UNIVERSITY PARK -- Southern Methodist University is the middle of a renovation -- of both Moody Coliseum and the team that plays inside. First-year coach Larry Brown's has one of the youngest and most inexperienced teams in the country.

"It's been difficult, but that's the hand we were dealt," Brown said.

The Mustangs are one game over .500, but are only 2-6 in conference.

Every day in practice, Brown watches three guys who could help his team right now. But because they transferred in, they have to sit out this year.

Crandall Head came in from Illinois, and has two years of eligibility left. Markus Kennedy has three years; he transferred from Villanova. And Nic Moore came from Illinois State, and also has three years.

"They done kicked our butts a couple times in practice where we'll keep score," said SMU starting forward Shawn Williams. "We'll look up, and next thing you know, we down 15. So they're really talented."

"We all combine together -- me, Markus, and Crandall work together great," said Moore, a point guard who started nearly every game at Illinois State last year. "We have to. We have to be the leaders for this team, and then for next year to carry over, too."

The transfers practice with the team every day, but are basically invisible on game day, and they could shape the future of this program.

"In my heart, we're going to be good pretty quickly. We're going to be special pretty quickly," Brown said. "But I want the kids that are playing now to have some success."

SMU's starting five has performed, but they're over-worked.

Each starter averages 34 minutes per game; the first man off the bench plays only 15 minutes per game, and no one else averages 10.

The Mustangs' lack of depth, should be alleviated by the three transfers right away next year, once they're allowed to get on the court.

"With three transfers, we sat out a whole year, so we're going to be kind of rusty," said Kennedy, a forward who played in nearly all of Villanova's games a year ago. "Hopefully, we get the first couple of games out of the way, and then start rolling, and then, from that point on, all we expect are championships."

Help is not just on the way; help is here. It's just unavailable for a few more months.


Twitter @tedmadden

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