Dec 12, 2015; University Park, PA, USA; Louisiana Monroe Warhawks forward Travis Munnings (1) drives to the basket as Penn State Nittany Lions forward Brandon Taylor (10) defends during the second half at Rec Hall. Penn State won 54-50. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
College Sports Madness projects Travis Munnings to be of the top players for the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks and in the Sun Belt Conference.
The junior forward was named to the publication’s 2017-18 Preseason Sun Belt All-Conference Third Team.
The Warhawks finished last in the Sun Belt a season ago, but Munnings’ development was a bright spot in a difficult season. He raised his scoring average by five points and became the go-to-player for ULM.
As a freshman, the 6’6″ forward averaged 7.2 points and 5.4 rebounds and increased those numbers to 13.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
Munnings also showed more confidence in his three-point shot, after 15 made threes in his freshman season increased to 51 as a sophomore.
His rebounding ability also allows him to play power forward in a smaller lineup.
The Warhawks intend to run a faster-paced offence this season and two Bahamian players plan to figure prominently into the new small-ball scheme.
The Warhawks began practice this last week with Munnings returning to his leadership role and incoming transfer Calvin Anderson contributing to the new lineups.
Anderson joined the Warhawks as a JuCo transfer from Navarro Junior College during the early signing period. As a freshman, the 6’4″ guard averaged eight points per game and shot 35 per cent from three-point range.
Warhawks head coach Keith Richard said the faster pace and subsequent smaller lineups have been an early focus in practice.
“We are excited about our new guys, there has been an adjustment period as with all new players. The game is bigger, faster, stronger than junior college and high school when new players come in so there’s been an adjustment period, but I’ll tell you what they brought, already within our programme – we’re a faster team,” he said. “We have a lot of guards out there and a lot of four-guard lineups. We’re moving up and down that floor and that’s what we wanted to do in recruiting, so it’s starting to show within these practices. We’ve been able to get up and down the floor a lot which we wanted to do, we’re also working on our half-court defence so a lot going on right now in preparation for the season.”
ULM finished the regular season at 9-24 but advanced to the quarter-finals of the Sun Belt Conference Championships.
A school-record 16 home games highlight the ULM men’s basketball schedule this season.
The schedule features 11 games against opponents that appeared in the 2017 postseason, including three NCAA Tournament. In total, ULM will play 15 games against opponents that won 20 or more games last season.
The Warhawks open the 2017-18 campaign with back-to-back road games at TCU on November 10 and SMU on November 12.