Metress draws interest

One day after Augusta State ended its season, coach Dip Metress became the talk of the town in Georgia's capital.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the seventh-year Jaguars coach was a candidate for the open Georgia State men's basketball position. The Division I Panthers went 44-79 the past four years and fired coach Rod Barnes before their conference tournament.

Metress, who sports a 308-144 overall record in 15 seasons (174-51 mark at Augusta State) confirmed Wednesday afternoon he's spoken with Georgia State. But, he added, the school has someone else in mind.

"I'm no longer involved with the job," Metress said.

Should Metress hang around for another season he'll look to sustain the momentum built during this year's 30-4 campaign, which included a trip to the Division II Sweet Sixteen. Last year, he replaced four seniors, including All-American guard Ben Madgen, all-region forward Fred Brathwaite and all-conference center Alex Smith. Now, Metress will have to replace four more seniors.

Metress will need to find two scorers to replace all-region guard George Johnson and all-conference forward Franck Ndongo.

Johnson led the team with a 16.7 scoring average on a school record 104 3-pointers in his lone season.

Ndongo, who closed with three consecutive double-doubles, averaged 14.1 points and 7.9 boards a game.

Including Caleb Brown and Howard Brown, the four seniors combined for 58 percent of the team's offense and 53 percent of its rebounding. A year earlier, Metress had to replace 82 percent of the offense and 69 percent of its rebounding.

While Metress plans to bring in four more players, two others already are in place. Freshmen forwards Devin Wright-Nelson (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) and Charles Robinson (6-8, 188), who each red-shirted this season, are expected to make major contributions next season.

The Jaguars also return their starting backcourt in junior guards O'Neal Armstrong, the team's top returning leading scorer (9.2), and Tye Beal (6.1). Sophomore guard Ben Purser (7.7), who started 11 of 34 games, will return along with sophomore guard Kyle Armour. Freshman Eric Schranz (6-10, 245) likely will get redshirted.

One person looking to making a major leap next season is sophomore center Travis Keels, who injured his ankle after scoring a team-high 12 points in an exhibition against Georgia.

Keels, who averaged 6.0 points and 2.7 boards a game, battled through the injury the entire season.

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