Breaking Down JMU Men’s Basketball’s 2023-24 Roster

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin

Barring any unexpected changes, JMU men’s basketball’s 2023-24 roster is set. The Dukes were active in the transfer portal, adding several veteran players likely to immediately slide into the team’s rotation.

On paper, JMU should be one of a handful of top SBC contenders entering next season. The Dukes have a roster capable of making the NIT or NCAA Tournament, if they can live up to their potential.

Let’s break down the Dukes’ roster.

The roster

JMU doesn’t have elite size, but the Dukes got bigger this offseason. Like most seasons under Mark Byington, JMU is deep at guard and wing.

Guards

– Michael Green III, graduate transfer

– Xavier Brown, sophomore

– Noah Freidel, redshirt senior

– Bryant Randleman, graduate transfer

– Brycen Blaine, sophomore

Blaine arguably falls into the wing category, but Michael Green III, Xavier Brown, and Bryant Randleman will likely handle the majority of ball handling duties. Terrence Edwards can also act as almost a point forward. Freidel is a knock-down shooter and underrated defender. He’s a glue guy expected to see significant minutes, as he doesn’t do much of anything wrong.

Wings

– Terrence Edwards, redshirt junior

– Raekwon Horton, junior

– Quincy Allen, redshirt sophomore

– Julien Wooden, redshirt senior

These guys have different playing styles, but they’re all arguably best suited to play small forward, with some guys being able to slot into either the 2 or 4 as well. Wooden and Allen have the size to play the 4 if needed, while Edwards and Horton can play shooting guard.

Byington seems happiest playing “positionless” basketball, with multiple guards/wings on the floor at the same time. He doesn’t need guys to fit into a box as a clear-cut small forward or power forward, although JMU will likely be at its best if this group doesn’t have to defend opposing power forwards.

Of this group, Edwards has SBC Player of the Year potential. Wooden is a gifted scorer who should see regular minutes. Horton and Allen, both transfer additions, have multiple seasons of eligibility remaining. They have potential in 2023 and beyond. I’d argue this position group is JMU’s most exciting/dynamic.

Bigs

– Justin Amadi, redshirt junior

– TJ Bickerstaff, graduate transfer

– Jerrell Roberson, sophomore

– Jaylen Carey, freshman

Bickerstaff was a major offseason addition, as the former Drexel and Boston College player is a likely starter down low. Roberson has length that JMU desperately needs down low, while Carey is an intriguing freshman with a big body. Amadi is an elite athlete who is best suited at power forward, rather than center. He should have a role given his athleticism and experience.

Projected starting 5

– Michael Green III

– Noah Freidel

– Terrence Edwards

– Justin Amadi

– TJ Bickerstaff

I like this five, personally, but there’s a case to be made for multiple players (especially Julien Wooden) earning starting time. I like the idea of being able to bring players like Horton, Wooden, and Randleman off the bench.

JMU’s starting unit isn’t that important, as Byington likes to go deep into his bench. JMU can easily go 10+ deep, as Allen has tremendous upside and guys like Brown and Roberson will almost certainly see minutes early in the season.

The bottom line

JMU is deeeeep. I have some overall concerns about the team’s low-post presence, but a group of Bickerstaff, Amadi, Roberson, and Carey should be serviceable at the very least.

The Dukes’ athleticism at guard, wing, and forward means they’re going to play exceptionally fast offensively again in 2023-24. Look for the Dukes to try to generate turnovers to start fast-break opportunities. Given their depth, the Dukes could wear teams out over 40-minute games.

JMU’s goal should be to win the Sun Belt, with a reasonable and achievable expectation of finishing in the top four of the conference standings and winning at least 20 games in 2023-24.

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