Another Step Forward

The Kennesaw State men's basketball team took another step in the right direction during the 2016-17 season setting a record for wins in the Division I era. It was head coach Al Skinner's second season under the helm and he led a team with six freshmen to the ASUN Semifinals.

The Owls got their second victory ever in the ASUN Tournament at USC Upstate. Senior Kendrick Ray, who had led KSU all year, scored a game high 24 with 18 of those coming in the second half to help secure the first ASUN Tournament victory since 2010.

The team continued to develop under Coach Skinner as they posted a 46.2 field goal percentage and a 41.6 shooting percentage from three-point range. The 41.6 percentage finished as the third best in the country.

Another staple in the Skinner offense is not turning the ball over. Kennesaw State led the ASUN with a 1.2 turnover ratio averaging 15.8 assists per game to only 13.5 turnovers per game.

The only way to describe Ray's season in an Owls uniform is historic. He finished the season scoring 656 points averaging 21.2 points per game. Both of those are new Kennesaw State single-season records.

With how dangerous he was on the offensive end, the ASUN coaches voted him ASUN First Team All-Conference. He was the first Owl player to earn that honor as one of the top five players in the conference. After averaging 25.5 points in the ASUN Tournament he was also named to the All-Tournament team.

He not only led the team in scoring, but also led the team with 97 assists.

Aubrey Williams finished the season averaging a double-double with 12.9 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game. The senior forward had 19 double-doubles on the season. At the end of the season, he was named ASUN Second Team All-Conference for his consistent play.

For the year, he pulled down 347 rebounds. That is the second most in a season in school history.

Junior Nick Masterson made a huge jump for the Owls on the court averaging 12.9 points per game averaging 54.1 percent from three-point land.

He was honored as one of the top student-athletes in the country after becoming the first Kennesaw State men's basketball player named to a CoSIDA Academic All-District. The Mechanical Engineering major was one of 42 student-athletes named across the country to be recognized for his academic and athletic achievements.

On the court, he finished second in the country shooting 54.1 percent from long range making 86 of 159 three-point shots. He was one of two players in the country that shot over 50 percent on three-point field goals.

James Scott was named to the ASUN All-Freshmen Team after averaging 8.5 points per game in just over 15 minutes per game. He scored in double figures in eight games and had a career high 33 points on the road at Stetson to help secure a big win for the Owls.

On December 22, KSU defeated N.C. A&T 68-60 giving head coach Al Skinner his 400th career win.

The team graduates two senior starters in Ray and Williams from this team, but the team will be looking to make another step next season.

"The next step is to be in the top half of this league. After that, we want to be where FGCU is and playing in the ASUN Championship game. That's our goal and what we're working towards." - Al Skinner after falling in the ASUN Semifinals.


Kyle Hess

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