Lakers throughout the course of the season. Second leading scorer Omari Murray wasn’t able to practice with the team throughout the preseason and first semester while NCAA issues were cleared up. Once he joined the team, he provided the Lakers with a big inside presence.
What went right
Senior Charles Shedrick averaged a team-leading 17 points and was named to the all-conference honorable mention team. He was one of three Clayton State players that averaged in double figures. Once he was cleared to play, Murray provided some immediate help for the Lakers as he averaged 12.7 points and a team-leading 7.6 rebounds. Although he missed all of the preseason, Murray didn’t seem to miss a beat once he returned. Despite a roller coaster season, the Lakers were in a position to reach the postseason.
Chances next season
Only three players will graduate off of this season’s team, but they were the three leading scorers for the Lakers. Clayton State showed it could be competitive in the lead, but immediate help will have to be added to the mix. Henry, an Atlanta native, was the fourth leading scorer for the Lakers with a 9.7 average. He also averaged 3.2 assists and played the second-most minutes on the team. The sophomore is expected to become more of leader as he matures. If Travis Black gets some NCAA issues cleared, he could also be team leader next season. Junior Kelsey Terry will return after averaging 9.4 points, the second-most among returning players.
Coach Paul Harrison says: “I think we made some progress. I thought we achieved at a level that I thought we could. We didn’t overachieve, but we didn’t underachieve. This is a good league that is littered with players that played on the Division I level.”