The off-season following the 2015-16 season had the potential to be a troublesome one for the Memphis Tigers. They had to deal with their fair share of changes, and seem to have overcome them all.
Head coach Josh Pastner left for the vacancy with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, leaving the Tigers without a bench boss. They turned to Tubby Smith as his replacement.
Then, Avery Woodson transferred to the Butler Bulldogs, and freshman forward Dedric Lawson declared early for the NBA Draft. In the end, Lawson opted to return to school, despite performing well in the non-stationary shooting drills at the NBA Draft Combine.
With the loss of Pastner and Woodson, the Memphis Tigers will look a bit different this season.
Looking ahead to 2016-17, Smith was looking to add an experienced player who could help the team immediately. On Friday, in a news release, the Tigers had found their new man.
Christian Kessee, who graduated and transferred from the Coppin State Eagles following the 2015-16 campaign, committed to play for Memphis next season.
Last season with the Eagles, the 6-2, 180-pound guard from Las Vegas, NV led the team in scoring. Kessee averaged 14.6 points per contest in 32.5 minutes of floor time per game.
He chipped in with 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest.
In comparison to the 2014-15 season, Kessee’s field goal percentage dipped slightly in 2015-16. He hit on 39.0% of his field goal attempts last season, in comparison to 40.2% the year prior. Kessee is an effective shooter from all over the floor, and can hit the three ball with relative consistency (39.5% in ’15-16).
With the departure of Woodson to Butler, the Tigers were looking to add a player who has a track record of being able to put the ball in the basket, and one who could contribute immediately. Christian Kessee checks off both of those boxes.
Kessee is eligible immediately, and the Tigers will look to get a strong performance out of their newest addition in 2016-17 as they look to climb back towards the top of the American Athletic Conference standings and get back to the NCAA Tournament.