CSUB vs Utah Vly MBB04

CSUB's Taze Moore (3) gets past Utah Valley defenders for a basket during the first half at the Icardo Center in a 2019 game.

Preparations for the 2020-21 season have come more abruptly than those in the Cal State Bakersfield men's basketball program likely expected.

Since their final run in the WAC ended prematurely, the Roadrunners have dealt with three departures, as point guard Cam Allen and forwards Greg Lee and Darrin Person have all entered the transfer portal.

With the 2019-20 season now in the rearview mirror, there's a lot to look back on and a lot to look forward to as the program prepares to enter a new conference. Here's a breakdown of what went right, what went wrong and what's ahead for the Roadrunners.

The good

Moore springs forward: The leg injuries that nearly derailed his career did little to slow down Taze Moore this season.

Moore appeared to regain most of his athleticism during a breakout junior season, where he led CSUB with 11.5 points per game and 27 blocked shots. He was also second on the team in assists (58) and steals (36), eventually landing a spot on the WAC All-Defensive Team.

His numbers likely would have been better were it not for an ankle injury that limited him for a good chunk of WAC play. If healthy, a returning Moore would no doubt be the centerpiece of CSUB's offense in 2020-21.

Attacking the glass: No team in the Western Athletic Conference was better on the offensive glass than the Roadrunners.

CSUB led the conference with 398 offensive rebounds (12.8 per game), getting second-chance opportunities on 36.1 percent of its missed shots. For the year, Shawn Stith (55) Justin Edler-Davis (55) and Ronne Reads (53) all topped 50 offensive boards.

The bad

Fast starts, slow finishes: After jumping out to a 6-1 start in WAC play in 2018-19, the Roadrunners imploded, winning just one of their final nine regular season games before dropping their conference tournament opener.

This season followed a similar script. CSUB began conference play 4-1, even winning a pair of overtime games, only to go 2-9 in conference the rest of the way, limping into the aborted WAC Tournament as a No. 7 seed.

Since going 23-5 in WAC games in 15-16 and 16-17, the Roadrunners are just 18-28 over the past three seasons.

Offensive woes: The catalyst for many of the late-season struggles was the team's inability to find consistency on the offensive end.

The 'Runners ranked in the bottom half of the WAC in nearly every offensive category. They were seventh in the nine-team league in field goal percentage (43.5) and assists per game (11.7) and eighth in scoring, netting 68 points a contest. In made 3-pointers (154) and free throw percentage (68.4), CSUB ranked last in the league.

For the second straight year, the Roadrunners also dealt with a major free throw disparity. They attempting 563 foul shots, with opponents shooting 741 with 534 makes.

Looking ahead

Despite the early transfers, the Roadrunners, who didn't play any seniors this winter, aren't starting from scratch in their attempts to replace the departed players.

Though the loss of Allen, a 7.9 point-per-game point guard who made the WAC All-Newcomer team in 2020, stings, the Roadrunners have options to replace him.

Senior-to-be Czar Perry, who started 25 games and had a team-high 119 assists as a junior, will likely compete for playing time with Shaun Williams, who transferred to CSUB after playing five games during his second season at Kansas State in 19-20.

CSUB also got a commitment from point guard Jahveon Medearis, who averaged 17.8 points as a senior at Warren High School in Downey, Calif., this season.

The departure of 6-9 swingman Lee will provide an opportunity for Juco transfer Travis Henson, who shot 41 percent from 3-point range at Angelina College (Texas) in 2019-20.

The 'Runners also have 6-10 Ray Somerville, who redshirted in his first season with the program, as a potential fill in for 6-7 Person, who struggled to see the floor before missing the last month of the season with an injury.

Though they'll move away from annual matchups with New Mexico State, which seemed poised for an eighth NCAA Tournament bid in nine years after a 16-0 WAC finish this season, things don't get easier for CSUB in the Big West.

The WAC was ranked 25th (.3426) out of 32 conferences this season. The Big West was 20th (.3667).

CSUB, which finished eighth in the WAC, had a NET ranking of 283, which would have also ranked eighth in the 10-team Big West.

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